Opening social explains aspects of Peace Building Program

Written by: 
Makaila Bergeson ~ Multimedia Journalist

Promoting peace internationally can be teaching children music or changing the way people think about others by no longer objectifying them. These were some of the ideas BYU-Hawaii students from different majors heard about at the International Peace Building program Opening Social on Sept. 19 in the Little Circle.

Following the opening prayer and announcements, the audience was split into three small groups that rotated thru multiple speakers who emphasized the importance of peace building and showcased different aspects of the IPB Program. The speakers included music teacher and activist Liz Shropshire and ICS Professor Chad Ford, as well as BYUH students Bobby Port, Briana Garrido, and Chris Pineda.

Shropshire, a BYU in Provo alumna, majored in music composition and spoke about a music program she has built up to teach children about music. Following her LDS mission to California, she went on a trip to Kosovo in 1999 to undertake a large service project and ended up staying for six weeks. In 2000-2001, the Shropshire Music Foundation was formally organized.

Since then her music program has spread to three different countries, which include Uganda, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and soon Turkey. Shropshire, as well as other student volunteers, teaches children how to play different instruments starting with the simple pennywhistle. Their No. 1 goal is to make students feel good about themselves, she said, and become tolerant of others. This is done thru music.

When asked why her program worked, or what it had to do with establishing peace in general, Shropshire stated, “I don’t know why it works. I just know that it does. It gives the children a confidence in themselves that they can accomplish something, and it’s free so anyone can participate. We’re building up peacemakers with music, because peace without music can never be attained.” More information about the Shropshire Music Program can be found on

The next speaker, Chris Pineda a junior in PB/ICS, from American Fork, Utah, gave a brief preview of what is generally spoken about at IPB seminars. Pineda spoke specifically about the “in the box” theory. He explained that when we see people as objects, we are “in the box.” This affects the people around us, and by acting out negatively towards them we invite them “into the box” with us. This causes them to then look at us as an object and act out negatively towards us, therefore creating a full cycle, also known as collusion, he said. Collusion can happen on many levels, whether it is in the federal government or in our own homes. Those curious to know how to prevent collusion must attend the IPB seminars, as Pineda did not disclose this information.

Students Bobby Port a senior in ICS, from Las Vegas, Nev., and Briana Garrido, a sophomore in PB/ICS, from Wahiawa, spoke next focusing on mediation. They said no matter where we go in our lives, whether at home, work, gym and even foreign countries, conflict is going to arise. Therefore we must learn to deal with conflict. One way we can deal with this conflict is thru mediation, they said, but what is mediation?
Going straight to the source, the Oxford dictionary states that mediation is defined as “to intervene between people in a dispute in order to bring about an agreement or reconciliation.” Port and Garrido further emphasized the importance of mediation thru role-play, in which they acted as thou they were a couple experiencing some dating problems. It became very clear to everyone in the room that this example was something that could happen to anyone.

It was also quite clear mediation plays a huge role in controlling conflict and talking thru things. In the words of Garrido, “This program is a direct application of the gospel itself, and everything we do it based off Christ’s life and his example, which is exactly why it works.”

Director Chad Ford finished up the program by speaking about BYUH, and the Peace Building Program as a whole. “For 34 years, David O. McKay had a dream or vision of this place, and for many of those years, his vision was largely disregarded. But he waited and was patient until his time came. When his time did come, he picked the most obscure place to build his dream, Laie, Hawaii, but he was right. He had the same vision as the Prophet Joseph Smith, to build up Zion, and that should be our greatest objective. Zion can flood the earth. But the world needs you. We need you,” said Ford.