ISSUE 282                                                        JULY-AUGUST 2018
A word from the International Secretariat...
We've just had two weeks of staff meetings in Brussels this month aimed at navigating the way forward for our international network. We're coming off a few months of high profile work: a gathering and consultation in Chiapas, Mexico of many of our Latin American member organisations; a training on active nonviolence for 32 young people as part of an exciting new project we've begun in the Great Lakes region of Africa; our Annual General Meeting in Arras, France; the continuing efforts of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative , our Young Peace Journalists project , and more. We undertake this work because, despite evidence sometimes to the contrary, we believe that "peace is possible".

As the staff of the International Secretariat was looking forward, we also were reflecting on all that has been accomplished. We recently published our annual report for 2017 and we hope you'll take the time to leaf through it online and take in the full breadth and depth of how we're working to spread the message of active nonviolence all around the world.

This newsletter provides you quick links to highlights of our common work, a sample of all that our members are doing for peace, justice and reconciliation while promoting the power of nonviolence in our world. And you can always find the latest happenings from our network on our website .
Never has it been more important to promote peace and nonviolence in our world, and we hope that if you are in a position to do so, you'll support this work with a financial contribution. You can click on the "Donate" button on the left to give quickly and securely. We thank you for your generosity and for all that you do as part of the global network that makes up Pax Christi International.
Pax Christi International organises meeting of Latin American members to discuss extractives, resistance
(Issued 7 /6/18) - San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico - From 23 to 26 May, Pax Christi International organised a meeting in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, in order to share experiences about nonviolent resistance strategies regarding the extractives industry and transnational megaprojects. The aim was also to analyse the context leading to conflicts in the region, as well as at the global level, and to look at methodologies of active nonviolence and advocacy as a means to influence decision-making institutions for the common good.

The meeting, hosted by Educación Ambiental Moxviquil and co-organised by FRAYBA - Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas and SIPAZ - Servicio Internacional para la Paz, counted more than 60 people from many organisations and communities in the six countries (Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru) participating in the project, “América Latina, entre Violencias y Esperanzas”. ..

Pax Christi launches project to empower new generations in Africa

Pax Christi International launched a new programme in the Great Lakes region in Africa called, ‘Empowering new generations on active nonviolence and entrepreneurship'. The purpose of the programme is to educate young people on the culture of peace and active nonviolence and includes assisting disadvantaged youth in creating small businesses. This project is taking place simultaneously in 3 countries (Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo) and is being implemented by 16 organisations in Kinshasa, Kananga, Kisangani, Goma, Bukavu, Butembo, Uvira, Butare and Bujumbura.

The project was launched with two "Trainings for Trainers" educating 32 men and women in the principles of active nonviolence. ..

New book draws on 2016 Rome conference on nonviolence

Choosing Peace: The Catholic Church returns to Gospel nonviolence , edited by Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International, is now available from Orbis Books.

In recent years the Catholic Church’s approach to issues of war and peace has refocused on the tradition of nonviolence and peacebuilding in place of the traditional framework of Just War teaching. Among the milestones was an historic conference hosted at the Vatican in 2016, which gathered 80 peacemakers from around the world. Drawn from the conference and presented here are contributions by many of the participants, advancing the conversation about the practice of nonviolence in a violent world. ..

#IAmPaxChristi: Martha Okumu, Peace Tree Network, Kenya
In this latest installment of the #IamPaxChristi interview, we’re profiling Martha Okumu (second from left, standing) of Peace Tree Network which is based in Nairobi, Kenya. This series aims to highlight short conversations with the women and men who make up our movement. The interview was conducted over email.

How did you become involved with peace and justice work? What led you to do this kind of work?

I got involved in peace and justice when a college friend introduced me to a peace organisation which employed me. It was an eye opener in the sense that I had previously not interacted with civil society and community based organisations. I worked there for a period of two years and gained experience in peacebuilding and conflict transformation, advocacy, mediation and dialogue. The organisation was mainly involved in conducting workshops, hosting peace forums and offering certificate training courses in partnership with one of the Catholic Universities in Kenya.

With time I realised that I did enjoy the work and getting to learn about the genesis of conflict and the existing resolution mechanisms that existed needed to utilise in addressing the conflict issues.  ...

Pax Christi International statement following Singapore summit in June

12 June 2018, Brussels – Pax Christi International welcomes today’s first step towards rapprochement between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. This summit will make history if it enables the two parties to come to the negotiating table and lays a foundation for peace. We hope that the Singapore summit can lead to new relations between the two countries. Dialogue, diplomacy and cooperation should replace hostile behaviour. Durable progress on denuclearisation and peace should also include South Korea, Japan and China.

Although the two leaders’  joint statement  declares their commitment to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and the world, Pax Christi International regrets the absence of more specific commitments towards that goal. Essential points are missing in the document that should be taken up if future talks are to actually lead towards disarmament and a durable peace ...

2017 Annual Report now online

2017 was a year of historic achievements, highlighted by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) of which Pax Christi International is an active member. The award was given in response to the incredible work our movement and the other partners of ICAN accomplished in the ratification of the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Pax Christi International’s influence was also evident in Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message, “Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace”, which served as a ringing endorsement at the highest level of
the church for the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative which we began in 2016...

