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Spring/Summer 2009


Lessons from

Northern Ireland


Do We Make a Difference? Alumni of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding are working throughout the world, as the map on pages 2 and 3 shows. Some are immersed in the most intractable and difficult conflicts on this earth. They, like all of us, wonder whether their efforts will make a difference in the long-term. Within these pages they will see signs of hope and a partial answer to that question. We are grateful to call them colleagues in peacebuilding. In Northern Ireland many factors contributed to fighters laying down their arms after 30 years of virtual civil war, but one factor was the role of EMU-linked peacebuilders. MA graduates like Joe Campbell and SPI participants like Sandra Peake worked tirelessly for years with others until peace came to the country.

Lynn Roth

In reading about the several dozen EMU-linked people who played significant roles in Northern Ireland, others may realize that indeed a small group of people can make a difference. They may also find lessons that they can adapt to their own situations. As we take a look back, it is important to recognize the support that came to CJP that resulted in the development of our program. The CJP faculty and staff would like to dedicate this issue of Peacebuilder to James and Marian Payne (EMU class of 1958). This pair of retired educators stepped forward in 1993 to provide seed money for the founding of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU. Their visionary support from day one – which continues to this day – enabled CJP to open its doors and almost immediately become the source of some of the inspiring stories contained in this magazine.

Lynn Roth Executive Director

Spring/Summer 2009 Sowing Seeds of JustPeace Worldwide


PEACEBUILDER is published by the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at Eastern Mennonite University, with the collaboration of the Development Office: Kirk L. Shisler, vice president for advancement; Phil Helmuth, executive director of development; Phoebe Kilby, CJP associate director of development. Loren E. Swartzendruber President Lee F. Snyder Interim Provost Lynn Roth CJP Executive Director Jacqueline J. Beuthin David R. Brubaker Janice M. Jenner Barry Hart Sue Williams CJP Leadership Team Members


Sowing Seeds of Peace 2008 Work Locations for CJP Alumni . ............... 2

Brief History of Northern Ireland Tracing the Roots of “The Troubles”................... 4

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Ending 30 Years of Mayhem How EMU-Linked People Made a Difference....... 6


Masters or graduate certificate in Conflict Transformation: 268 alumni in 51 countries U.S. states (27) and Canadian provinces (4) where CJP alums live & work

Peace After Prison

Academic and non-degree training at EMU SPI - Summer Peacebuilding Institute: 2200 alumni in 119 countries STAR - Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience: 991 alumni in 64 countries The Practice Institute and major off-campus work: various projects in over 60 Countries

Peacebuilding institutes modeled on EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute: 7 institutes in 6 cou

SPI ’96 Alumnus Shares His Wisdom................ 14

Bonnie Price Lofton Editor/Writer Jon Styer Designer/Photographer For more information or address changes, contact: Center for Justice and Peacebuilding Eastern Mennonite University 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg, VA 22802 (540) 432-4000 Contents ©2009 Eastern Mennonite University. Requests for permission to reprint are welcomed and may be addressed to Bonnie Price Lofton at Cover photo Joe Campbell. Story on page 6. Photo by David Cordner. Printed on recycled paper.


Joe Campbell Now in Nepal Irish Experience Helpful in New Context........... 18


Twenty-One Lessons What Northern Ireland Teaches Us................... 21

Afghani Couple Chooses CJP Above All Others


Donors Can Help Our Work............................... 24

The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) is rooted in the Mennonite peace tradition of Christianity. CJP prepares and supports individuals and institutions of diverse religious and philosophical backgrounds in the creation of a just and peaceful world. CJP is based at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and offers a masters-level degree and certificate, as well as non-degree training through its Summer Peacebuilding Institute and its Practice and Training Institute. The latter also offers expert consultancy. Donations to CJP are tax-deductible and support the program, the university that houses it, scholarships for peace and justice students, and other essentials. Visit for more information.

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Sowing Seeds of Peace




peacebuilder spring/summer 2009


Masters or graduate certificate in Conflict Transformation: 296 alumni in 51 countries U.S. states (33) and Canadian provinces (4) where CJP alums live and work Academic and non-degree training at EMU SPI - Summer Peacebuilding Institute: 2,200 alumni in 119 countries STAR - Seminars on Trauma Awareness and Resilience: 991 alumni in 64 countries The Practice and Training Institute and major off-campus work: various projects in more than 60 countries Peacebuilding institutes modeled on EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute: 7 institutes in 6 countries peacebuilder ■3


A Brief History of “The Troubles” From “Restorative Justice and Peace in Northern Ireland,” an address by Brendan McAllister (SPI ’96 & ’98) at the European Forum for Restorative Justice in Barcelona, June 15, 2006. (Reprinted as originally written.) Since I should not assume that everyone here is informed about the nature of the conflict in Northern Ireland, I will give you a quick history lesson. Centuries ago Ireland came under the control of England. As part of that process, large numbers of English and Scottish people were encouraged to settle in the north of Ireland. While most of the native Irish were Catholic, most of the settlers were Protestant. At the start of the twentieth century there was a sustained campaign to break the link with Britain. However, in the north there was a campaign to maintain the link or union with Great Britain. On both sides of this argument, significant numbers were prepared to use violence in support of their cause. In 1920 the British settled the matter by dividing Ireland – granting independence to most of it and keeping the northern part within the United Kingdom. However, around 40% of northerners were Irish nationalists – people who wanted independence from Britain. Therefore, from its creation in 1920, Northern Ireland was a state whose citizens differed over their national allegiance. Consequently, for several decades, the leaders of the Protestant, unionist majority, discriminated against the Catholic, nationalist minority. The laws and institutions of the State reflected this discrimination. By the 1960s, frustrations within the Catholic, nationalist community found expression in a campaign for civil rights. The state responded with brutal force. Within the Catholic community, there were people who began a new campaign of violence to end British rule and end the partition of Ireland. These people are known as republicans. Within the Protestant community, there were people who took up the gun to defend the link with Britain. These people are known as loyalists. While the majority of Catholics (nationalists) and Protestants (unionists) did not support the use of violence, the terrorist campaign fought by republicans and loyalists and the State’s campaign of counter-terrorism by the use of the British army and the police, meant that the Northern Ireland conflict became defined by widespread violence. 3,500 were killed. Thousands more were injured. Thousands were traumatised by violence. Thousands were sent to prison. However by the 1990s there was recognition that violence would


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not deliver a solution to the conflict and that any effort to find a political answer would only succeed if republican and loyalist paramilitaries were given a voice at the negotiating table. In Ireland, over the last 15 years or so, we have been living through a period known as ‘the Peace Process’. This period has seen the establishment of political negotiations, ceasefires by the main republican and loyalist paramilitary organisations and fundamental reform of aspects of our system of governance in order to command the respect and allegiance of all our citizens. …[P]rogress has been so profound that it is possible now to speak of the end of ‘the Troubles’ – a 30-year period when our conflict was expressed in violence and a generation grew up in the shadow of the gun and the bomb.

THE British Isles


NortheRn Ireland BELFAST




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Brendan McAllister, who attended EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute in 1996 and 1998, was founding director of Mediation Northern Ireland. The national government recently named him to be one of four Victims Commissioners, a high-profile position.

