Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Documentry 'Opening Our Eyes' enlightens peace

     Continuing a tradition of inspiration through moving cinema, Valencia College’s Peace and Justice Initiative partnering with the Global Peace Film Festival, let the fires of peace burn bright after sharing the personal stories of kind hearted heroes from around the world.

     “I think peace day is a reminder that we can choose to live peacefully in our lives today,” said Rachel Allen, a professor of humanities at East Campus and one of the main organizer for peace day events at Valencia.

     The peace day events took place across multiple days and multiple campuses at Valencia including last on Thursday Sept. 20. The evenings event was centered around the screening of the inspirational 2011 documentary film entitled “Opening Our Eyes” which looks at people working to create a better world for those in need.

     The film follows the stories of 11 exceptional individuals that use their time and energy in the service of others that are often overlook by society as a whole.

     There is Maggie Doyne who founded Kopila Valley Children’s Home in Surket, Nepal, an organization that helps underprivileged and or abused children get an education in a safe environment. Another notable subject from the film is Dr. David Mar Naw who founded Where There Is Not A Doctor, that provides desperately needed free medical care to hill-tribe communities in Northern Thailand.

     Those in attendance for this film screening were openly moved by the stories of sick children and others facing hardship around the world. This can be jarring to some, but altogether received a warm welcome from attendees that openly expressed their love for its overall message.

     “I was struck by the diversity of the students in the room and also the diversity of the subjects in the film,” said Ann Puyana, who taught English as a second language and work for Valencia College administrations for the last 10 years of her educational career.

     To finish off the evenings events students and other volunteers stood in an open field holding lit candles to form a glowing human peace sign to commemorate the message of International Peace Day.

     “It was so inspiring seeing so many people around the world helping others, and this was a lovely way of cementing the day in light,” said Penny Villegas.

     Peace Day means something different to individuals depending on their political views or ideology. There is certainly a political aspect because it ties in with the United Nations International Day of Peace on Sept. 21, which works to have one day in which all countries of the world go one day without violence and bloodshed. The day was officially started in 1982 and sadly has never been fully realized due to ongoing conflicts and tensions ever present around the world.

     So in general the goal of peace day is to help drive home the message of helping others and working to make the world a better place by spreading the ideals of love and compassion for everyone of earth.

     To find more information on the Peace and Justice Initiative at Valencia you can visit their website at or by liking their Facebook page at for daily updates.

By James Tutten

(Published: Sept. 26, 2012 issue of "Valencia Voice" on page 3 and 4.)

(Photos by James Tutten) 


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