Su Riddell
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30 November, 2012

Want to get something done? Ask a busy woman, they say. Over a late November weekend, five busy London women attended a training session. We spent the time exploring the role of facilitator of the Creators of Peace Circle. This involves creating the atmosphere required, being aware of participants’ needs, and deepening our personal response to the material. Our ‘trainees’ enjoyed learning and practicing together, with the ‘trainers’ Kate Monkhouse, Karen Ridley and Su Riddell – none of us experts, but ‘practioners’ learning as we go.

Participants bring their own experience and skills to the training. One learning point for us this weekend was around the language we use: we discussed whether talking about the factors which ‘destroy’ peace could be too extreme for those who have escaped violence? What misunderstandings might arise if we unthinkingly introduce the concept of ‘inner listening’? Our manual talks about the ‘moral and spiritual prerequisites for effective social action’ – would everyone of any culture or background understand those words? We all face the challenge of communicating effectively with anyone, and especially of rooting our words in our own lives and experience.

Interactive board ‘What are the ingredients of equality of diversity?’(Photo: Su Riddell)
Interactive board ‘What are the ingredients of equality of diversity?’(Photo: Su Riddell)
A key part of the Creators of Peace circle is taking time for reflection. Our trainees enjoyed the opportunity of being given time for this. One said she still feels on a journey to understanding peace. Another said she was encouraged to go on building inner listening into her life, which brings a time of peace and discernment.

Our training on facilitation skills incorporates the art of caring for people, discovering their needs, and accepting the person behind the needs. This deepening of the Peace Circle methodology is useful to women beyond the Peace Circle. One said she would like to use our approach to facilitation skills in social circles or voluntary work in the future.
All our group said they would be keen to help initiate new Peace Circles in the future. Which is quite a statement, when you hear how busy their lives already are.

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