National Campaign for Peace Education - Cameroon
Our chapter leader, Emmanuel Fuhbang, recounts horrific suffering in his region of Cameroon amidst the Anglophone/Francophone conflict. Despite this, he is organizing peace clubs and events that bring the two sides together, even in Francophone areas. He shared an inspired account from a gathering he hosted this summer .
The local administrative officer turned down two public venues for the event, for fears that the event would create a protest. So my friend introduced me to a Francophone woman. From the onset this woman outright rejected to offer her place for the event because it is something from Anglophones. I remember she retorted (in French) I do not want Ambazonians here… they are violent and are killing Francophones in their own regions.
I walked up to her, presented myself to her and engaged her in a peace talk. Finally, she gave me the benefit of doubt because I am a pastor. During the event her paradigm was shifted completely. She offered her venue for future peace club activities and opted also to be a peace ambassador.
"Dialogue Bridge Builder Corps" emerging in Cote d'Ivoire
In July, United for Peace Against Conflicts International (UFPACI) – Euphrates Institute for Mediation and Social Dialogue Training Institute held its first training in Cote d’Ivoire. The training was conducted by Euphrates Chapter Leader, James Offuh, with Janessa leading a session via video conference. Over three days participants were equipped with the authentic communication and leadership skills necessary to address the root causes of hatred, discrimination and conflict. James shared this inspiration:
In such sustained dialogue safe space, we explore the 'Other's' pains, anguish, fears, and hopes. We share their uncontrollable tears that flow from the inside out, healing mutually and reminding us we are ONE HUMANITY, ONE SPIRIT, and ONE EARTH. At this junction, our religious, ethnic, political backgrounds or classes no longer matter nor are remembered but only what connects US as authentic HUMANS, the web of life, our interconnectedness is what MATTERS. One thing that creates hope out of this experience is that unknown individuals meeting at the first time, sees the other as a true FAMILY beyond barriers. Trust is established through sustained dialogue. A new concept emerges like “Dialogue Bridge Builders Corps”. This is who we are now, a new family of Dialogue practitioners, ready to effect change across boundaries, beyond barriers.
"My other had literally become my 'brother'." - An update from Kashmir
Our chapter leader, Sohini Jana, had plans to travel to Leh Ladakh, in northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir state, for a family trip on the 5th of August. On that same day, the Indian government revoked Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution which had previously provided special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. She shared a moving account of her experience. In her words…
As phone lines went dead from the 3rd of August and the Centre sent more and more troops to build a stronger hold over the region, my last conversation with my friend and youth peace-builder Touseef Raina, based in Kashmir, was “We don’t know what is happening here. There is much panic and confusion. “ He wished me safe travels as I was scheduled to travel to Leh Ladakh for a family trip on the 5th. Even amidst the confusion, this young man made it a point to reassure me and gave me courage to go ahead with my travel plans.
Youth Meeting - Redding, CA
Euphrates staff, a Board member, chapter leaders and volunteers met with youth in Redding, California in August. Our friend and colleague, Devin, shared his perspective on the event.
The student meeting was an excellent opportunity to meet with other young peace builders in the community. We brought our most genuine and honest forms of ourselves to discuss the multiple forms peace can take and addressed issues, both globally and locally, we'd like to resolve. Within this, we were able to find commonality between one another beyond just being students, but also sharing the same vision of oneness. This filled our hearts and minds with much needed hope. After the meeting, I was left with certainty that this was not the end for this group.
Albino & Non-Albino Breakfast - Democratic Republic of Congo
Elesse and Virginia Bafandjo continue to lead the Euphrates chapter in the Democratic Republic of Congo, forging ahead to create a safer and more inclusive environment for albinos. The chapter most recently held a breakfast to connect albinos and non-albinos with the goal of enabling attendees to live beyond their differences and to live in peace, unity, and inclusion.”
To learn more, please visit http://traubman.igc.org/vidnigeriadrcongo.htm.
Summer highlights from the Euphrates team...
Accelerate Peace: Interfaith Action in Global Peacebuilding
(Top) Opening ceremony of the conference with people represented from every region in the world
(Left) Janessa with Darlington Megwe, fellow Principia alum, and Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Director of Global Partnership and Representative at the UN and Africa Union & Regional Director
(Right) Janessa with Monica Willard, URI’s representative to the United Nations, and Kehkashan Basu, International Children’s Peace Prize winner and environmental activist
In June, Janessa attended the United Religions Initiative (URI) gathering of interfaith peacebuilders from around the world titled "Accelerate Peace", held at Stanford University. URI is the largest grassroots interfaith network in the world, with groups in over 100 countries. In her words:
The conference felt like the United Nations, with diverse tongues, faiths, dress, and nationalities represented, creating a deeply felt sense of global Oneness. In a testament to the broad reach of the URI network and the importance afforded peace efforts, we heard from leaders including former Defense Secretary James Mattis, as well as Adama Dieng, special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. I was honored to participate in the Voices for a Nuclear Free World session as well as one on “Ending Religiously Motivated Violence.” Euphrates Institute has been a URI cooperation circle since 2011.
Personal Peace Days
This summer, the Euphrates Institute launched Personal Peace Days. Understanding the importance of personal peace practices in building a more peaceful and just world, our staff dedicates one day each month to cultivating personal peace. It looks different for all team members and might include time spent in nature, practicing yoga, a long walk, prayer, time with loved ones. We welcome you to join us in dedicating a day to your personal peace practice. Our next Personal Peace Day will be Monday, September 9th.
Strategic Planning Update
Over the summer, the Euphrates Board of Directors and Staff have been collaborating on an organizational strategic plan. Building on the visioning sessions from the River of Hope Summit and Chapter Leader feedback, the team is eagerly exploring the impact Euphrates wants to have in the world and how we can best serve our community. Our goal is to have a roadmap for our work ahead and understand how we best live into our purpose to inspire humanity to act from Oneness. Stay tuned for more details in the months ahead!
International Day of Peace 2019
Each year September 21 is observed as the International Day of Peace. The United Nation’s General Assembly has declared this as “a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” This year’s theme is calling upon all of us to help tackle climate change. Follow global activities in support of this day and share your personal and community activities through #PeaceDay and #ClimateAction. To learn more, please click HERE.
One Billion Youth
The Euphrates team met with Abraham Karickam, Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia this month. He shared the news of a remarkable campaign they launched this month in India:
Today we had a historic launch of a Global Campaign- "One Billion Youth for Peace". I had the privilege of launching the same with a mission statement and opening the logo. The first peace pledge in the series was also administered during the URI Youth Assembly where there were more than 200 delegates from various CCs. Our goal is to enroll one billion youth in this peace campaign by 2030.
To sign the pledge or for more information, please visit their Facebook page.