Photo by David Cordner

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Ending 30 Years of Mayhem Lessons from Northern Ireland To all who watch CNN, BBC, AlJazeera, or some other news outlet and feel hopeless at the end of many broadcasts, read on. To those peace workers around the world in the often-dangerous role of advocating non-violent conflict transformation…. often among groups of people certain that their fight is worth trauma and death… who sometimes view people working for peace as simply another enemy to be dispensed with… read on. To funders of peacebuilding who wonder if results will be seen in their lifetimes, read on. This is a success story in the making. It is the miracle for which people prayed and worked for 30 years. This is the story of Northern Ireland. Well, it’s part of the story. In these pages, we are focusing on the role of people linked to Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and the broader Mennonite community in transforming violent conflict in Northern Ireland. The Mennonites often worked in tandem with kindred


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spirits such as the Society of Friends (Quakers). This is not to minimize the peacemaking roles of other key actors, from top-level politicians and paramilitary leaders to victims of violence. Here, however, we wish to explore the way “Mennonites and Quakers punched above their weight in Northern Ireland,” to quote Joe Campbell, an Irish-Presbyterian who worked closely with people of faith (and of no faith) in nurturing peace in his country. Fans of boxing will know what Campbell means: to punch above one’s weight means successfully fighting an opponent much larger than oneself. (Not the usual pacifist metaphor, ha!) Here we wish to show how a relatively small number of people can indeed make a huge difference. Not by making a huge splash. But through setting in motion a series of small changes, which can ripple into larger waves of transformation. Our story does not describe a perfect miracle. “The line between good and bad does not separate us, but runs through each of us,” says

Campbell. We cannot create perfect societies. We can only work for better ones, starting with our own ways of being and doing. Naturally, then, much remains to be done in Northern Ireland. Much trauma to be healed, many conflicts to be transformed, much anger and hatred to be rechanneled, many inequities and injustices to be addressed. But much has been done. If we look at the despair that many in Northern Ireland felt from the 1970s to the 1990s… ….when it was neighborhood against neighborhood, one type of Christian against another type, police against those they vowed to protect and vice versa ….at the cost of 3,500 lives over three decades in a population of just 1.7 million -- which would be like 500,000 Americans dying in the United States... Then we must celebrate how far Northern Ireland has come in an amazingly short time, with buds of peace emerging from a handful of seeds sprinkled in a strategic manner.

NortheRn Ireland

Scenes such as this in 2001 -- where a girl is heading to school through riot lines -- are increasingly rare in Northern Ireland.

Photo courtesy of Hugh Russell, Irish News

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Northern Ireland’s police used to feel the need to be as armed as soldiers in battle, as in this scene at Drumcree in 2000.

Mennonites Find Supportive Role

1 Lynn Roth is now executive director of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU.

American approach of flying “experts” into conflict-ridden regions for short stints, Kraybill advocated long-term day-to-day presence in conflict regions in support of local people. In 1980, unrelated to the new MCC conciliation service, newlyweds Linda and Joe Liechty happened to land in Dublin, Ireland, 104 miles south of the violence of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Linda and Joe were recent graduates of Goshen, a Mennonite college in Indiana. Full of idealism, they set out to be part of what would now be called a Christian “intentional community” in Dublin. The couple hoped to do “something big for Jesus,” Joe Liechty recalls somewhat wryly. The intentional community didn’t last, but the Liechtys did. They lived and worked among the Irish until 2003, serving a useful “outsider” role of offering fresh perspectives, encouragement, and bridge-building among native Irish groups. Liechty received support from both MCC and Mennonite Board of Missions for his work in Ireland. In 1987, he completed a doctoral degree in Irish history, focusing on religious roots of conflict.3 “For me and for Mennonite work in Ireland, by far the most important of my new relationships was with Joe Campbell,

2 Ron Kraybill now works as a consultant and publisher. His website is

3 Joe Liechty now chairs the department of peace, justice and conflict studies at Goshen College.

When war-level violence was peaking in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mennonites based in North America were still sorting out whether their faith communities should be content with being “non-resistant” and “quiet” (i.e. not participating in violence anywhere) or with actively intervening in violent situations. One of the first tentative steps toward intervening was launching Mennonite Conciliation Service in 1977. At that time Lynn Roth1 was a leader in Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), an international relief organization. Roth spoke in favor of establishing a conciliation service under MCC, explaining that it could address “social disasters,” just as Mennonite Disaster Service addressed the aftermath of natural disasters. Ron Kraybill, then a Harvard divinity student (later a founder of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding), was hired to get the conciliation service rolling.2 Instead of the more typical North


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PhotoS courtesy of Hugh Russell, Irish News

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“Biblically based and practical, the workshop energized me and made me hungry for more.” an evangelical Presbyterian elder then working for the Belfast YMCA,” Liechty says. Campbell is equally complimentary of Liechty, calling him “a supporter, confidant, and advisor.” In general, “meeting Mennonites was for me an oasis in the dry and barren desert,” adds Campbell. He was intrigued that Mennonites “took Jesus’ call to be peacemakers as a serious call for today,” with justice and peace issues integral to their faith. Campbell ran programs serving several hundred in the 16 to 25 age range. These teenagers and young adults largely came from impoverished neighborhoods in north and west Belfast. Outside the walls of the YMCA, many were linked to warring Catholic or Protestant paramilitary organizations. “The pathway of school failure, unemployment, social deprivation, and political violence was a well-worn one in Northern Ireland,” says Campbell. Soon after Campbell and Liechty became acquainted, Liechty returned briefly to the United States where he contacted Ron Kraybill. Liechty had been in Bible study group with Kraybill at Goshen College. “Would you be willing to lead some mediation training seminars in Ireland, if I find Irish organizations interested in hosting you?” Liechty asked. “Definitely,” said Kraybill. In 1985, Kraybill made his first trip to Ireland, leading two seminars in Northern Ireland as well as two in Dublin. One of these was at the Belfast YMCA among Campbell’s team of youth workers. “In hindsight, the impact of Ron’s seminars went beyond what we could have dreamed at the time,” says Campbell. “Biblically based and practical, the workshop energized me and made me hungry for more.” Kraybill also ran a session at Corrymeela, now world-famous as a reconciliation and retreat center in Northern Ireland. Kraybill left the nucleus of a “peace library” at Corrymeela, consisting of MCC-recommended reading materials. Some think that Kraybill’s introduction-to-mediation sessions were the first held in Northern Ireland. If not, they were among the first. In 1986, some who had taken Kraybill’s seminars formed the Northern Ireland Conflict and Mediation Association. They welcomed the arrival of Barry Hart (now a professor at CJP) to continue and deepen Kraybill’s initiatives. Sponsored by Mennonite Board of Missions, Hart spent four months in 1987 running multi-day courses in support of peace and reconciliation workers.4 About the time Hart arrived, Campbell left his homeland. “I was close to a breakdown after 11 years of tough, front-line, cross4 Responding to invitations, Hart returned to Northern Ireland to consult and teach courses in 1988, 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2003.

Police at Apprentice Boys March, where violence has often erupted.

community youth work in Belfast,” Campbell explains. With funding from Mennonite organizations, friends and their own savings, Campbell, his wife Janet, and their three children were able to find respite and spiritual nourishment in a 10-month sabbatical at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Indiana. “I had received scant understanding or support from my [Presbyterian] evangelical community for justice and peace work,” recalls Campbell. He spent much of 1987-88 exploring the theological basis for the Mennonite emphasis on justice and peace. Campbell stresses, however, that “at no time did we feel our own Presbyterian tradition devalued. Nor was there any pressure to become a Mennonite or to start a Mennonite church back home.” That year Campbell also met Howard Zehr,5 one of the initiators of the global restorative justice movement, who taught him victim-offender mediation. Campbell returned to Northern Ireland as an energized Presbyterian, eager to spread mediation and restorative justice concepts in his native land.

Impact of the Violence

For Peacebuilder readers unfamiliar with Northern Ireland, the Fitzduff family story offers a glimpse into the pervasive violence in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. Mari Fitzduff is a descendant of 17th century Catholics chased from what is now known as Northern Ireland to the southern part of the island, now known as the Republic of Ireland. In the mid-1970s Fitzduff enrolled in University College Dublin. There Mari met Niall, whose family belonged to the Protestant “settler 5 Howard Zehr is now professor of restorative justice at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, which he formerly co-directed.

