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Thank You for a Great Night Off!

The room was full of old friends and some new, with lots of jabs at biases – racial, religious, sexual orientation, and the like. We had the opportunity to laugh at what society teaches us, and at how we cope with hatred in the world. The night gave us the opportunity to share a little more about Tanenbaum, to honor our oldest and dearest friend (and colleague) the Octogenarian Judy Banki, and to recognize our visiting Peacemaker, Reverend Jacky Manuputty from Indonesia.

We hope you’ll enjoy the gallery below from Tanenbaum Takes a Night Off! With Mike Rakosi Tanenbaum’s second annual comedy show at Comic Strip Live. Much like last year, Mike brought in some hilarious comedians, from our own backyard and Dylan Brody from LA, who lit up the stage with their wit.

From cursed tomato gardens to mockery of cultural and religious bias, Indidi, Sasha, DF and Dylan all put on a great show—and we thank them for their willingness to perform for Tanenbaum! Also, our special thanks to Mike Rakosi for hosting the evening and helping to plan the event.

Thanks to our sponsors, Dr.’s Georgette F. Bennett and Leonard S. Polonsky CBE, Stanton Public Relations and Marketing, and Michael Kessler and Marcia Riklis. And our partners, Whole Foods Market, dcc, and the Comic Strip Live. Without you, none of this would have been possible!

This is a night of fun, supporting a cause that is deadly serious. Make a note. And plan to join us next year! In the meantime, enjoy this album from the 2016 show!

Katie Candiotti
Development Associate

Bringing Peace Education to Zones of Armed Conflict

In late 2012 and early 2013, Tanenbaum used world-shrinking technology to work with our Peacemakers in Indonesia, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. With their help, we trained 55 local school teachers in multicultural education principles that encourage openness to differences. Tanenbaum created culturally adapted??, — and reusable — educational materials, while our Peacemakers Jacky Manuputty (Indonesia), Jamila Afghani (Afghanistan), and Imam Muhammed Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye (Nigeria), coordinated local educators.

Involved teachers and principals have clamored for more training.

We spoke with each of the Peacemakers about the long-term impact of these trainings.

Jamila described what happened in Kabul:

"One of the teachers that received the training is my son’s teacher. She is from a different ethnic group and, before the training, bullied my son and others from our ethnic group. Now, my son says the teacher is very different – kind and caring. Now he is enjoying learning; going to school. Before, he was crying when he had to go to school. But now he insists on going to school, even on days where there are security issues and it’s not safe to be out on the street. These days he cries when he can’t go to school.

"After the training with Tanenbaum, I received calls from three principals. They said the training, although outside of official program, was very good and had very much changed the teachers who participated. The principals saw that the training recipients are now spreading concepts of respect inside the school with other teachers and students. This has had a very good impact on the whole environment of the schools. One of the principals requested such a training for the rest of the teachers. It seems everyone has become interested to join such a training.

"And now, I plan to have trainings with the teachers of these three schools.

"If you do a little bit of sparkling in Afghanistan, everybody rushes towards that. After people heard about the training, I received many requests from many other schools and teachers. I was feeling bad that I only had one Tanenbaum training. It was like I brought a great sparkling and now there is big demand. Unfortunately, I cannot bring the training to everyone."

This wide-scale impact was not limited to the Afghani teachers.

In Nigeria, the principal of a government secondary school, Ms. Mairo Bello, thanked Muhammad Ashafa for bringing the training. She told him that now, she is working to set up a school-wide unit that will facilitate the concept of appreciating diversity throughout the school.

And in Indonesia, some of the training participants invited Jacky Manuputty and his team to replicate the training for everyone in their schools. Thus far, Jacky has conducted four more trainings, reaching another 50 Indonesian educators (evenly split between Muslim and Christian teachers). Meanwhile, more and more schools are calling – keeping Jacky busy.

We created the program to introduce Tanenbaum’s peace and multicultural education program to educators in three conflict zones where differences, including those based on religion and race, is a source of tension.

We have met and arguably exceeded our initial goal. But there is so much more to do.

Being resilient in the face of hell

On Sunday, I posted a blog entry that unofficially kicked off the Peacemakers in Action retreat. In that entry, I promised to update you as much as I could about the retreat happenings. Unsurprisingly, the agenda has been packed, but now I have time to share one of the stories I heard.

