Students attending PACE classes.

Promoting Peace through Education in North Maluku

Glend Huliselan, a Community College Initiative (CCI) Program alumnus from Indonesia who studied Media at Scottsdale Community College from 2015-2016, has won a grant for his community project. The project, Peace Awareness Campaign through Education (PACE), enables youth from warring communities to learn together, in an effort to heal wounds and establish positive relationships between communities.

Over the past several years, Glend’s island of Halmahera in Indonesia has experienced inter-community conflicts—a result of ethnic and religious violence that took place over a decade ago. As a child, living and navigating his way through conflict greatly impacted his perceptions of peace. Regardless of the scary and sometimes violent disruptions born out of that conflict, Glend focused hard on his education. For him, learning was empowering and an escape, which gave him an idea for how he could help his community. Glend wanted to start a social project that would bring the youth of his community together through education, but he lacked the funding and the skills to make it work. Over the course of a year in the United States, that all changed.

Glend entered the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program at Scottsdale Community College for the 2015-16 year to study Media and Public Relations. However, even abroad his home of Halmahera was on his mind. In the second semester of the CCI Program, the opportunity to attend a grant writing workshop presented itself. Glend knew grant writing was important to his field, so in January 2016 he, along with others in his CCI cohort, attended the workshop. There he developed the skills to write proposals and find resources to support social change projects. Glend says this opportunity made him more confident to turn his budding social project into a real proposal, and once he did he applied for different international grants and waited to hear back.

Flash forward to the present day: The Pollination Project has seen the potential in Glend’s proposal and awarded him a grant that will provide start-up support for Glend’s project, the Peace Awareness Campaign through Education, or PACE.

PACE brings youth from different religions and tribes from North Maluku, Indonesia together. Once together, they work to heal decades-long wounds by learning together as a team.

Glend with PACE students

Glend with PACE students. Photo courtesy of The Pollination Project.

Through English courses, media courses, and multicultural awareness activities in class, the long-term goal of PACE is to establish sustainable relationships among youth in order to prevent future conflict. Glend says that while learning, students will make friends and build tolerance among themselves; it’s an impact that will trickle back to their homes. Glend explains:

“I am hoping that the students involved in this project are able to be a ‘peace messenger’ for their schools, families, and respective communities.”

Glend believes education of young people is the key to future peace, and his time in the U.S. with the CCI Program influenced and reinforced his ideas about peace and peace-building.

“…my CCI group in Scottsdale consisted of so many different people. What I watched on TV about people from different countries was not real. I realized that they’re kind, helpful … they love peace like I do.”

Interacting with different groups of people in the CCI Program broadened Glend’s understanding of other cultures, and if people from different nations could learn and grow together in the U.S., Glend knew it could work locally in Halmahera too. Now with PACE, children from North Maluku can begin the process of peace-building.

Students attending PACE classes.

Students attending PACE classes. Photo courtesy of the PACE Project.

As for the future of the project? Glend says his organization will continue to volunteer at educational institutions and he looks forward to establishing a Halmahera Peace Center in the next few years—an even bigger platform for promoting peace and multicultural awareness in Indonesia.

In the meantime, 10 high school students from different schools, tribes, and religions are already learning and growing together, for free, in Tobelo, laying down foundations of trust, tolerance, and future peace.

Glend’s project was mentioned in the Huffington Post.

Posted in Alumni.