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group” that pushed her ancestors out of the north centuries earlier. Over the years Protestants had established themselves as a majority group in the North, but were a minority on the island as a whole. In any case, Mari and Niall married and started raising a family in the late 1970s on land that belonged to Niall’s family in Northern Ireland. “We set up a furniture and woodturning business so that we would have the flexibility to rear our children together,” Mari recalls. But the war found the young family. “My husband’s family business was blown up, and the post office was robbed so often by the paramilitaries it had to close down.” Even for those who refused to take sides, there was no safety:

Women demonstrate for peace in 1986.

We had incredible choices to make, such as: How to deal with bombs that were being set off by the IRA from the family garden so as to blow up soldiers; coping with buses that regularly were set on fire outside our houses; how to keep our children out of the line of fire between the British [soldiers] and IRA? One morning in the early ‘80s, I looked up from changing nappies to see that the IRA were practicing out in the back field. I noticed that the British army were coming with their guns at the ready, through our house to try and arrest and capture them. And then it struck me…that there has got to be a different way than this. So many of our lives – mostly young lives – on all sides were being lost. Within a few square miles of our house, over 30 Catholics, Protestants, and British security forces had lost, or were to lose, their lives in this war. In 1987, Fitzduff, Sue Williams and a half-dozen others founded the Northern Ireland Conflict & Mediation Association, predecessor to today’s Mediation Northern Ireland.6

Campbell Tills Peace Soil

Funeral of IRA member Joe O’Connor in October 2000.

At the October 1989 funeral of the victim of an IRA attack.


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Campbell arranged for Howard Zehr to make his first trip to Northern Ireland in late 1987. Zehr met with people linked to the judicial system and offered them restorative alternatives. Zehr suggested restorative justice would yield better outcomes than retribution. He also met with some former paramilitary men, helping them to envision replacing vigilante-style violence with restorative justice. International leaders in restorative justice – such as Zehr, John Baithwaite of Australia and Harry Mika – repeatedly facilitated trainings in Northern Ireland during the late 1980s and 1990s. Zehr came four times. Mika, who has taught at SPI, played a major role in getting paramilitary groups to move away 6 Fitzduff went on to initiate mediation and conflict resolution courses at the two universities in Northern Ireland and to write Community Conflict Skills, a book widely used in Northern Ireland after its appearance in 1988. The Community Relations Council, which Fitzduff founded and directed from 1990 to 1997, developed and funded many of the conflict resolution initiatives in Northern Ireland. From 1997 to 2003, she was the director of UNU/INCORE, a conflict-resolution research center sponsored by the United Nations University and the University of Ulster. Sue Williams, currently director of CJP’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute, also worked at this center from 1998 to 2000. In the coming year, Fitzduff will be visiting CJP as a new member of its Board of Reference.

PhotoS courtesy of Hugh Russell, Irish News

NortheRn Ireland from “summary justice” for youthful offenders. By the late 1990s Joe Campbell and others trained by Ron Kraybill and Barry Hart were running three-day training courses in mediation for community workers, probation and police officers, church people, school personnel, and others. Four community leaders in Northern Ireland – Jim Auld (who took a restorative justice class at SPI ’98), Brian Gormally, Kieran McEvoy and Michael Ritchie – issued a “discussion document” in late 1997 entitled “Designing a System of Restorative Community Justice in Northern Ireland.” They urged that their fellow citizens learn to view criminal behavior as a breakdown in relationships, which needed to be repaired. They called for emphasis on offenders’ taking responsibility, on repairing the harms done, on care for victims, rather than harsh punishments that contribute to a cycle of violence. The authors did not appear to envision quick acceptance of their ideas – “the authors accept that the proposals suggested in this report may be controversial” – but they expressed hope for dialogue on the subject. Nigel Grimshaw – a 32-year-old who had been in the police force of Northern Ireland since age 18 – came to the 1998 Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) to take two courses, both co-taught by Howard Zehr: “Restorative Justice & Victim-Offender Conferencing” and “Learning From Indigenous Justice: Sentencing Circles and Family Group Conferencing.” Grimshaw had met Zehr earlier that year at a seminar he led in Belfast. Grimshaw had been a skeptic of restorative justice at the outset, but became impressed enough to want to learn more. “The big thing I have taken out of restorative justice is respect for the relationship,” said Grimshaw in a February 2009 interview, more than a decade after his first restorative justice course. “You build a relationship with individuals, not with communities, and not with organizations. You work to sustain your individual relationships through good times and bad times, and you hope these relationships spread.” With the patience of a true-believer in restorative justice, Grimshaw has seen men who spewed hatred at him, who wouldn’t shake hands with him, who wouldn’t look him in the eye – all because he was a police officer – eventually come around to meeting him for coffee just to chat. No matter that this took years of persistent efforts to dialogue. No matter that he had to listen to endless, often unfair, criticisms. “All the thinking behind restorative justice, it impacts and influences everything I do day-to-day on this job,” says Grimshaw. “I view it as my business – as the business of all of us in the police service – to build relationships with the people we serve. It is messy, it takes time, and there are setbacks. If it was easy, everybody would be doing peacebuilding, wouldn’t they?” At the headquarters of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie shares Grimshaw’s interest in a truly “restorative” Judith Gillespie

“The big thing I have taken out of restorative justice is respect for the relationship.” form of justice that has nothing to do with vigilante-style punishments sometimes called “restorative justice” in Northern Ireland. “Knee-capping of young offenders (i.e. shooting them in the legs) and horrendous beatings by paramilitary groups have been called restorative justice in this country, but these acts have no place in a civilized society,” says Grimshaw. “We are in our infancy in this, but I see us moving toward a truly restorative approach centered on the needs of the victim. This process takes time, patience and leadership by all involved.” Gillespie and five other officers are third from the top of the 7,500-strong Police Service of Northern Ireland. She is the highest-ranked female police officer in the history of Northern Ireland. In the late 1990s, Gillespie was among a group of Northern Irish police officers and community leaders who exchanged visits with police departments and community groups in New York City (’97 and ’01), Atlanta (’99), San Diego (’00), Washington D.C. (’01) and Boston (’03). Known as Policing Our Divided Society (PODS), the exchanges were organized and led by Brendan McAllister and Joe Campbell, the founding leaders of Mediation Northern Ireland.7 McAllister and Campbell ensured diversity of gender and religion among those selected for PODS. The two men sometimes added a stop for themselves to take courses at one or more SPI sessions.8 In each city, the PODS group participated in seminars and workshops designed to encourage reflection on the ethos of the Northern Ireland police service and its relationship to the community it serves. The group also studied how to promote constructive change within their organizations, as well as in larger society. Finally, the group was given ample time to relax and get to know each other in neutral settings. “It was a chance for us to see them (i.e. those from communities that disliked the police) as human beings and for them to see us as human beings too,” says Gillespie, who was on two of the trips. At each stop, the American and Irish participants sat shoulder-to-shoulder in seminars on topics of common interest, such as the role of restorative justice in reducing crime. Later, the Americans paid exchange visits to Northern Ireland. 7 Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, an EMU alumnus who co-directs the MCC Office on Justice and Peacebuilding, traveled to Northern Ireland in 1997 to work with Brendan McAllister on developing the grant proposal that secured funding from the U.S. government for this exchange. 8 In 2002 Joe Campbell was awarded a masters degree in conflict transformation from EMU after completing a succession of Summer Peacebuilding Institutes.