On Sunday, Bill Lowrey delivered a session on personal resiliency. Why is personal resiliency important for peace activists? Bill's experiences answer that question quite completely.

Bill has been involved in tribal peace work in southern Sudan for over 20 years. In those years, Bill and his family sometimes lived in Sudan – and sometimes in the United States. In both locations, his and his family's lives were at risk. While in Sudan, his wife and daughter narrowly escaped an aerial bombing. And Bill was subject to consistent death threats and plots against his life. All of that doesn't even account for the times when Bill was working with militia leaders to change their attitudes towards the conflict. In those instances, he was often in the middle of battle zones.

Even when he returned to the United States, individuals loyal to his enemies in Sudan sent him death threats here, stating that they were perfectly capable of killing him and his family at home in Virginia. These threats were intended to make sure Bill knew that he and his family were at risk anywhere.

Fortunately, Bill and his family were not physically harmed, but the emotional and psychological toll of this stress was substantial.

In his training to the other Peacemakers in attendance, Bill delivered a strategy for managing the stress and weight that comes with working for peace in the midst of the world's most devastating conflicts. The training participants were comforted to know that they are not alone in their experiences and were invigorated to learn about ways to help overcome the personally negative impacts of combating violence.

 

Mike Ward
Communications Manager

 

 

Your eyes & ears for an inspirational week with Peacemakers

Dear reader,

This week is Tanenbaum's 2013 Peacemakers in Action retreat.

Last night our Peacemakers began arriving to Stony Point Center, a multifaith space just a short, scenic drive north of Tanenbaum's New York office. The setting is brilliant. There's a Japanese meditation garden just outside our door, green spaces scattered throughout the grounds, and beautifully wooded areas beyond the green spaces.

I must confess; when I found out I would work the retreat this week, I was unusually excited. My masters is in conflict resolution and I love learning about different cultures. The men and women who traveled here from around the world have collective perspectives and experiences that I know I will never find elsewhere.

Last night, one of the Peacemakers who works in Pakistan told a story that made me stop and say, “I had no idea.” Did you know that many conservative Muslims in Pakistan choose to send their children to Christian schools? I didn't and I wanted to know more.

I asked if he could give me an example of Muslims sending their children to Christian schools. His first response was, “It's just general knowledge. It happens all the time.”

I said, “It's new to me – and I'd guess to many in the West.” Then, after thinking for a moment, he relayed this story to me.

He began, “I know an imam who is Wahabi, an ultraconservative branch of Islam.”

“Is he conservative for a Wahabi, or is he progressive for his tradition?” I asked.

“Oh, he is very conservative, even for a Wahabi,” was the response. “I know him well. I even lived in his home for a number of months over the past 8 years. He has one daughter. In the 8 years I have known him and the months I lived in his home, I never once met his daughter or wife. Quite conservative.”

“I'd say,” I offered.

The Peacemaker continued, “He has two sons. Both of them go to a Christian school because of the good education. As a matter of fact, his daughter goes to a Christian school too.”

And to show that this sense of respect springs from more than an interest in quality education, the Peacemaker shared that, all over the country, seminary and madrassa students volunteer and assist at each other's houses of worship. There is an ingrained respect between Muslims and Christians in a country that is (unfairly) known for only conflict. That's not to say that there isn't extremism or conflict in Pakistan, but a groundwork for constructive interreligious relations does exist. It just needs to be recognized, supported, and spread.

And so I witnessed first hand that by bringing these Peacemakers together this week – from Pakistan, Nigeria, Honduras, Indonesia, Syria, Bosnia, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Africa, Colombia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel – Tanenbaum is building the bridges that make us all safe from conflict.

I promise you that this week will be inspirational. And I promise to share as much of that inspiration as I can. Check back here, on Tanenbaum's blog, for updates. Or follow us on Twitter. I'll pull some of the best quotes of the week and post them there.

Until next time…
 

Mike Ward
Communications Manager

Students Have Once in a Lifetime Experience with Peacemaker

Once upon a time, Chencho Alas, one of our Peacemakers in Action, was relatively unknown.  He promoted education and land reform in El Salvador, challenging those in power.  For his efforts, he was kidnapped and beaten.

