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