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British Army soldiers on the streets of Belfast in 2001

Interestingly, however, what sticks most in Gillespie’s mind are remarks made almost off-hand. One woman in New York suggested that citizens’ groups can provide “not just the eyes and ears for policing, but also the muscle and brain.” That remark prompted Gillespie to shift from thinking of policing “done to a community” to a service “done with a community.” Most of the teachers tapped for the PODS seminars were, or are, linked to EMU: current CJP professors Howard Zehr and David Brubaker, former CJP professor Ron Kraybill, and adjunct CJP teacher Kay Pranis. The professors followed up with trips to Northern Ireland to expand the seminars into the officers’ home workplaces and communities in 1999 and 2000. Collectively, these teachers sought to help the police build relationships with those who distrusted them and to make the reforms necessary for social well-being. On one level – i.e., among the top political leaders in Northern Ireland – the 1998 Belfast Agreement marked a turning point in the 30-year-old “troubles,” with most combatant groups agreeing to hold their fire and to engage in the political process. Over the next two years, the Agreement-mandated “Patten Commission” developed 175 recommendations to improve police-community relations. On deeper level, however, these Patten Commission reforms 12

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required input and buy-in from the grassroots. This is where the Mennonite-influenced police trainings, initiated and coordinated by McAllister and Campbell, proved to be far-sighted. Gillespie and the other officers in the first series of trainings liked them so much, they encouraged their colleagues to seize opportunities to learn more about community policing and non-violent change processes. Attitudes among the thousands of officers in the department began to shift, even before the Patten Commission officially presented its recommendations.

Good Groundwork for Rapid Change

It is no accident, then, that in 2002, just five years after the four community leaders wrote “Designing a System of Restorative Community Justice,” Northern Ireland became one of two countries in the world to start down the road toward integrating restorative justice into community policing efforts, especially for juvenile offenders.9 It is also no accident that by 2008 almost all of the 175 Patten recommendations had been peacefully implemented, including a 9 The other country incorporating restorative justice into the handling of juvenile offenders is New Zealand. During a late 1990s visit to Northern Ireland, Howard Zehr recalls suggesting that officials there take a look at the New Zealand model.

Photo courtesy of Hugh Russell, Irish News

NortheRn Ireland sensitive process of decreasing the size of the police force while increasing the percentage of Catholic officers. Today over 25 percent of the force is Catholic. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has progressed to a relatively neutral public-service role – that is, citizens feel free to call about a theft, car accident, or domesticabuse case. As a sign of its evolving role, the service has no trouble finding young men and women from both religious traditions wishing to serve in its ranks. Today Nigel Grimshaw occupies a key spot in the Police Service of Northern Ireland – he is second in command in North and West Belfast. This is the district that has seen the deadliest, largest and longest conflicts in his country. Some might feel discouraged walking in Grimshaw’s shoes. After all, he and his officers are tasked with policing neighborhoods still bisected by 22 huge walls separating Catholics and Protestant enclaves. Here schools remain segregated and paramilitary squads still sometimes brutalize youthful social deviants to keep them in line. Here unemployment remains high and prospects for a better future low. Yet Grimshaw is optimistic, understanding that change tends to occur non-linearly and that patience, persistence and positive attitudes do yield results … eventually. Besides, he knows the alternatives – anger and cynicism – feed a downward spiral. The new Police Service of Northern Ireland was sorely tested in September 2005, when rioting broke out after officers tried to re-route an annual Protestant parade away from a Catholic neighborhood in Belfast. In the past, this particular parade has given rise to much fear and some violence. During two nights of mayhem, 50 police officers were hurt. Visiting members of a U.S. police department later asked Grimshaw why the Northern Irish police had restricted themselves to using non-lethal methods of crowd control, such as water hoses. Faced with injury-inflicting rioters, “we would have used live ammunition,” the American officers told their Irish counterparts. “We would have shot without a second thought.” Grimshaw understood his visitors’ urge to maintain order and to protect fellow officers, but he explained: “We showed restraint because of tomorrow. Tomorrow or the next day the violence will subside. When that day comes, my officers and I will need to get up and go back to these communities, go into the schools, visit shops, attend sports events, and build our relationships again. “Somewhere along the line, we have to pick up the pieces and move forward,” he continued. “We cannot indulge in the luxury of pointing our finger at people and saying, ‘You hurt our feelings, you were very violent towards us, we aren’t going to play with you anymore.’ We have learned to take the long view, to focus on the future we are building.” The wisdom embodied by Northern Ireland’s police has caused foreign political and civic leaders to seek their advice. Official delegations have come from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and many other countries. In 2008, Grimshaw and 13 other Irish officers took a “best-practices study trip” to Boston, Miami and Providence, Rhode Island. Unlike the visits with U.S. police in the late 1990s, this time Grimshaw felt the Americans were eager to understand the amazing transformation of the Northern Irish police force. Grimshaw offered them this key word: “relationships.” Built bit

“Somewhere along the line, we have to pick up the pieces and move forward”

by bit, over time. Not being surprised by disappointments and setbacks. Persisting. “Relationships” is a word that Campbell traces from last century’s tightly knit, farm-rooted Mennonite communities, through the 1960s- and 70s-era Mennonites who wanted to do something to address social violence, to EMU’s teachers of conflict transformation who almost-always start with… relationship-building.

Mediation Group Becomes Key Player

In the late 1980s, Joe Campbell formed a working relationship and eventually a deep friendship with a dynamic Catholic political activist, Brendan McAllister. As well-known men from different sides of the religious divide, they were uniquely qualified to set Mediation Northern Ireland into motion. McAllister was its first director in 1991. Campbell served without pay, becoming assistant director in 1995 after relinquishing his YMCA work. As one of its first acts, in 1992 Mediation Northern Ireland invited John Paul Lederach, founding director of CJP, to address a gathering of 100 or so peace activists in Belfast.10 Lederach’s speech electrified the gathering by affirming that John Paul Lederach they and their communities held the answers to their problems, not outsiders, who should mainly support the locals. Lederach also lent weight to local efforts by meeting with political leaders and government officials. In later visits arranged by Mediation Northern Ireland, Lederach held workshops in Ireland’s top-security prison for inmates who had committed crimes linked to their political aspirations. He thus demonstrated his belief that these men could play a positive role in healing their society. Lederach’s 1992 visit to Northern Ireland marked the first of what came to be a week-long sojourn in that country every year or so, enabling Lederach to maintain touch and offer support for 10 John Paul Lederach now holds the titles of Distinguished Scholar at EMU and Professor of International Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

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Peace After Prison Martin Snoddon served 16 years in the Maze Prison outside Belfast for his activities as a member of the Ulster Volunteer Forces before he was released under judicial supervision in 1990. “EMU was a resource for me as I wrestled with the legacy of violent conflict,” says Snoddon, who came with a Mediation Northern Ireland group to SPI ’96. Snoddon is now founder and director of Northern Spring ( based in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, from which he consults widely. He has worked in conflict zones throughout the world, including the Balkans, Central America, the Middle East and South Africa. What drove me to take up arms was a desire for peace. Violence was visited upon me in 1969 when I was 15 years old. I lived in a Nationalist area of West Belfast, part of a small Protestant community that came under attack on a daily basis. So-called freedom fighters were denying my family, my neighbors and my friends the right to live in peace. Between the ages of 16 and 19 I actively engaged in violence, and before I had turned 20 I was imprisoned for my actions – in particular, for an attack on a premises that was a base for an IRA unit. Two people lost their lives in that attack. One was my colleague and comrade, who died when a bomb prematurely exploded. The other was a woman, an innocent civilian, who was on the premises at the time. While I was incarcerated I had the opportunity to explore Irish history, and to ask why, despite my Christian upbringing, and despite my strong belief in a moral existence, I had contributed to the violence of our political conflict. My personal inner journey was long and torturous, but I grew to believe that violence was not going to resolve our political conflict, or repair our damaged and divided communities. While in prison I sat down with some of my enemies. I developed a very strong friendship with one particular Republican prisoner – a friendship that brought me a lot of hostility from my comrades. In 1990 I was released under license. Upon