As a Tanenbaum Peacemaker, Chencho’s story and case study is a part of our Peacemakers in Action book.  That book was picked up by a professor at Emmanuel College, Pamela Couture, and used as a basis for a religious peacebuilding course.

We connected Pamela to Chencho (and other Peacemakers) and now Emmanuel College has a course that travels to El Salvador.  The most recent session of that course just concluded and Pamela has a great blog post about the trip.

An excerpt of what one student shared in the blog post:

With no words to span the experience, the silence was complete unto itself. We then walked back to our beach house, home to us for five days now.

And the new leaf of life had just turned over…

And another:

Somehow the chapel was peaceful, women arranging freshly cut flowers in the lazy sun of the afternoon. No screaming or gunshots, no sign of what had transpired other than some words over the altar. Nothing seemed wrong, and yet in that chapel the history of a country changed.

This is the type of outcome we envision when we select our Peacemakers.  To Pamela, thanks for putting together this incredible course and thank you to Chencho and all of the Peacemakers for being the change we need in the world.

World Peace Wednesdays: Peacemakers in South Africa

The African National Congress fought injustice in South Africa for over 100 years. Last month, Tanenbaum sent members of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular, a much younger, but similar organization fighting injustice in one of the world's most violent nations, Honduras, to South Africa. There, the Hondurans worked with and learned from the ANC and other key South African organizations.

The outcomes were stunning – and are ongoing. The Tanenbaum-sponsored intervention was the first interaction between the FNRP and ANC, and is designed to substantially bolster prospects for a participatory democracy in Honduras. For more info on the intervention in South Africa, check out this article

World Peace Wednesdays: Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge

Roll your mouse over the image and click on the links to learn more about Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, one of Tanenbaum's Peacemakers in Action.

Taking South Africa’s Peace Movement to Honduras

What do South Africa and Honduras have in common? Quite a lot if you ask Tanenbaum Peacemakers in Action Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a former parliamentarian in South Africa, and José “Chencho” Alas, a lifelong El Salvadorian peacebuilder. The Peacemakers realized the similarities between their countries in 2011, when Chencho invited Nozizwe to Central America to work with a group of peace activists seeking to restore justice and democracy in Honduras. There, Nozizwe led trainings and shared about South Africa’s experience with reconciliation and democratic transition after Apartheid.

After seeing that the challenges facing Hondurans resemble those during the Apartheid years, Nozizwe invited Chencho to Cape Town to garner support from the African National Congress (ANC). As you read this, Chencho and Nozizwe are meeting with high-level government officials, learning about South Africa’s transition and gaining technical support for the peace movement in Honduras. Since former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was deposed in 2009, peace, justice and participatory democracy in Honduras have disintegrated. Similar to the ANC’s struggle against the repressive Apartheid government, the Honduran peace movement faces a series of formidable challenges. This Peacemakers in Action Network intervention will bring much needed support for all Hondurans working to restore peace and democracy in their country. We look forward to hearing more about their incredible work in South Africa and Honduras and will be sure to let you know when we do.   
 

Fighting for Female Leadership: Peacemakers Media Update

Below, find some updates from Peacemakers in Action around the world,

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, South Africa

Noticing a reluctance to integrate women into the highest levels of leadership in the ANC by the ANC’s women’s league (ANCWL), Nozizwe recently wrote a fiery opinion piece for the magazine Amandla. Her article emphasizes the need for increased, female leadership in South Africa and a greater commitment to feminism as a means of resolving inequality in South African society overall.
http://www.amandla.org.za/amandla-magazine/127-amandla-issue-28/1622-its-time-for-women-to-lead-south-africa–by-nozizwe-madlala-routledge

Archbishop Abuna Elias Chacour, Israel/Palestine

Over the Christmas season, Archbishop Chacour received a visit from Israeli President Shimon Peres. President Peres visited Chacour’s official residence and sang traditional Christian carols with a choir comprised of local children.
http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/12/21/with-chanukah-over-israel-turns-to-christmas-celebrations/
 
A video of a lecture given by Chacour at the University of Portland is now available online in two parts. He describes his experiences growing up as well as his view on the situation in Israel and Palestine.
Part One: http://archive.org/details/scm-172098-archbishopeliaschacour-myearl
Part Two: http://archive.org/details/scm-187994-archbishopeliaschacour-ourpli

Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye, Nigeria

Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye are now offering counseling, conflict transformation workshops, and mediation trainings in Libya to help promote reconciliation and dialogue there.
http://thelibyainitiative.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:module-by-imam-muhammad-ashafa-and-pastor-james-wuye-&catid=3:conflict-transformation-training&Itemid=53

Rev. Canon Andrew White, Iraq

Canon Andrew White was recently interviewed on Marcus and Joni, a Texas-based talk show. The interview covers Andrew’s work and extraordinary experiences that have marked his time in Iraq.
http://www.daystar.com/ondemand/marcus-and-joni-pat-schatzline-and-andrew-white-01-08-2013/
 
Andrew was also featured as the keynote speaker for the Veritas Forum at Hope College this January.
http://whtc.com/news/articles/2013/jan/11/anglican-pastor-in-baghdad-speaks-at-hope-forum/

Ricardo Esquivia, Colombia

Ekklesia, a think-tank that investigates the application of faith and religious values in the public sphere, wrote an article about Ricardo’s Programme of Ecumenical Accompaniment in Colombia (PEAC).
http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17294

Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan

Sakena was interviewed on American National Public Radio (NPR) about the gains made in Afghanistan in relation to women's rights, but also their fragility and their dependence upon the stability of the government and its security forces. She emphasizes the responsibility of Afghanistan's youth to remain within the country and work for its future. She also briefly describes the risks she experiences in her line of work.
http://www.npr.org/2012/12/02/166336692/rights-for-afghan-women-improving-but-fragile
 
Sakena also opened this year’s Global Washington conference. Global Washington (GlobalWA) emphasizes innovation in global development.
http://globalwa.org/2012/12/the-power-of-education-sakena-yacoobis-hopes-for-the-women-of-afghanistan/
 
Sakena’s keynote for GlobalWA can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMu5T4MdrQY&feature=youtube_gdata
 
Finally, Isobel Coleman from the Council on Foreign Relations identified Sakena as one of the “remarkable women of 2012.”
http://blogs.cfr.org/coleman/2012/12/20/remarkable-women-of-2012/

Classrooms for Peace in Countries with Violence

What do Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Nigeria have in common? Tanenbaum! 

This winter, Tanenbaum trained more than 45 teachers from these countries about inclusive education. We know that teachers who are trained to create an environment of inclusive education can sow the seeds of sustainable peace. That’s why our Peacemakers, who have asked for our assistance in the past, welcomed the opportunity to share what we’ve learned with the teachers who reach their nations' children.

Tanenbaum’s Education team designed and created the trainings based on Tanenbaum’s The Seven Principles for Inclusive Education. Then Tanenbaum’s Conflict Resolution team produced the training presentations and translated selected materials into Hausa, Indonesian and Dari.

Mark Fowler, Tanenbaum’s managing director of programs, and the Conflict Resolution team worked closely with Peacemakers in Action in Afghanistan, Indonesia and Nigeria to select participants, coordinate and facilitate the trainings and conduct a follow-up discussion.

Technological constraints, however, almost prevented the trainings from taking place. Tanenbaum staff planned to conduct the training via Skype broadcast to groups of 15 teachers in each country.  

Skype, a live video connection service, however, is not reliable in Afghanistan, Indonesia and Nigeria because of poor internet connections, frequent disruptions in service and the limited availability of technological resources. Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers on the ground provided the Conflict Resolution team with their technological constraints.

We learned that our Peacemakers could project PowerPoint presentations with ease. So, Tanenbaum created PowerPoint training videos with audio narrations then sent hard copies of the trainings, on branded DVDs, overseas.

Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers’Jamila Afghani (Afghanistan), Jacky Manuputty (Indonesia) and Pastor James and Imam Ashafa (Nigeria) – and the teachers’ response to the training were very enthusiastic. In fact, they are currently planning to use the materials as resources to train additional teachers in their respective countries.

The teachers who enrolled in the training are looking forward to sharing their new knowledge with their students and, ultimately, encouraging their students to become tomorrow’s peace activists.

Bruce Crise         
Peacemakers in Action Network Coordinator

Funding for these trainings was provided by the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation.