Maranao peacebuilder shines at UN high-level meeting in New York

Farah Ali Ghodsinia, a Maranao and child of Mindanao, introduced the indigenous handwoven piece “malong” as a symbol of inclusivity to peacebuilding at the United Nations (UN) High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace in New York City, April 24 and 25.

According to Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), aware that it was not often young people are given the chance to speak at such a high-profile conference, she came dressed in a beautiful malong and used it as a powerful illustration that linked the conference to her central message.

“This malong is actually handwoven by the women of my community in Lanao. Like the presence of you and women today, I believe that we actually recognize the importance of integrating more women in the decision-making processes of peacebuilding,” Ghodsinia said in her speech.

“Aside from that, we also recognize that conflict tends to create a greater adverse result or adverse effects on girls and women. Thus, we should also actively shape policies that are gender sensitive,” she added.

“Recently, a war actually happened in my region and our city today Marawi is completely in ruins… And now our government is actually working hard to rebuild our city and to also forward other causes such as the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” she said.

“I believe it is important for us to support young change makers not only in providing organizational support but also financial support so the future of today depends on what we actually do now,” Ghodsinia said. “I believe that investing in our youth and seeing them partners of peace and security would be of benefit to all of us, to the old ones, young ones and to the future to come.”

“By integrating, and weaving together different stakeholders and different factors then we can better attain and sustain peace,” she said.