Agenda for Reconciliation (AfR) started as series of international conferences on peacemaking at IofC’s centre in Switzerland in the early 1990s. They were coordinated by IofC UK, and when the series ended, the coordinators continued their weekly meetings.
In 2005, a particular focus began to emerge when leaders of the Somali community in the UK requested training in Dialogue Facilitation. Their country had collapsed, and the community was divided on clan lines. They believed that building trust within the diaspora would be a contribution to uniting the country when it became possible to return.
The courses developed a network of Somali leaders of different clans who attended the AfR meetings. They created a charity ‘Somali Initiative for Dialogue and Democracy’. Sizeable delegations attended conferences in Caux. Connections were made with parliamentarians and diplomats, and articles published in newspapers. An intergenerational dialogue workshop, ‘Peace Begins at Home’ was developed to address the generation gap in the community.
Since 2011, when a transitional government was formed in Somalia, a significant number of those who had received the training returned to take part in the rebuilding process, at considerable risk to their lives. The ‘Refugees as Re-Builders‘ course grew out of this initial training.
AfR members originally from Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda, are working intensively to build trust within their diasporas, and numerous events to this end have taken place at IofC’s London centre.