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Martin Snoddon

release I found that this was not a society I wanted to reintegrate with. The polarization had only increased, and my moderate views were now as marginalized as my extremist views had been prior to my incarceration. Nevertheless, I still desired change in our society, and this time I resolved to do it through relationship building and conflict resolution. This is the path I’ve been walking ever since – sometimes with extreme difficulty. In 2002 I received two death threats – one from each side. The work I engage in antagonizes people. It would have been so much easier to have taken a job in industry and just become insignificant in our society. My past violent actions were very destructive, but now I’m fighting for peace in a far more constructive manner. The risks aren’t really much different but the rewards are much greater. People who use violence are not only likely to kill someone else, but also to kill part of themselves in the course of those violent actions. They lose part of their humanity. I deeply regret how my violent actions hurt innocent people. I have had to seek forgiveness within myself and to reconcile my past and my present. That in itself has put me in a better place and empowered me to address the needs of others with regard to the legacy of the violent conflict. Excerpted and reprinted by permission from

Photo courtesy of The Forgiveness Project

NortheRn Ireland

Denise Hughes (front right) of Northern Ireland enjoys the company of peacebuilders from three other countries -- Karina Echazu of Argentina (back left), Ionka Hristozova of Ukraine (middle), and Nancy Tafoya and Brenda Waugh of the United States (back right and front left) -- on the last evening of SPI ’07.

the peace path. Lederach’s retirement-age parents, Naomi and John Lederach, joined the effort by serving as full-time volunteers from 1994 to 1997 at Mediation Northern Ireland. Bringing experience in Mennonite pastoring, teaching and marriage therapy, the elder Lederachs quietly became invaluable trainers and mentors at the center during a period of growing demand for its services. Campbell valued the low-key, respectful working style of the Lederachs and other Mennonites he met. They did not need or seek immediate results; they sought to be faithful to the biblical call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. “A lot of North Americans and South Africans came and gave us simplistic, quick answers – or they just threw up their hands – but the Mennonites didn’t do this,” says Campbell. “They accompanied us through the uncertainty and hopelessness of those years. Their main priority was developing and maintaining relationships across all lines.” Campbell and McAllister found their conflict transformation principles tested to the utmost in 1995 when they were asked to intervene in a potentially explosive standoff. About 10,000 Protestants wished to parade through a Catholic neighborhood at Drumcree. Using shuttle diplomacy for 16 hours, the two men helped the sides arrive at a negotiated settlement, avoiding violence at that time. As a result of this and other work of “bridging the divide,” Campbell was awarded the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in 1997. He received it with mixed feelings, hoping it would not cause him to be perceived as a British lackey.

Today Campbell does peace work in Nepal11 and McAllister is a high-level government official, but the 10 full-timers at Mediation Northern Ireland continue to wade into conflict. Staffer Denise Hughes notes that new issues in her country, such as living harmoniously with recent Polish, Slovakian and Roma immigrants – have been layered onto old issues of divided hospitals, sports events, travel routes, and schools. The current economic crisis is not making matters easier – if young people cannot get work or continue their education, joining a gang becomes more attractive. Hughes and her colleagues at Mediation Northern Ireland spend much of their time immersed in troubled communities, helping members discover “their own ways of dealing with conflict and working for everyone’s betterment.” Patience and persistence are essential. Dramatic breakthroughs? Very few. Hughes was ready for a boost when she came to SPI ’07 to take “MultiParty Problems: Negotiation, Conflict Resolution & Consensus Building.” She got what she needed. “You get in a rut,” Hughes says. At SPI, “you get the opportunity to think through who you are and what you are doing. It was quite inspirational to meet individuals doing extraordinary work around the world. I remember the ‘old wisdom’ from a Coptic priest from Egypt and the stories from a minister from Uganda. The people around the table – that was the priceless part of it.”

11 Since 2006, Joe Campbell has worked with the United Mission to Nepal as conflict transformation advisor (more information on page 18).

Photo by Matthew Styer

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Ten SPI students from Northern Ireland skipped classes on May 7, 1998, to visit the While House as guests of Hillary Clinton, who was interested in encouraging the peace process. From left: Sandra Peake, Jean Caldwell, Margaret Cameron, Betty Devlin, Janet McConnell, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, David Clements, Margaret McKinney, Hazel McCready, Moira Kerr, and Maria McShane.

Quaker-Style Diplomacy travel with us for long periods of time, even residing with us for While the Mennonites were “walking with Irish peacebuilders” in years,” said Fitzduff, who is now professor-director of the graduthe late 1980s and early 1990s, Quakers Sue and Steve Williams12 ate program in coexistence and conflict at Brandeis University in were shuttling between political figures on all sides in Northern Massachusetts. “They were not working for career gain.” Ireland, helping them to dialogue indirectly, out of the public In contrast, Fitzduff felt some other groups made things worse: spotlight, where posturing tended to occur. Under the auspices of “Despite the visits of hundreds of international academic and the Society of Friends, the Williams quietly worked at helping the conflict-related delegations, only a handful will be remembered as sides to understand each other better, in the hope that this might having contributed significantly to the goal of ending the conflict lead to peace initiatives. It did. Fitzduff notes that “forms of – indeed, some external interventions have been nothing short of shuttle and other mediation processes” often worked better than disastrous.” “up-front dialogues” in the culture of Northern Ireland. Fitzduff said the Mennonites and Quakers “were particularly To SPI They Come! valuable” in Northern Ireland.13 They offered a model to other Refreshed by his 1987-88 sabbatical at the Mennonite seminary in non-government organizations in how to support the work of the United States, Joe Campbell saw advantages in removing key local people, respecting them and learning from them. “Their players from Northern Ireland for a while and bringing them into [Mennonite and Quaker] values in relation to conflict resolution neutral spaces where they could relax and be open to hearing new have long been historically clear, and they were often prepared to ideas, as well as the “other side.” Beginning in 1995, Campbell and Brendan McAllister ushered a diverse array of people from Northern Ireland to the United 12 After the death of husband Steve in late 2006, Sue Williams moved to the United States, her home country, to succeed Pat Martin as director of States, where 56 persons over the next 13 years took classes at CJP’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute in the summer of 2008. She and EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI), while others did Steve co-authored (with Simon Fisher, Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, Jawed Ludin professional exchanges in cities around North America. The tours and Richard Smith) Working With Conflict: Skills and Strategies for Action, of several U.S. police departments described on page 11 were one published in 2000. The book has been translated into 14 languages. of these initiatives. 13 This comes from the 2002 Handbook of International Peacebuilding, At SPI ’96, McAllister took “Advanced Conciliation” taught by edited by John Paul Lederach and Janice Moomaw Jenner, current director Ron Kraybill and “Trauma Healing and Reconciliation” taught of the Practice and Training Institute at CJP. by Barry Hart. In 1998, McAllister returned and took “Restor16

