February 7, 2013, 9:00 in the morning …
The students and guests came in one by one … then after a few minutes, in groups. 5 minutes before the appointed time to start, the Little Theater was almost full. Not long after the program started, all the 300 seats in the Little Theater were occupied and more or less 20 more monoblock chairs were added so those standing on the aisles can sit comfortably. It was a symposium entitled “The Role of Religion in Global Peace”, sponsored by Resale Nur Philippines and co-sponsored by Xavier University’s History Department, International Studies Department, and Department of Political Science.
Dr. Dulce R. Dawang, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed all the guests and participants to the symposium in behalf of the University President. After her remarks, Professor Quivido T. Origenes gave a short introduction of what the symposium was about. Professor Origines teaches Comparative Religion and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After Professor Origines’s introduction, the four (4) speakers took turns and gave their messages.
The 1st speaker was Dr. Maximo Saavedra Jr., representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known by its nickname as the Mormon Church. Dr. Maxi Saavedra, a Pathologist by profession who heads the Laboratory Department of the Polymedic Medical Group, is the Stake President of the LDS Church in Cagayan de Oro City. A Stake President is the equivalent of an Archbishop in the Catholic Church. His talk centered on “The Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Program for World Peace”. Dr. Saavedra shared to the audience how the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when understood and obeyed, can help each and every individual be a good influence and help achieve piece, beginning with self, then with the family at home, then the community, and ultimately the whole world.
The 2nd speaker was Mr. Asism Alawi who comes from Sri Lanka. His talk was entitled “The Positive Action through Resale Perspective”.
The 3rd speaker was Professor Fahri Balci from Australia. He talked about “Science, Scientific Philosophy and Religion through the Teachings of Bedduizzaman”. In his lecture he urged the audience “not to listen to the teachers (Teachers that teaches that there is no God) but to listen to them – pointing to science (biology, physics, chemistry, etc) … as all these show that there is a God, a supreme creator of everything there is on the earth and the whole universe.
The 4th and last speaker was Professor Mehmet Risa Derindag. His talk was short but very impressive. He said peace will be achieved if all people will focus on the commonalities rather than on the differences. He further said that God, although called and addressed in many names, has only but one purpose, and that is to unite everyone towards living harmoniously with each other, respecting diversity and living peacefully together.
The symposium was attended by 30 foreign guests from Turkey, Sri Lanka, and Australia. Also present were more or less 200 Xavier University students of Comparative Religion under the Department of History, International Studies, and Political Science.
Also in attendance were faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences. The following also attended the symposium: Dr. Roel B. Absin of Xavier University, Mr. Mark Francisco, Urban Life Editor of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, Ms. Roena Ibay-Bince, Branch Manager of BDO Xavier and also Stake Asst. Public Affairs Director of the LDS Church, Ms. Ma. Christina Itchon-Concepcion, Multistake Public Affairs Director of the LDS Church in Cagayan de Oro, Mr. Ryan Al Ig. Bollozos-Sanchez, the symposium’s emcee, and 4 Full Time Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.