The 11 young people from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Brazil, DR Congol, Zimbabwe and the Philippines went to speak to MPs as part of the Peacebuilders’ Exchange, organised by the Anglican Alliance to build skills in peace and reconciliation.
They met the Archbishop at Lambeth Palace on the first day of the programme that includes four days in London, three with communities around the UK, and three in Coventry, devastated by wartime bombing. The 11 peacebuilders come from Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, DRC and Brazil to share their experiences of building peace in their own communities, and also see how some communities in the UK tackle conflict.
At Lambeth Palace, they heard Most Rev Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury set out the three core principles for peacebuilding. These were:
– To be in it for the long haul. Building peace and reconciliation takes time, and often means working in difficult and hostile environments.
– To have the freedom to bellieve that things do not have to be as they are – to believe that things can change.
– To understand that in any conflict people had to learn to deal with the stranger.
Today, Thursday July 5th, they went to the UK Parliament to lobby MPs and were challenged to ensure that they maintained their grassroots work on peace and reconciliation in their own communities. Ivan Lewis MP said work in conflict-affected, fragile states was a high priority for international development policy.
He said that gender should be at the heart of the Peacebuilders work: research showed that programmes that supported women’s empowerment achieved the greatest results. He also strongly supported community empowerment – the grassroots up development to which the Alliance is committed.
And he challenged the Alliance Peacebuilders to maintain the momentum and ensure that they remained committed to transforming their local societies and the wider world.
In the picture: Elijah Hoole and Faith David from Sri Lanka, Raheel Sharoon and Sarah Malik from Pakistan, Gideon Bustamente from Philippines, Rebecca Coleman from London, Anna Carolina and Yvi from Brazil, Tinashe Mukona and Tanyaradzwa Mufandaedza from Zimbabwe, Sally Keeble and Laura Payne from the Anglican Alliance meet Ivan Henderson MP at the UK Parliament in London.