peacebuilder spring/summer 2009

Photo by David Cordner

NortheRn Ireland Barry Hart and Nancy Good Sider, co-teachers of the trauma healing and reconciliation class at SPI ’98, recall Peake and the other WAVE people in their class very well indeed. The entire group missed class one day – reducing the class size by half – but returned the next, glowing with news of a visit to the White House, where they were greeted by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Clintons had been supporting peace talks in Northern Ireland, and Hillary had a particular interest in the work of WAVE. In SPI ’08, WAVE volunteer Mark Kelly was pleased to take ative Justice and Victim-Offender Conferencing” taught by “Using Media to Promote Peace.” The topic itself interested him, Howard Zehr and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz. This last course, given that WAVE would like to spread their stories without relyin particular, is pertinent to McAllister’s new job as Victim Coming entirely on the traditional media. Of even more interest to missioner in Northern Ireland.14 Kelly, however, were the stories told by classmates from conflict In 1996, when McAllister first came to EMU, SPI was in its zones, including Darfur, Rwanda and the Baltic region. infancy, operating under the name “Summer Peacebuilding “It made me less insular,” he said. “It made me realize that Institute” for the first time, though it was the third year peace peacebuilding is not an easy task, but nobody is alone. I heard workers from around the world had gathered at EMU. Mediation of so many atrocities that people had to overcome. It’s a pick me Northern Ireland ensured its home country was well represented, up. It can bolster you in your endeavors, making you want to reaccounting for 11 of the 130 SPI ’96 participants.15 double your efforts.” Kelly shared his own story. In the summer of 1977, Kelly was The Northern Ireland group was diverse, including Catholics managing a neighborhood center owned by a Catholic church, and Protestants who worked on housing issues, youth diversion where youths boxed and otherwise exercised. After work one day, projects, healing for trauma victims, and facilitating indirect Kelly was relaxing at a pub near his workplace, when a Protestantdialogue between opposing groups of fighters. There was even a planted bomb exploded beside him. He lost both legs. He was 18. former prison “lifer” – Martin Snoddon had served 16 years in Some 30 years later, Kelly learned that a WAVE center offered prison as a result of participating in a Protestant paramilitary attherapeutic massage to trauma survivors. After years of using tack that caused two deaths. (For more on Snoddon, see page 14.) prostheses, Kelly entered the center in the hope of easing the Ironically, the participants needed to meet on the neutral soil of never-ending pain in what remains of his legs. He kept comSPI to get to know each other. Most who attended SPI ’96 went ing back for various activities and now is a mainstay at WAVE, on to play key roles in Northern Ireland’s peace process. Some, including Snoddon, now travel the serving on its board of directors and anchoring its Wednesday world as consultants, responding evening men’s group. He’s also a single father of four, ages 18 to to requests from conflict zones. 26. “Three of them are involved with members of other commuAmong that 1996 group was nities,” he says, referring to non-Catholics. This suits Kelly fine: Sandra Peake, now executive “The fundamentals of all religions is love for your fellow men and director of WAVE Trauma Centre. women. I raised my children to follow their hearts.” (Peake returned for SPI ’98, as WAVE has sent more people to EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding McAllister did) WAVE was formed Institute – 32 over the last decade – than any other organization in 1991 to support women left beoutside of the United States. Peake recently checked a listing of reaved by the violence in Northern WAVE participants in EMU courses over the years and found: Ireland. WAVE has expanded from two Belfast widows, one Catholic It has been a real microcosm of Northern Ireland society – Sandra Peake and one Protestant, to support individuals bereaved/ injured by Loyalists, Republicans and “anyone bereaved or traumatized through the violence, irrespective security forces; individuals with family members in the secuof religious, cultural or political belief.” Given that at least 6,800 rity forces who were killed; people who served in the security people have lost a member of their immediate family to “The forces themselves; and families whose loved ones represent the Troubles” in Northern Ireland, WAVE has no shortage of referrals. disappeared – that is, those whose loved ones were abducted About 600 new cases come through the doors of WAVE’s five cenand their bodies secretly buried and as yet unlocated. Eight of ters each year despite the end of open warfare. the group were staff. All the rest were, or became, volunteers. The majority are still involved in the organization.

“The fundamentals of all religions is love for your fellow men and women.”

14 In 2008, Brendan McAllister became one of four people appointed to the new high-profile, government-backed Victims Commission in Northern Ireland. McAllister’s replacement as director of Mediation Northern Ireland, Peter O’Reilly, is an alumnus of three SPI sessions (1997, 1999, 2005). At the invitation of Mediation Northern Ireland, Mark Chupp, Goshen College alumnus and veteran SPI professor, followed up SPI ’96 by doing trainings in five of Northern Ireland’s most violent areas in 1997. 11 For more information on SPI, visit

Of WAVE’s 93 paid and volunteer staffers, about a third have received training here. For obvious reasons, they have almost always enrolled in one of the trauma-transformation courses taught by Good Sider and/or Hart. Yet, like all alumni of CJP’s programs, they have adapted and expanded upon what they learned in these sessions. As a result, “they bring experiences and practices peacebuilder ■ 17

Campbell, MA ’02 Shifts To Nepal’s Conflict A year ago, the BBC documentary series “Distant Horizons” explored why Joe Campbell left Northern Ireland in 2006 for an extended period instead of enjoying the relative calm and prosperity of his native country, conditions for which he had labored for many decades. “Joe Campbell could have put his feet up when he turned 60 and settled into a comfortable retirement in Northern Ireland,” said an article on the BBC News website. “Instead he and his wife Janet opted to take their work skills abroad for a four-year stint as volunteers in Nepal.” The Campbells are offering the kind of quiet support to Nepalese peacebuilders that Mennonites offered to them and their colleagues in Northern Ireland during “The Troubles.” “When I think about John Paul (Lederach), Ron (Kraybill) and the others, they are models for how to be outsiders in a conflict. As they demonstrated, I listen, I ask questions, and perhaps I tell a story from the Irish context,” says Campbell. “I try to bring the Nepalese a sense of hope when at times they can feel hopeless.” Joe and Janet work with the United Mission to Nepal, an umbrella organization of 30 international mission agencies. Joe has the title of “conflict transformation advisor.” Janet, a nurse, is in charge of pastoral care for the international staff. She also does trauma work with the dozen Nepalese staff. Starting with the staff at United Mission, Campbell hopes to inspire more Nepalese to “envision a career in peacebuilding for their country and to prepare for the long haul.” Campbell notes that the war in Nepal was shorter than in Northern Ireland – 10 years instead of 30 – but it was bloodier: “over 14,000 killed; even today there’s over 1,000 people missing – killed, buried, burned, or who knows?” Nepal entered a fragile ceasefire period in 2005, with elections for a Constituent Assembly held in the spring of 2008. But the brutality of the


peacebuilder spring/summer 2009

Joe Campbell

previous decade has left wounds and scars that remain extremely painful, with renewed violence hovering as a possibility. “We garnered a lot of experience in Ireland that we would like to share,” says Campbell. “We would like to prevent or shorten what we went through.” Like Northern Ireland, Nepal has no outright victor and no loser at this point. Campbell hopes “the hurts of war are not still too raw to prevent the Nepalese from working together in a coalition government.” Concerning the long term, Campbell is optimistic. “They can work together to make this work. Conflicts are started by people and they will be ended by people.“ While Campbell is a four-year visitor to Nepal, seven graduates of EMU’s MA in conflict transformation program work in Nepal on a permanent basis: Ameet Dhakal, Anjana Shakya, Debendra Manandhar, Hemlata Rai, Yasodha Shrestha, Kumar Anuraj Jha, and Monica Rijal.

Photo by David Cordner

NortheRn Ireland that enrich the class,” says Good Sider. “They are teachers too. We teach each other.”

Ireland-Based Training Programs

“We were very mindful of the value of the trauma programs at EMU -- the first formal trauma program that we had undertaken.”

