The Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC) recently hosted a Conference on Social Ethics and Entrepreneurship, featuring Joji Pantoja, President & CEO of Coffee for Peace (CFP), as the keynote speaker at the plenary session held on 20 February 2014. Joji’s presentation centered around the peacebuilding framework of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) that emphasizes achieving harmony across various aspects of life and transformation: harmony with the Creator (spiritual-ethical transformation); harmony with our being (psycho-social transformation); harmony with others (socio-political transformation); and, harmony with the creation (economic-ecological transformation). Joji also delved deeper into how human dignity, environmental responsibility, and good governance contribute to her vision of multiplying ethical social entrepreneurs.

The Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Framework of PBCI

The PAR Framework of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) emphasizes achieving harmony across various aspects of life. This framework proposes four key areas for transformation:

  • Harmony with the Creator (spiritual-ethical transformation). This dimension highlights the importance of personal and communal spiritual growth and ethical conduct.
  • Harmony with our being (psycho-social transformation). This area focuses on achieving inner peace and well-being.
  • Harmony with others (socio-political transformation). This aspect emphasizes building strong, positive relationships and fostering a just society.
  • Harmony with the creation (economic-ecological transformation). This dimension underscores the need for responsible stewardship of the environment and sustainable economic practices.

Joji’s talk resonated deeply with the audience, as evidenced by the positive feedback from Ms. Lulu Mechor-Cayon of HCDC’s ASEAN and European Studies Center. In an email to Pantoja, Ms. Cayon lauded the “relevance and usefulness” of the topic, presentation, and activities for the participants.

Social-Ethical Entrepreneurship as PeaceBuilding

By focusing on human dignity, environmental responsibility, and good governance, Joji’s justice-and-peace-oriented social entrepreneurial philosophy offers a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding that extends beyond the absence of conflict. It emphasizes the importance of creating a society where individuals can thrive in harmony with themselves, each other, and the natural world.

Human Dignity as the Cornerstone. Joji’s approach places human dignity at the center. When individuals feel valued, respected, and have their basic needs met, they are less likely to resort to violence. The approach likely emphasizes aspects like access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. When these needs are neglected, frustration and resentment can fester, creating fertile ground for conflict.

Environmental Responsibility for Shared Prosperity. The approach recognizes the intricate connection between human well-being and the health of the environment.  By promoting sustainable practices and responsible stewardship of natural resources, we ensure a healthy planet that can support future generations. This could involve addressing issues like pollution, deforestation, and climate change. When resources are scarce or environmental degradation is severe, competition and conflict over dwindling necessities can arise.

Good Governance for a Just Society. The approach highlights the crucial role of good governance in creating a peaceful and just society. This involves institutions that are transparent, accountable, and work for the benefit of all citizens.  Good governance likely includes aspects like upholding the rule of law, respecting human rights, and fostering inclusive participation in decision-making. When power is concentrated in the hands of a few, or when corruption runs rampant, it can breed inequality and ultimately lead to unrest.

Synergy for Lasting Peace

The beauty in Joji’s approach lies in the interconnectedness of these elements. When people are treated with human dignity, they are more likely to act responsibly towards the environment. When environmental resources are managed sustainably, there are greater resources available for all, contributing to a sense of fairness and justice. Finally, good governance facilitates the pursuit of both human dignity and environmental responsibility, creating a virtuous cycle that fosters lasting peace.

Thriving in Harmony

PBCI’s framework, as used by Joji and the Coffee for Peace Team, envisions a society where individuals can thrive, not just survive. It goes beyond the mere absence of conflict to create a world where people can live in harmony with the Creator, with themselves, with each other, and with the natural world. This holistic approach to entrepreneurial initiatives as peacebuilding offers a powerful roadmap for building a more just and sustainable future for all.

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