Agenda for Reconciliation training
Agenda for Reconciliation training
Unhealed conflicts blight the lives of millions across the globe. Those individuals who have the capacity to draw together people from opposite poles need support. Agenda for Reconciliation (AfR) is a weekly meeting at the IofC-UK’s London centre for such people, where they can exchange information, plans and ideas, and receive encouragement, training and support.

Currently, those attending the weekly meetings are largely refugees from the Horn of Africa - Somalis, Eritreans, Ethiopians and Sudanese - and the initiatives they take involve creating contexts in which people of conflicting backgrounds work together on matters of common concern.

The weekly meetings are a place of dialogue, where diasporas from different, often divided, nations learn what are the factors in each other’s minds; where they learn how indigenous British minds work and where indigenous British learn to understand the pain of conflicts that have their origins in European colonial policies; where Christians and Muslims and people of other faith traditions learn how to serve each other as their traditions commend. And it is a place of healing too, as painful memories are shared, apologies are made, and hope begins to be born again, even when the news seems to bring nothing but despair.

nda for Reconciliation Thursday meetings in Greencoat Place
nda for Reconciliation Thursday meetings in Greencoat Place
One of the main themes of recent months has been the hope that Somalis have glimpsed for their homeland after over 20 years of destruction and famine, as a new government has been formed with widespread support. They have created a charity as a vehicle for their work, Somali Initiative for Dialogue and Democracy (SIDD), and from concentrating on uniting the Somali community in diaspora, the focus has switched to the reconstruction of their homeland, and the reconciliation of their compatriots at home.

At the same time the Eritrean community has been passing through some of their darkest times, as their compatriots in Eritrea suffer an extraordinary tyranny, far from the eyes of the world’s media. The aspiration of Eritrean colleagues is to steadily create occasions for leaders of diaspora organisations to meet, to prepare for the day when there is a change of regime and a united political leadership will be needed to put the country on a new course.

Another initiative of a different character that has been nurtured under the AfR umbrella during the last five years is the ‘Learning to be a Peacemaker’ programme for young European Muslims at the IofC international conference centre in Switzerland.