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30 September, 2011

By Willemijn Lambert

Connecting old and new friends (Photo: Willemijn  Lambert)
Connecting old and new friends (Photo: Willemijn Lambert)
After three years as an emerging network in the UK, for Creators of Peace the International Day of Peace (21 September) provided an excellent opportunity to gather at Greencoat Place in London. The afternoon of 24 September was an occasion to reconnect with old friends from within the Creators of Peace network. At the same time the afternoon provided an opportunity to invite friends and acquaintances to discover the ideas and process of Creators of Peace. The atmosphere reflected the underlying principles of a Peace Circle: getting to know each other and building trust;
Bring-and-share lunch (Photo: Willemijn  Lambert)
Bring-and-share lunch (Photo: Willemijn Lambert)
acquiring peacebuilding skills and finding a next step in one’s life. Charlotte Sawyer shared: 'What struck me was the friendships and closeness of the peace circle members and how, during the afternoon, we were able to delve into those levels of sharing and intimacy.'

The afternoon started at noon with time to connect with old and new friends over a bring-and-share lunch. Presentations on the work of Creators of Peace followed. To give everyone a taste of Creators of Peace activities, several workshops were run. In the art workshop a collage was collectively made on the topic of ‘what creates and what destroys peace’. This provided the opportunity to combine both thinking and creativity in one activity. Karen Ridley, facilitator of the workshop, summed up by commenting that an hour before, they had just a piece of cardboard. Now it had a

Collage workshop (Photo: Willemijn  Lambert)
Collage workshop (Photo: Willemijn Lambert)
story, because they transformed it together. Meanwhile, in the cosy atmosphere of the sitting room, participants shared with each other and to the group what peace means for them and what makes them smile. In the quiet room, participants could reflect on what gives them inner peace. Lastly, a workshop on the role of forgiveness started with a conversation on what forgiveness meant. Participants were then asked to think about their own examples of forgiveness. To conclude the workshop they all wrote a letter to someone they thought of, to start the process of forgiveness.
Finding inner peace (Photo: Willemijn  Lambert)
Finding inner peace (Photo: Willemijn Lambert)
Nicola Pennington shared: 'Whilst discussing our views on forgiveness I was given some very useful advice on how to approach a situation in my own life and, since coming back, I have acted upon the advice given. I felt a weight had been lifted from just discussing what was on my mind with someone willing to listen, and has definitely given me direction.'

After the workshops we all met up again for a cup of tea and cake. As the conclusion of the event, participants wrote down their next steps following from the new insights gained during the afternoon. Everyone left grateful, inspired and energized. In the words of Dang Thi Hai: 'It was a real experience of women’s heart power, talents and some vision that together we shall conquer Peace. Peace between nations and within nations, between diverse communities and in families.'

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