After a week packed full of seminars, media events, and meetings with political, religious, and traditional leaders, the Peacemakers In Action Network Delegation to Nigeria wrapped up its activities on December 11. Yehezkel, Friar Ivo, and Azi have returned home, travel-weary but invigorated by their experience. Pastor James and Imam Ashafa remain in Nigeria, and are using the Delegation’s work as a springboard to promote peace and interreligious understanding during the upcoming elections and beyond.
A full report detailing the activities and findings of the Peacemakers Delegation to Nigeria is in production, but in the meantime, here are some points of interest (you can also check out photographs
in Azi's album):
As this delegation has demonstrated, the Peacemakers in Action are able to open doors for each other through collaboration. The presence of international Peacemakers representing the three Abrahamic traditions lent weight to the work that Ashafa and James are pursuing. This created opportunities for Pastor James and Imam Ashafa to access new and influential contacts in the Nigerian government, diplomatic community, and media. Going forward, the Pastor and the Imam, along with their colleagues at the Interfaith Mediation Centre, will be able to work through these relationships to realize their goal of maintaining peace during the presidential and parliamentary elections early in 2011, and in fostering religious pluralism and respect in Nigeria.
Additionally, in the course of sharing lessons from their work, Yehezkel, Ivo, and Azi (seen above, between meetings) all found fresh opportunities for future collaboration. These connections may bring any one of them back to Nigeria in the future, or bring a local Nigerian contact overseas to work in a different context along-side one of the Peacemakers.
The Delegation presented the Peacemakers in Action Statement of Solidarity with The Nigerian People in various cities around Nigeria. The document was well-received by the public, and has attracted new partnerships with embassies for translation into local languages and distribution. The embassies plan to circulate the statement and ask citizens to sign it. In this way, the Statement of Solidarity will live on as a tool in discouraging violence related to upcoming elections and promoting unity and peace in Nigeria.
We plan to produce more materials related to the work done in Nigeria, so please keep checking our blog if this is of interest to you. Or better yet, subscribe to our blog feed!