Why is peacemaking necessary?
We can all think of examples of relationships that are not in a healthy state, between humans, or between humans and our natural habitat. It goes without saying that everyone wants to live in a peaceful environment. But how to bring peace? Perhaps examples of outstanding peacemakers can stimulate fresh ideas of steps that we can take.
The course consists of five short modules based on documentary films of peacemakers in very different contexts. In each module, an introduction and a viewing of the film will be followed by facilitated interactive analysis, when participants will together reflect on:
- What the peacemakers said and/or did
- What their strategies were
- What qualities they displayed.
- What lessons do we draw for our own life and work?
Links to the zoom call, the film, and note sheets (for participants personal use while watching the film), are sent before each module.
What is the course content?
The course is an introduction to an approach to peacemaking that was developed by Frank Buchman, the founder of what is today known as Initiatives of Change.
So it is natural to start with a recent film about Buchman, ‘The Man Who Built Peace’, as it sets the context for all the other modules. The facilitated analysis focuses on the principal phases in his life, from founding a hostel for street kids in the early 1900s; to creating an international network for moral and spiritual renewal; to contributing to reconciliation between France and Germany, as well as between Japan and the Philippines after the Second World War, for which he was decorated by their respective governments.
The second film ‘For the Love of Tomorrow’, is also set in the international context. It takes a particular example of Buchman’s approach, which took place in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The analysis after the film focuses on the roles of four people including Buchman, who worked together to help an embittered French politician become a significant agent for post-war reconciliation with the Germans.
The third film, ‘The Imam and the Pastor’, is set in a community in northern Nigeria divided by religious conflict. It shows how a change of heart in individuals led to initiatives which had a far wider impact. It relates how two former rival militia leaders came together to train imams and
pastors to mediate in flashpoints across the country and beyond. The analysis focuses on how the two men reconciled, and what strategies they used in helping to bring about reconciliation in two key towns.
The fourth film ‘An African Answer’ is a sequel to the previous film and focuses on healing ethnic conflict. Here we see the imam and the pastor in Kenya applying the mediation approach that they developed in Nigeria, after serious post-election violence in 2007-8. After the film, participants will analyse the mediation process step by step.
The final film, ‘Beyond Forgiving’ is a story of post-colonial reconciliation from South Africa. Shortly after the end of Apartheid, a black guerrilla commander ordered a revenge shooting in which a white girl died. Some years later, the girl’s mother finds an opportunity to confront the guerrilla commander, and they speak of the painful realisations for both of them as they begin to journey together. The analysis will focus on the steps each took on that journey, and what they did together as a result.
The main aim of the course is to absorb as much wisdom as possible about the healing of broken relationships from these remarkable stories, and to reflect on our own peacemaking.
● Monday 5 - Friday 9 July 16.45 for 17.00 BST/GMT+1 (North and Latin America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, West and South Asia)