Perhaps examples of outstanding peacemakers can stimulate fresh ideas of steps that we can take. Developed from the initiative, Agenda for Reconciliation (AfR), Qualities and Strategies of Peacemakers (QSP) is an online course of five short modules, each based on a film about outstanding peacemakers. The films chosen provide tangible examples of reconciliation efforts undertaken in the aftermath of conflict, offering a diverse range of scenarios. From resolving tensions on an international scale and navigating inter-religious disputes to addressing complex inter-ethnic dynamics and the challenges arising from post-colonial legacies, these films encapsulate a myriad of contexts.
Peter Riddell has worked with Initiatives of Change (IofC UK) organising trust-building programmes between people of different faiths based on shared ethical values, in particular with people who have suffered due to Britain’s colonial legacy.
He is currently Convenor of IofC UK’s Agenda for Reconciliation programme, supporting refugees who wish to contribute to rebuilding their country of origin, with safe space for sharing, training and accompaniment.
He is also Coordinator of Learning to be a Peacemaker, a course designed by Imam Ajmal Masroor, on Islamic approaches to peacemaking for young European Muslims and their non-Muslim peers.
Dr Omnia Marzouk is originally from Egypt, was born in Spain, and has lived most of her life in Australia and Britain.
Omnia was Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine for 22 years at the UK’s busiest Children’s Emergency Department – Alder Hey Children’s NHS Trust in Liverpool. She served as Clinical Director of the Emergency Department for 7 years and as Associate Medical Director of the children’s hospital for 5 years. She has recently retired from clinical work but continues to mentor doctors in Emergency Paediatrics.
Omnia was the first woman President of Initiatives of Change International from 2011-2016. For many years, she has been particularly engaged in trust-building initiatives and intercultural and interfaith dialogue within the UK, as well as taking part in similar initiatives in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Qualities and Strategies of Peacemakers course comprises of five modules, each lasting two hours. In each module, participants will watch, discuss and analyse documentary films showcasing various peacemakers in diverse contexts.
Beginning with an introduction and YouTube-based film viewing, the subsequent interactive analysis is a collaborative reflection where participants explore the peacemakers’ words, strategies, qualities, and the applicable lessons for their own lives and work.
The films serve as powerful windows into the peacemakers’ journeys, fostering emotional engagement. Guided discussions delve into their actions and strategies, enabling participants to glean practical insights for their personal contexts.
This course has helped extend my mind of what is possible when people of different convictions, but similar values, work together. - Emma, United Kingdom
The course is an introduction to an approach to peacemaking that was developed by Frank Buchman, the founder of what is today known as Initiatives of Change. To unpack these various approaches, the five films below have been selected. Those which have trailers available have been linked.
‘The Man Who Built Peace’
A film about Frank Buchman himself. The facilitated analysis focuses on the principal phases in his life, from founding a hostel for street kids in the early 1900s; to creating an international network for moral and spiritual renewal; to contributing to reconciliation between France and Germany, as well as between Japan and the Philippines after the Second World War, for which he was decorated by their respective governments.
‘For the Love of Tomorrow’
Set in the international context, it takes a particular example of Buchman’s approach, which took place in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The analysis after the film focuses on the roles of four people including Buchman, who worked together to help an embittered French politician become a significant agent for post-war reconciliation with the Germans.
‘The Imam and the Pastor’
Set in a community in northern Nigeria divided by religious conflict, this film shows how a change of heart in individuals led to initiatives which had a far wider impact. It relates how two former rival militia leaders came together to train imams and pastors to mediate in flash points across the country and beyond. The analysis focuses on how the two men reconciled, and what the strategies they used in helping to bring about reconciliation in two key towns.
‘An African Answer’
Sequel to the previous film, it focuses on healing ethnic conflict. ‘Here we see the imam and the pastor in Kenya after serious post-election violence in 2007-8, applying the mediation approach that they developed in Nigeria. After the film, participants will analyse the mediation process step by step.
In the period after the end of Apartheid and the multi-party elections, the South African Defence Force killed a group of black youths. A black guerrilla commander ordered a revenge shooting in which a white girl died. Some years later, the girl’s mother finds an opportunity to confront the guerrilla commander, and they speak of the painful realisations for both of them as they begin to journey together. The analysis will focus on the steps each took on that journey, and what they did together as a result.
The main aim of the course is to absorb as much wisdom as possible about the healing of broken relationships from these remarkable stories, and to reflect on our own peacemaking.
As a university student familiar with various teaching techniques, I found the structure of this course to be very engaging. It provided an effective learning experience. - Patrycja, Masters Student at Kings College London
On the morning of each module, you will receive direct links to the Zoom meeting, the film itself, and note sheets designed for your personal use while watching the film.
To enhance the course’s effectiveness, your feedback is invaluable. Following the final module, we kindly request you to complete an online evaluation form for our internal improvement efforts. With your permission, we may use some of your insightful quotes for publicity purposes, highlighting the impact of our program.
Upon attending all modules and submitting the evaluation form, you’ll be awarded a well-deserved Certificate of Completion. If life’s demands make you miss a module or two – you’re welcome to participate in a future course to catch up and still be eligible for the certificate.
We highly value individual preferences and circumstances. While we understand that some participants might prefer not to appear on video or might have bandwidth constraints, we encourage you to consider keeping your video on as it enhances the interactive experience and fosters meaningful connections among participants.
This course has taught me that forgiveness is the first step to reconciliation and understanding and respecting one another leads peace. - Oluwadamilola, Nigeria