New position paper calls the international community to support nonviolent policy options for sustainable peace
In his message for the World Day of Peace on 1 January 2017, Pope Francis called for a renewed culture of nonviolence to inform global politics today, saying military responses to conflicts only breed more violence. In his statements to the international community and in meetings with world leaders from around the world, he has been recalling this important and timely call.

Pax Christi International has a long-term commitment to active nonviolence as a way of life and as an effective political strategy. We are therefore releasing a position paper calling the international community to support nonviolent policy options for sustainable peace. It further builds on the Pope’s message, the work of our Catholic Nonviolence Initiative project, the panel discussions on nonviolence we have organised in the EU and UN context in 2017, and the work of our members and partners.

We ask the international community that, instead of spending huge amounts on wars and weapons harming people and the planet, they invest their resources in policies that promote nonviolent approaches that have proven to be effective in reducing violence and conflict. Concretely, we propose they take these 12 policy actions ...

From the Peace Stories Blog:

Olivier Lungwe Fataki, "The drama of a young Burundian refugee serving as a teacher in Mulongwe refugee camp"

This story is about Ndayishimiye Frédéric, a young Burundian refugee who lives nowadays in the Mulongwe camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. ... He is the only Burundian teacher at this school, serving as a link between Congolese and Burundian children who don’t have the same culture...

Age 25, Ndayishimiye Frédéric is the eldest son of a large family whose survival depended on him because their father died when he was very young. In January 2015, his family received regular night visits by gunmen who had managed to take away all the goats they bred at home.

These undesirable visits had taken a deadly turn during the socio-political unrest linked to the challenge of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s regime. Armed men, generally suspected to be young people serving the regime, were carrying out assassinations and kidnappings at night, targeting anyone who does not share the political ideology of the ruling party....

Olivier Whelan joins Pax Christi International for summer internship

Pax Christi International has just welcomed a new intern, Edouard Olivier Whelan, to the office of the International Secretariat in Brussels.

Whelan is originally from the state of Massachusetts in the USA, and has just recently finished high school. In recent years, he has worked on many service projects through his local Boy Scout troop, notably through his Eagle Scout project focused on the promotion of the local history of his area. He enjoys cataloging and photographing musical instruments of historical value throughout his home state.

Having grown up in a multicultural household and having developed an interest in world affairs, Whelan has a tremendous interest in non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“There is really no greater cause than that of world peace," Whelan stated. "Therefore it is truly an honor to be able to do my part, and to learn the part I can play in the fulfillment of that goal at Pax Christi International.". ..

No Boundaries Coalition from USA is 2018 Peace Award recipient
Brussels - Pax Christi International is pleased to announce that the No Boundaries Coalition, based in Baltimore, Maryland USA, is the recipient of the 2018 Pax Christi International Peace Award. The award will be presented at a ceremony later this year, date and location to be determined.

“It is an honor that the work [of No Boundaries] … is being recognised by the world as a continued beacon of hope in a city overwhelmed with adversity,” said No Boundaries’ chief executive officer Ray Kelly, who noted that both he personally and the goals of the coalition have been inspired by Catholic teachings and traditions.

The No Boundaries Coalition was formed as a non-profit organisation in 2010 after three years of block parties had connected several diverse West Baltimore neighborhoods and enhanced resident engagement...

Pax Christi International activities around the world...
Sr. Patricia Chappell, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, was invited to be a part of Georgetown University’s panel, “Overcoming Polarization Through Catholic Social Thought” . .. Pax Christi UK participated with CND at the “Together Against Trump” gathering in London on 13 July. ... The annual World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel is slated for 16-23 September this year. Pax Christi UK has created a handy card to use to remember to save the date, as well as resources from their campaign last year ... Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix d’Haiti released a report on violence in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince in a public letter to political officials ... Pax Christi International asked European Parliament members to support a new report on indigenous people’s rights in Latin America ... O ver 160 Catholic organisations from countries around the globe sent a statement to the U.S. Congress decrying U.S. President Trump’s decision to end U.S. participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran Deal, negotiated in 2015 during the Obama administration. ... Fr. Nandana Manatunga (pictured above right), director of member organisation Human Rights Office-Kandy in Sri Lanka, received the prestigious 2018 Gwangju Human Rights Award ... Pax Christi International was excited to hear that Msgr. Louis Sako of Iraq, the recipient of the Pax Christi International Peace Award in 2010, has been named one of the new Cardinals installed by Pope Francis on 29 June 2018 ...  Pax Christi International would like to extend our congratulations to Derechos Humanos y Medio Ambiente or DHUMA, a member of Pax Christi Peru, on being recognised with the International Human Rights Award Letelier-Moffit 2018 from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. DHUMA is also a member of the Pax Christi International Advocacy Working Group on Extractives in Latin America. ... Bishop Paride Taban, founder of member organisation Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron in South Sudan, partner of PAX, our member organisation in the Netherlands and former International Board member of Pax Christi International, received the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award for 'Freedom of Worship' in the Netherlands recently ... Pax Christi France issued a position statement on the situation in Israel/Palestine ... For more news articles about Pax Christi International activities around the world, visit our website by clicking here.

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This newsletter is also posted in French
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