Activities: Focal Areas

   
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The annual Agenda for Reconciliation conferences in Caux have drawn people from over sixty countries in recent years. Many come from situations of tension, others from areas of open conflict, and still others struggling to rebuild after con-flict. AfR conferences are open to all to learn from one another.

In March 2006 the international Network of Initiatives of Change (IofC) has adopted the byline BUILDING TRUST ACROSS THE WOLD'S DIVIDES. By doing so the development of Agenda for Reconciliation (AfR) activities were much more seen as integral part of the whole movement.  Thus the responsibility for what used to be the seperate AfR programme are now in some cases with the International Association of Initiatives of Change or in others with one of its national members.

Please check the news pages of this site for where the activities are, or go to the Initiatives of Change global website.

   

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Papua-New Guinea and Pacific region
There continues to be positive progress in the Bougainville peace process in Papua New Guinea. In some measure this can be attributed to the input of AfR/MRA.
MRA has been involved in Papua New Guinea over the past six decades. More recently this has been demonstrated through over forty workshops that have taken place at the village level. These workshops have incorporated the principles of making enemies into friends, living in right relationships within families and communities, as well as grassroots development programmes.
MRA's commitment and involvement in working towards lasting peace through reconciliation extends beyond Papua New Guinea, to include the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Australasia.

Cambodia
An MRA group exists in Cambodia composed of people involved in the defense of human rights, advancement of democracy, civic development, humanitarian assistance, administration, and politics. They work together and by attending the Caux conferences have been able to meet "the world" and renew their commitment.
One of them, from the Center for Social Development, has been organizing a series of
forums in various cities between former Khmer Rouge military and ordinary citizens, with the aim of advancing the national reconciliation process. Another is from the Khmer Institute for Democracy. He has been invited to lecture in Rwanda by a Rwandan he met at Caux two years ago.
After thirty years of devastation and suffering, it may take a generation for the people of Cambodia to rebuild their lives, to attain peace, social justice and prosperity, and to restore the religious values of their society. AfR is accompanying them on that journey.

The Great Lakes region of Africa (Rwanda and neighboring countries)
The purpose of the AfR Rwanda initiative is to enhance the reconciliation process in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region. Some initial responsibility was taken by Rwandans who became interested in the AfR approach while undergoing training at the Canadian Institute for Conflict resolution in Ottawa. They, and others from Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern part of Congo (DRC), have participated in AfR conferences and training sessions in Tanzania, Uganda, Switzerland, and India. This has helped build team-work with others committed to reconciliation in the region and in the wider world community. In January 2001 in Kigali, a Creators of Peace conference, used the Franco-German example and the video For the Love of Tomorrowto focus on the role of women in peace-building. Once a month a group of genocide survivors brings food they have prepared to inmates(implicated in the genocide) in the prison hospital.
A working relationship has developed with Kigali Independent University where a week-long conflict resolution/reconciliation workshop was held in April 2001, marking the anniversary of the 1994 genocide.
Contacts made in Caux led to the visit to Rwanda of a senior Cambodian human rights activist. In a further initiative, an African Great Lakes Round Table at Caux in August 2001, brings together people from different - if not opposed - political currents, who are eager to contribute to a settlement of the conflicts in their region.

Middle East
People from all parts of the Middle East, including Israelis and Palestinians, have attended AfR related con-ferences at Caux for several years where some have given joint workshops and taken part in interreligious discussion groups.
In April 1999, ten people of resource from seven countries participated in a week's visit, first to Gaza where they took part in a two-day symposium hosted by a distinguished group of Gazan leaders, followed by further meetings in Israel and the West Bank. Since then several interfaith-team visits to these areas have continued to support local initiatives.
In Lebanon, a sizeable MRA group has worked for many years to build bridges between the different religious communities. Caux conferences, including the AfR sessions, have often proved helpful for mixed religious groups from Lebanon, leading sometimes to significant reconciliations within the delegation, thereby paving the way for fresh constructive initiatives at home.
Friends in Malta have recently begun hosting dialogues for people in the Mediterranean region. These dialogues contribute to building understanding and personal friendships based on trust amongst people from a number of countries in the Middle East.

The Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan)
The work in this region has for many years concentrated on: supporting local initiatives, facilitating honest dialogue, working wit h the diaspora communities, and developing the concepts of reconciliation and forgiveness as a basis for sustainable peace.
In May 2000, AfR arranged the visit by four peacemakers from the Horn of Africa to six countries in Europe to meet with ministers, parliamentarians, NGOs and other groups involved in the region. The visit not only enabled the group to outline current trust-building intiatives, but was an opportunity to offer their insights into the prevailing political and conflict situations. It was also an opportunity for them to highlight key areas they felt needed to be addressed and to voice their convictions for the future of the region. AfR is now establishing a regional working group, made up of individuals from different sides, committed to peace. This group will be the nucleus to determine future strategies and outreach.
A meeting in Stockholm in 1994 between the diaspora and mainland Somalis from opposing factions led to the creation of a group that has been working at the forefront of the reconciliation initiatives in Somalia. AfR has con-tinued to work with people on all sides in Somalia, those who are part of the recently created Transitional National Government, as we ll as others who are part of the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC). Leaders from both groups have participated in AfR sessions in Caux.
For there to be sustained peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea the atmosphere has to be transformed from one of support for the recent war into one demonstrating a real desire for peace. Radio is often the only means of communication in the area to reach troops and citizens alike. AfR has worked to put peace messages on both the international stations of Deutsche Welle, the BBC, and Radio France International and locally. Over a dozen interviews and speeches of participants at the AfR conference in Caux in 2000 have been broadcast on Ethiopia's independent radio station, Radio Fana. TV broadcasts have also been made both in Europe and the region.

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19-Feb-2008