June 2017 Chapters Update
We are thrilled to welcome new members to the Euphrates community with Chapters starting in Nigeria, Burundi, Tanzania, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast! In the process of developing goals to bridge divides in their community, the Burundi Chapter beautifully stated its mission: “to disseminate a culture of peace and democracy, and to encourage young people to create the conditions for sustainable peace and human security by empowering individuals with the capacity to foster dialogue and reconciliation.” We are immensely grateful to be connected with these grassroots peacebuilders around the world as they share their ideas and inspiration with each other.
Connecting with Middle East Peacebuilders
We recently held a virtual gathering with Chapter members and our partners from Combatants for Peace, a group of former Israeli and Palestinian soldiers that are now working together to break the cycle of violence and promote an equitable peace. Sulaiman Khatib and Itamar shared their remarkable stories of transformation and best practices with us. You can watch a recording of this enlightening conversation by clicking on the link.
➜ Seattle The Seattle Chapter hosted a well-attended showing of “Disturbing the Peace,” a documentary about Combatants for Peace, followed by an engaging Q&A session with a high school student from Palestine. Janessa Gans Wilder also gave her talk, “Turn the ‘Other’ into a Brother” to a receptive audience in Seattle. The members are now preparing to have a booth at Arab Fest in July!
Chapter members are working with a charitable organization to pack meals for those in need during Ramadan. They are also distributing the food in the mornings and evenings to people on the street.
In April, the Redding Chapter hosted a panel discussion with exchange students from India, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Palestine. The audience loved hearing the students authentically share their stories and words of wisdom based on their experiences living in Redding for the past year. Members also represented Euphrates at the town’s Whole Earth and Watershed Festival!
➜ Ivory Coast
Together with United for Peace Against Conflict International, the Euphrates Chapter hosted an interfaith conference for young Muslims and Christians. They received training in deep listening and dialogue skills, and were given opportunities to put them into practice. The goal of the conference was to help humanize the “Other” and change prejudices through authentic communication.
➜ UT Chattanooga
The Chapter hosted a film screening of “Tickling Giants,” which profiles Egyptian satirist, Bassam Youssef on their college campus. They also visited a local mosque for a tour and call to prayer.
Euphrates travels to India and Pakistan!
During the coming months, we are looking forward to further deepening and assessment of our Chapters program. We are excited to have Sylvia Murray join our team this summer as our Program Development Specialist! She brings a wide range of skills and experience in nonviolent communication, community building, and conflict transformation. She will be conducting interviews and workshops with Chapter members and using their feedback to develop and improve our curriculum. In July, Sylvia will be visiting four of our Chapters in India and Pakistan to spend time with these outstanding groups in person! We invite you to follow her travels through regular updates on our blog, Facebook, and Instagram.
What our members are saying
“Because of Euphrates, I am learning to develop a deeper sense of listening and community building. Euphrates helps us engage on common ground rather than through conflict. I am far more personally aware of global issues highlighting peacebuilding, and feel a sense of transformation occurring within my own thought about how I can become more engaged and empowered to support this peace process!” — Rebecca Hoskyn, Seattle, WA“It humbles me to learn of determined humanity at work to build peace in the worst possible circumstances. The art of deep listening, community building through dialogue has indeed opened up for me a range of ways to connect and be a change-maker in my community. I am immensely grateful to the Euphrates family for teaching me skills I will cherish all my life.”— Sohini Jana, Kolkata, India
Know Your Neighbor Campaign
Euphrates is proud to be one of the seventy national interfaith partners who launched the Know Your Neighbor Summer Campaign on June 8, 2017. Know Your Neighbor (KYN) is an effort of compassionate resistance against increasing polarization in the country along political, religious, and cultural divisions. Decades of social science research have shown that personal contact with members of groups you are unfamiliar with is the most effective way to dispel prejudice, and the Know Your Neighbor campaign offers tips, tools, and guides, to help with that exchange. The unity of our nation is based neither upon our uniformity nor upon our agreement on questions of politics or religion, but rather on our common commitment to the fundamental values of equality, fairness, and respect. We can do better as a nation, and it begins with us! Join the campaign at www.ing.org/kyn and spread the word.