Peter Riddell
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30 April, 2020

How to pass on IofC’s experience of helping individuals, communities and even nations rebuild broken relationships?  One response is a new online course entitled ‘Qualities and Strategies of Peacemakers’ (QSP-online).

Consisting of five short modules, the course is based on films of outstanding examples of peacemaking that have been captured by IofC film makers. In each module, the facilitator (thanks to Zoom) starts with a brief introduction to set the context of the film. Participants then watch the film (on YouTube or Vimeo). And (back to Zoom again) the participants analyse together the peacemakers’ actions, strategies and qualities.

The course starts with ‘The Man Who Built Peace - the Frank Buchman Story’, which is the framework for all that follows. The analysis focuses on the evolution of Buchman’s thinking and actions, from founding an orphanage in the early 1900s in Philadelphia, USA, to contributing to reconciliation in Europe after the Second World War.

The second module is based on the film ‘For the Love of Tomorrow’. It focuses on an episode referenced in the previous film in the aftermath of WW2, when a small team, trained by Buchman, worked together to enable an embittered French politician to become a significant catalyst for reconciliation with the Germans.

The context of the third module is religious conflict in northern Nigeria in the early 1990s. The film ‘The Imam and the Pastor’ shows how reconciliation between rival militia leaders led them to co-found a taskforce of imams and pastors to mediate in flashpoints across their country.

The fourth module, a sequel to the third, focusses on the mediation methodology that the imam and the pastor developed in their own country. ‘An African Answer’ shows how they applied it with conflicting ethnic groups in Kenya after the post-election violence in 2007-8.

The final module is focused on post-colonial reconciliation in South Africa. ‘Beyond Forgiving’ is the story of a white mother who seeks out the black guerrilla commander who ordered a shooting in which her daughter died, and how that encounter led to healing for many others.

Launched as an online course in April, participants were in countries as diverse as Iraq and Egypt, Uganda and South Africa, Spain and Finland. After the course, one of the participants wrote that they had learnt that, ‘Although we seem helpless, big changes start with small actions, and it starts by changing yourself first’.

The next course will be at 18.45 for 19.00 BST each evening next week 4-8 May. To register, email Peter Riddell.

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