Stories of Hope from the Middle East

Friday, 20. April 2018

Notice of short European Tour by Lebanese and Syrian* grassroots peacemakers

The Middle East is widely regarded as an area of unmitigated negativity. However, there are more creative and hope-giving initiatives being undertaken than we might imagine.

It is to some of these that a group from Lebanon and Syria will witness on a short European tour to Sweden, Norway and the UK between 21April and 12 May.

The visiting delegation is associated with the international Initiatives of Change movement, and they represent two networks which are working for peace in their countries through people finding new perspectives and a change of heart.

Assaad Chaftari and Haidar Ammacha are members of ‘Fighters for Peace’, a group of Lebanese former militia fighters who fought on opposite sides during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), but who have since come to regret their role in it.

Assaad was Head of Security for the Lebanese Forces Christian militia, and Haidar held a senior position in a leftist, pro-Palestinian militia.

In the last three years, Fighters for Peace have spoken to over 15,000 young people in schools and universities to persuade them not to go down the same path that they did. The British Council in Lebanon recently produced a short documentary about their work, ‘Fighting for Peace’.

They will be joined by two women from Syria, Iman Alghafari, a teacher and counsellor, and Ola Aldarwish, a lecturer in Architectural Engineering at Damascus University. Their work in Damascus is inspired by Initiatives of Change’s ‘Creators of Peace’ programme, which aims to develop women’s potential for peace-making.

During their tour, the group will be sharing their experiences with local community-building groups and policy-makers in private and public events.

For further information, email:

*Subject to obtaining visas