In 2003 CJP professor Jayne Docherty and then-staffer Carolyn Yoder accepted invitations to lead workshops on trauma and peacebuilding at two conferences in Northern Ireland – one in Belfast (primarily Protestant) and one in Newcastle (mixed Protestant and Catholic). More than 200 people attended one or transformation and restorative discipline, aiming to change the asmore of the workshops led by Docherty and Yoder, who stressed sumption in North Belfast that “violence is the way you solve evthe link between unaddressed trauma and cyclical violence. ery problem.” By the time Stanton returned to the United States Docherty and Yoder used, in part, the training techniques of in 2004, the program was in a half-dozen North Belfast schools. Seminars in Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR), a relatively Responding to an invitation from “Partnership in Communew program at EMU directed by Yoder. STAR was developed to nity Transformation,” MCC’s Lorraine Stutzman Amstuz spent help New York City community and religious leaders deal with several days in 2005 giving workshops on restorative discipline the collective trauma of 9/11. Since 2003, five people from North- to personnel in Catholic, Protestant and integrated schools. That ern Ireland have traveled to take STAR at EMU. same year, Amstutz co-authored The Little Book of Restorative DisYet this barely begins to meet the need. Consider: 5,000 people cipline (with EMU psychology professor Judy H. Mullet), which suffering from trauma have contacted WAVE in the last 18 years. is making the rounds in Northern Ireland. What more can be done? One answer is to train STAR facilitators in Northern Ireland Much Done, But More To Do17 and elsewhere in the world, supplying them with the field-tested The ripple effect of a small group of people persisting over the manuals used in the EMU-based trainings.16 years becomes apparent if one considers the collective impact of Another answer comes from Sandra Peake at WAVE: Set up the: EMU-style trainings at home institutions. “We were very mindful  56 people from Northern Ireland, including 32 from WAVE, of the value of the trauma programs at EMU – the first formal or who have taken classes in EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding specialized trauma program that we had undertaken,” says Peake. Institute “However we realized when we returned home that not everyone  100 police officers and community leaders in Policing Our could access the EMU program, so we worked to develop a diDivided Society taught (in part) by EMU professors ploma in trauma studies, which we have run in partnership with  more than 2,000 in Northern Ireland who have attended Queen’s University.” Mennonite-led sessions on various topics, but most often Three of the four main creators of this program – Peake, Maura on trauma, restorative justice, conflict transformation, and Burns, and Margaret Riddels – took SPI courses with Hart and organizational change Good Sider. “The EMU trauma programs led us to take the core  3 Irish nationals who have earned masters degrees in principles and to apply them to the local situation and build upon conflict transformation at EMU, along with 4 U.S. alumni international work, with the result that a trauma learning pathway who spent extended periods in Northern Ireland engaged now exists for students here at home,” says Peake. As of 2008, in peace work18 Queens University in Belfast offers sequential possibilities for  1 Mennonite, Joe Liechty, who earned a doctorate in Irish students to earn a Certificate, Diploma or BSc in Trauma Studies. history by focusing on the religious roots of conflict, a Northern Ireland’s schools – which largely remain segregated by study enabled because Liechty had no affiliation to any side religion – have been the focus of numerous efforts to prepare the of the conflict next generation to live peacefully with each other. Peer mediation was tried as early as 1987, when Barry Hart was used as a consulIn “How Did Northern Ireland Move Toward Peace?” (2007), tant on its implementation. In the late 1990s, Reverend Lesley author-researchers Niall Fitzduff and Sue Williams referenced Carroll of Fortwilliam Park Presbyterian Church sought assistance dozens of interviews with key stakeholders to draw lessons from to reduce the culture of violence among schoolchildren in her the process. Fitzduff and Williams concluded that about 50 North Belfast district. Mennonite Board of Missions responded by sending volunteer worker Emily Stanton in January 2001, 17 A major source for the information in this article is From the Ground Up just after she completed her masters in conflict transformation at -- Mennonite Contributions to International Peacebuilding (Oxford, 2000), edited by Cynthia Sampson and John Paul Lederach. It contains chapters EMU. Stanton initiated a school-based pilot program on conflict 16 STAR has equipped more than 5,000 people from 62 countries to address conditions caused or influenced by traumatic events. STAR is offered both at EMU and offsite, including in foreign countries. There is a youth and an adult version of STAR. For more information, visit

pertaining to Northern Ireland by Joseph S. Miller, Ron Kraybill, John Paul Lederach, Joseph Liechty, Joseph Campbell, Sally Engle Merry, and Cynthia Sampson.

18 From Northern Ireland, Hedley Abernethy, MA ’06, and Joe Campell. MA ’02; from the Republic of Ireland, Matt Byrne, MA ’06; from the U.S., Rhoda Kraus, Grad Cert. ’07, Jennifer Larson Sawin, MA ’04, Libby Schrag, MA ’01, and Emily Stanton, MA ’00.

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Brendan McAllister and Joe Campbell -- peace veterans, long-time friends, and former colleagues -- reconnected on February 2, 2009, at a popular cafe in Belfast. Campbell was on home leave from his work in Nepal.

percent of the shift away from violence came as a result of work at the civil society level (where Mennonites generally situate themselves), with another 25 percent government-initiated. The remaining 25 percent was attributable to other influences, such as initiatives by the Clintons and widespread revulsion to terrorism of any kind after 9/11. “The Mennonite influence on the situation in Northern Ireland is clear, particularly in the areas of trauma and trauma healing, restorative justice, and work to rebuild relationships,” Williams told Peacebuilder. But she added that a convergence of factors – many having nothing to do with pacifist peace workers per se – led to the 1998 Belfast Agreement and subsequent reforms. “As policies became fairer and violence diminished, there were fewer people who suffered and wanted revenge,” she explained. “As relationships improved and leaders took difficult – sometimes bold – steps, people slowly began to believe that a solution might be possible. That gave them the strength to work out how to move from violence to peace in many areas of life.” Williams, who moved from England in 2008 to become direc20

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tor of EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute, says hopelessness is a major obstacle to peace. “It is vital to understand that true peacebuilding means dealing with a variety of problems and injustices in such a way that people do not fall into polarization and despair,” said Williams. She speaks from experience, having worked in Rwanda, Kenya, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Georgia, Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, and Myanmar, in addition to Northern Ireland. “People must be able to see that fairness can be achieved, and that their society can be a place where they and their children can flourish,” she said. The peacebuilders of Northern Ireland obviously cannot rest on their laurels. Much work remains to be done. Fortunately, however, Northern Ireland has something which it didn’t have in 1967. It’s what John Paul Lederach calls “critical yeast” – enough people like Jim Auld, Joe Campbell, Judith Gillespie, Nigel Grimshaw, Denise Hughes, Mark Kelly, Brendan McAllister, Sandra Peake, and Martin Snoddon – sprinkled through all echelons of society to cause the whole to “rise” from hatred and violence. 

Photo by David Cordner

NortheRn Ireland

Twenty-One Lessons from Northern Ireland By Bonnie Price Lofton

In researching and writing this package on Northern Ireland, I saw recurring themes, which I have summarized as 21 lessons.

1. Relatively few people can have a huge ripple effect in enabling

a society to solve its conflicts non-violently. In the early 1980s, Northern Ireland probably contained no more than 50 people wholly dedicated to peace work. Each person touched by those people in turn rallied others, resulting in tens of thousands by the early 2000s working at all levels of society to consolidate peace in Northern Ireland.

intergroup contacts away from one’s home setting.

4. Informal contacts

are key! Find ways to enhance

socializing – over food and drink, while sightseeing or fishing, sharing photos of one’s children, or even singing a song together. It almost doesn’t matter the nature of the joint activity, as long as the parties in conflict have a chance to get to know each other as humans. For Terry Shevlin, formerly in the Royal Ulster Constabulary – where being a Catholic policeman made him an assassination target – the highlight of a 1999 educational trip to Atlanta under “Policing Our Divided Society”

2. Raise awareness of

5. Recognize and

address people’s deepest needs, including

their fears, their sense of being besieged and treated unjustly, and of having less access to power and resources. Understand the impact of trauma on them. Unaddressed injustices and trauma fuel cyclical violence.

