President, KRIS Philippines
Extremely Together Young Leader, Kofi Annan Foundation
Arizza is the Co-Founder and President of KRIS, a non-profit organization that utilizes education as a pathway to peace in the Philippines. KRIS has built libraries and provided scholarships for young people victimized by conflict and poverty. Today, KRIS educates, empowers, and inspires young peace-builders through summits, training programs, and offline and online information campaigns.
Arizza is also one of ten young leaders hand-picked by the former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to eradicate violent extremism through the Extremely Together initiative. Extremely Together has produced an online counter-extremism toolkit to help educators, religious leaders, and community champions in promoting the prevention of violent extremism (PVE) and regularly brings together young people for the same cause.
For her work, Arizza was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines, one of five global recipients of Zonta International’s Young Women for Public Affairs Award, and is one of the youngest nominees to the list of 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World.
About the lecture
Books Not Guns: Building Trust and Peace through Education
With each passing day, the world seems to become more divisive. Extreme ideologies are gaining more prominence in many countries. Conflict and war continue to destroy the lives of millions of people. Social media has become a polarizing force used by individuals and groups to pursue their own interests. At the same time, young people are coming of age in a time of global crisis amid a pandemic, economic recession, and climate change.
Now, more than ever, there is a need to build bridges of trust and understanding to address conflict and divisions and to work together to solve problems that will affect everybody regardless of nation, religion, ethnicity, skin color, or political ideology. The question is: how can such bridges be constructed?
One important answer lies in education. When young people are given the tools to understand conflict and what drives it in their communities and in the world, and when they are empowered with values and role models aligned with trust and social cohesion, they have a better shot of achieving a more peaceful world. More than that, when they are given opportunities to teach and empower others, this creates a cycle of positive actions that can pave the way towards a better future.
So instead of giving children and youth guns and bombs, we must give them books and tablets. Instead of teaching words that hurt others, we must teach words – and actions – that help and reach out.