More than a week back, Commission on Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Ronald Adamat formally received the Mahatma MK Gandhi Peace Prize for Non-Violent Peace 2021.
Not much flourish was given, nor column inches in print journalism—for whatever reason or lack of it.
But the award makes him the country’s 1st Gandhi Peace Prize awardee which put him on the same stage as past awardees like Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, former US President Jimmy Carter, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev.
We join those who congratulated Adamat, like incoming President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, and lawmakers led by Senator Sherwin Gatchailian.
Adamat is thus far the only Filipino to have obtained such distinction, which verily put this Southeast Asian archipelago in the map of those who have produced few great men and women given the same global recognition.
Adamat, a Teduray from Upi, Maguindanao and a former congressman who represented the Indigenous People’s sector in the 10th Congress, thanked the Mahatmi Gandhi Foundation for “finally recognizing my advocacy on peace which I have been doing untiringly and (with) undying commitment for decades.”
Adamat also quoted Gandhi, in a statement attributed to the latter supposedly made in 1913, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. “
The notion of being the change we want to see in the world does three powerful things when we adopt it: It stops us from judging others; It replaces complaining about others with reflection on self; and It stirs us into taking action within the only thing in the world over which we have any control: ourselves.
Good quote going for him when he said “Investing in education and peace is investing in the future.”
In the nearly six years Adamat has been with CHEd, he was able to introduce reforms in higher education and helped address the problems and issues confronting the private higher education sector regarding their recognition and program accreditation.
For the record, he was the one who initiated and authored the integration of the Peace Studies and Indigenous Peoples Studies into the tertiary education curricula.
At present Adamat should be looked up to and encouraged as he continues his work for the establishment of the National Agriculture and Food Security Academy aimed at training and encouraging the country’s agriculture and food security practitioners and experts to become scientists.
These experts are seen as those who will use their knowledge in putting the country back in the global map of agriculture and food havens like what President Ferdinand E. Marcos (1965-1986) did when he was at the helm of government.
Well timed, as the country is on the track of a looming global food crisis.