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Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman

Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman’s life is a story of two faiths and cultures - she was born into royalty as a Maranao Muslim Princess through her father while her Catholic mother who converted to Islam hails from Bulacan. She grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where she was a witness to the terror brought by the first Gulf War in 1991. This experience hardened her commitment to peace. She finds a bit of herself in every child who fears the sound of war.

Until recently, Rohaniza worked as the Philippine Country Director for Asia America Initiative. In this role, she promoted peace and development through education, inter-faith, inter-cultural and inter-generational engagement in peace building for the younger generation to be peace prime movers in their own communities, creative and innovative approaches in creating more awareness about the peace building process like Sports, Music and Art.

Currently, Rohaniza is pursuing a long-term dream of establishing a Peace Center that will specialize in peace education for younger generations of Muslims and Non-Muslims, and & also formed a new organization called “Teach Peace, Build Peace” with its mission to make every Filipino child & youth a peace builder, as an effort to develop a sustainable culture of peace for generations to come. She is an alumni member of the Ayala Young Leaders Alliance, Outreach Convener of Young Moro Professionals Network, which she also chairs, a group of young Muslim professionals advocating peaceful means to improve the socio- economic well-being of the Bangsamoro people. She is also a Trustee of Center for Strategic Reforms Philippines that empowers MSMEs for sustainability and greater impact toward inclusive growth. She was Associate Editor of Starfish Magazine from 2008-2010, the first Filipino youth empowerment magazine where she was one of those who pushed for a section that was geared towards publishing good news and exploratory articles about issues in Mindanao to present a positive paradigm.

Rohaniza is also a social entrepreneur and her interest in Fashion influenced her to design and style her hijabs (head cover), which she launched last September 2010 called, “Rohaniza’s Hijab and Muslimah Style” along with her “Muslim Republic” statement shirts mainstreaming the positive side of Islam in response to negative notions against the said religion. A consistent Valedictorian and Leadership Awardee when she was still in school. A multi-awarded individual - she is the recipient of this year’s “Emerging Peace Champion” Award from the N-Peace Network organized by UNDP. The Award highlights women who empower communities and are exemplary peace builders. She was also recognized as an Ambassador for Peace in 2007 by the Universal Peace Federation and is also a Princeton Global Network Awardee for World’s Most Accomplished Individuals for year 2009-2010. She has also been recognized by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for successfully conducting a series of peace building programs that created venues to help deepen the knowledge, understanding and relations not only between the civil society and the AFP but also among Muslims, Christians and Indigenous People. She has been featured in several magazines, newspapers and on-line media as a young achiever, great role model for youth and women and exemplary peace builder.


By: Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman
In the past years and up to the present time, we have been faced with so much conflict and violence. In my journey, I came across stories of struggl ...

Myths and Facts on the BBL

By: Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman
Published with permission from the OPAPP MYTH # 1 That the Bangsamoro will be an independent state separate from the Philippines, with its inhabitan ...

Being a “Ka-Bayani” for Zamboanga

By: Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman
As the author returns to Zamboanga to check on the status of our brothers and sisters displaced by the Zamboanga siege, let’s look back on her ...

The Youth’s Role for the Bangsamoro: Are you in or Are you out?

By: Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman
As what was said by Dr. Jose Rizal, “Ang Kabataan ay ang Pag-asa ng Bayan”. This time, I would like to say and give emphasis on the youth having a c ...

The Ingredients of Peace

By: Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman
In my last article, I gave an introduction about my peace formula, the BRaVO Scheme: BReaking the barriers between different ethnic groups, religion ...

Mindanao is Mine

By: Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman
Oftentimes, we would hear others say: “It is so dangerous in Mindanao.” “Do not go to Mindanao or else you’ll be kidnapped.” “The people in Mindanao ...

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