The Peacebuilders' Exchange
Our unique workshop in July 2012 gave young Anglican peacebuilders from Africa, Asia and Latin America the chance to explore the challenge of conflict as a barrier to successful pro-poor development and share examples of best practice in conflict transformation.
It was the first workshop of its type to bring together young leaders from across the developing world and Europe.
After five days of activities, talks and training in London, where we're working with our partners at St Ethelburga's and Lambeth Palace, the participants had a brief encounter visit in another UK diocese. Church partners in Barking, Belfast, Newcastle, Nottingham, Wigan and York introduced the young leaders to local projects working in fractured communities to build trust and challenge violent behaviour and attitudes.
The participants then joined the international youth gathering of the Community of the Cross of Nails at Coventry Cathedral for a three day program with other young peacebuilders from conflict-affected countries.
The initiative allowed young people to develop peacebuilding leadership skills and asked them to identify how they can be resourced, sustained and affirmed in their current roles. Participants were challenged to consider the influence of the past on understanding conflict in the present, ways of building peace in multicultural and interfaith contexts, and the role of the church in building sustainable peace. They also examined the role of woman as mediators and sustainers of peace and helped take forward plans for an Anglican model of conflict early warning.
Ten young leaders came from around the Communion, including Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Another ten joined from the UK.
From Africa, we have Dorcas from South Sudan who worked on the transitional arrangements in the run up to independence and Isaac from the Democratic Republic of Congo who is a lecturer, youth leader and church warden. Tinashe and Tanyaradzwa from Zimbabwe also work with vulnerable people, including street children and the elderly.
Our young leaders from Asia are Elijah who works with the organisations Sri Lanka Unites and ZOA Sri Lanka and Gideon from Philippines, the national president of the province's youth arm. Raheel and Zary from Pakistan both work on youth and development issues for the Diocese of Raiwind.
Our two Latin Americans come from Brazil. Ana Caroline comes from City of God, one of Rio de Janeiro's most deprived communities, and Yvi is a journalism student from the city of Londrina.