(North, Central & South America, Europe, Africa, Middle East)
Why is peacemaking important?
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.
What does the course consist of?
This course consists of five short modules based on documentary films of peacemakers in very different contexts. In each module, 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?
What films will I be watching?
- ‘The Man Who Built Peace’ is the first film, as it sets the context for all the other modules and also serves as an introduction to Frank Buchman, founder of Initiatives of Change, and his approach to peacemaking. The facilitated analysis focuses on the evolution of his strategy in different situations, from founding a hostel for street kids in the early 1900s, to ‘turning round’ a failing college, to creating an international network for moral and spiritual renewal, to being decorated by the governments of France and Germany, as well as of Japan and the Philippines, for his contribution to reconciliation between them after the Second World War.
- ‘For the Love of Tomorrow’, takes a particular example of Buchman’s approach, which took place in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The discussion after the film focuses on the roles of a team of people, trained by Buchman, who worked together to enable an embittered French politician become a significant agent for post-war reconciliation with the Germans.
- ‘The Imam and the Pastor’, also shows how a change of heart in individuals can lead to initiatives which have a far wider impact. In this case, the context is religious conflict in northern Nigeria in the early 1990s, where two rival militia leaders came together to train a task force of imams and pastors to travel to mediate in flashpoints.
- ‘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. In the discussion, participants will analyse the mediation process step by step.
- ‘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 main aim of the course is to absorb as much wisdom as possible about the healing of broken relationships from these stories of remarkable people.
UN Sustainable Development Goal
The course relates to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Course Designer and Co-facilitator
Peter Riddell has worked with Initiatives of Change (IofC UK) organising trust-building programmes between people of different faiths based on shared ethical values, in particular with people who have suffered due to Britain’s colonial legacy.
He is currently Convenor of IofC UK’s Agenda for Reconciliation programme, supporting refugees who wish to contribute to rebuilding their country of origin, with safe space for sharing, training and accompaniment. He is also Coordinator of Learning to be a Peacemaker, a course designed by Imam Ajmal Masroor, on Islamic approaches to peacemaking for young European Muslims and their non-Muslim peers.
Dr Omnia Marzouk is originally from Egypt, was born in Spain, and has lived most of her life in Australia and Britain. She recently retired as Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, having served as Clinical Director of the Emergency Department and as Associate Medical Director.
Omnia was also the first woman President of Initiatives of Change International from 2011-2016. For many years, she has been engaged in trust-building initiatives and intercultural and interfaith dialogue within the UK, as well as in other parts of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Consider a voluntary contribution for your participation in the course to support our efforts in addressing this goal.