6. Small changes matter. For many years, the Belfast City Council, controlled by Unionists in Northern Ireland, displayed a banner on city hall that read, “Belfast Says No.” For Christmas 1994, the banner was changed to “Belfast Says Noel.” With a tiny change of wording, city residents were nudged toward a more positive attitude.

the humanness of “The Other” and of the

existence of alternatives to violence. Einstein is credited with saying, “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them.” Increasing empathy and awareness must be an early goal of peacebuilders.

7. All players are

3. Head to neutral soil,

if possible. In highly charged situations – where any contact with “The Other” might be viewed as betrayal by one’s own group – it can work nicely to arrange for quiet,

was when he and others in his highly diverse group from Northern Ireland responded to an invitation by a black Baptist preacher, a scarred veteran of the Civil Rights movement, to interlock arms and sing “We Shall Overcome”!

needed: courageous, visionary

SPI director Sue Williams

leaders who say “enough” and seek solutions; international assistance from the European Union, UN, United States and others; and civic society activities, such as religious

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groups working with political prisoners, academics revamping school curricula to remove fuel for the flames, and restorative justice practitioners working with the police force. Cumulatively, all contributed to positive change in Northern Ireland.

8. Quiet, unpublicized

“shuttle diplomacy” can be very useful.

By allowing opposing parties to hear each other’s stories and even to send subtle messages to each other, citizen-diplomats can play a useful role, assuming they absolutely guard the confidences of those they are shuttling between. In Northern Ireland, where face-to-face dialogue is not a cultural norm, this style of indirect mediation is frequently employed.

9. Be prepared to build

upon “iconic events,”

Former “enemies” -- Martin McGuinness at left, an IRA (Catholic) leader, and Ian Paisley, a DUP (Protestant) leader -- enter Stormont where the Parliament of Northern Ireland meets as they begin their power-sharing leadership roles.

such as the impact of a visiting international figure, such as Bill Clinton or Kofi Annan. Or it may even be a “peaceful” demonstration that ends in violence. Or a natural disaster. Or a well-known, wronged person who publicly chooses the path of reconciliation rather than revenge, such as Nelson Mandela. Whatever it is, the iconic event can mark the beginning of a sea-change in people’s perceptions, assuming the event is leveraged by others working for peace.

10. Funding makes a huge difference.

“People change” - Joe Campbell


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spring/summer 2009

Photo courtesy of Hugh Russell, Irish News

In Ireland, the governments of the north and south funded civil society and local political initiatives, as did the EU, U.K., U.S. and other governments. Funds contributed by Irish-Americans also factored in (sometimes for the worse, when weapon acquisitions were funded, but as the peace process unfolded, this funding tended to shift to community-building initiatives.)

11. Tap the energy and peace hopes of women. Women’s groups

tended to focus on the human side of the conflict in Northern Ireland, rather than on political issues, like the wording of the constitution and the definition of borders. Attracting women on all sides of the conflict to work for better health, education and employment, women’s groups played a huge role in moving Northern Ireland toward the Belfast Agreement.

12. Persevere! “There were no

quick fixes in Northern Ireland,” says Sue Williams.1 “There were a series of modest, but essential, initiatives which did not succeed in the first instance, but which allowed others to build upon them.”

13. Time can be an ally.

When the leaders of political parties and armed groups have been in leadership positions for 20, 30, even 40 years, dealing with a bottomless pit of conflict, they tend to become open to change. “They get tired. Society gets tired. It may be fatigue, exhaustion, aging, diminishing testosterone,” says Williams.

14. Duplication of efforts is okay. With Northern

Ireland’s prisons filled with men linked to paramilitary organizations in the 1990s, all kinds of wellintentioned organizations sent volunteers and staffers to work with the prisoners – Save the Children, the Quakers, Protestant and Catholic clergy, Workers’ Education Association, prisonersupport groups associated with the paramilitaries themselves, etc. “When one program failed, lost its funding or its credibility, or simply 1 Further information on the ideas attributed in this list to Sue Williams, director of EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute, can be found in a 54-page, 2007 report she co-authored with Niall Fitzduff, “How Did Northern Ireland Move Toward Peace?” at default.php

lost its way, there were others able to continue the work,” says Williams.

15. Underlying socio-

economic issues must be on the table. For example, if there

is high unemployment or discrimination regarding who gets the jobs, the impact of this must be acknowledged and steps put in place to address it, as occurred when the Fair Employment Commission and Tribunal was established in Northern Ireland in 1989.

16. Complete victory for a particular side is rarely possible.

Once the parties realize that, the door cracks open to a peace process.

17. Hard truths must be

part of the dialogue.

To move toward peace, differences have to be admitted, “hard truths” must be exchanged. Otherwise the parties are operating out of completely different perceptions of reality. With such exchanges, the parties will still disagree, but at least “The Other’s” reality will be acknowledged, a necessary starting point.

18. Listen and talk. Again. And again. And again.

The process is useful, even if repetitive. Some of the emotional “affect” is reduced in the talking and listening. It loosens people up psychologically. For people who feel marginalized, it reduces their sense of exclusion.

will usually be welcomed, but outsiders first should ask, “What kind of support do you need?” and provide that in a respectful, humble manner. Beginning in 1989, Mennonite agencies sending volunteers to Ireland put themselves under the scrutiny of a group of Protestants and Catholics from both North and South, called Support Body for Mennonite Witness in Ireland. In the spirit of serving rather than being in charge, the Mennonites consulted with this group before undertaking initiatives or accepting invitations.

20. Think far future.

Know that your work will make a difference far beyond any peace accord signed under TV lights. Those years of building up women’s organizations, of interacting with prisoners (who are about to be released into society), of introducing restorative practices in school systems… these will all be needed to enable the paper agreement to stick, for lasting changes to seep through society.

21. Give away your

peacebuilding knowledge and techniques.

Celebrate when other organizations take hold of your best ideas and practices, perhaps even setting up similar peacebuilding programs. This is a sign that you are doing God’s work, not your own. As the president of EMU, Loren Swartzendruber, has expressed it: “The more of us in the peace business, the better.”2 

19. If from outside the

conflict, stay out of the driver’s seat.

The people “on the ground,” the locals, know more and understand more about their own conflict than outsiders. Support from outsiders for the efforts of local peace workers

2 Asked to review this list before publication, Joe Campbell wrote that he found it “good and helpful,” but wished to add two observations: (1) “People change -- that’s why we are in education, why there are churches, etc.” and (2) “Conflicts are started by people and they will be ended by people.”

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“I prefer the ‘power of love’ over the ‘love of power.’ I want to contribute to a sustainable peace in Afghanistan.”


peacebuilder spring/summer 2009

Ramin Nouroozi and Farishta Sakhi arrived at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding not long after marriage, intending to travel together on the homeward path to peace.

Newlyweds Prepare for Peace Work in Afghanistan While Nilofar Sakhi was pursuing her MA in conflict transformation at EMU from 2005 to 2007, her younger sister Farishta was home in Afghanistan making plans of her own to go to graduate school. Farishta had replaced Nilofar working in a social organization, WASSA, in western Afghanistan. Farishta was willing to go almost anywhere to school, except to the United States. She understood why her sister had come, given that she had secured a full ride to a U.S. university under the Fulbright program. But Farishta did not like the way the U.S. government had conducted itself in Afghanistan, disregarding the advice and wisdom of local people as matters went

“The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.” from bad to worse. Farishta also did not like the materialistic, self-centered lifestyles she had seen in Hollywood movies. Yet when Nilofar returned home two years ago, Farishta was impressed with the skills and attitudes her older sister displayed. Nilofar and Saeed Murad Rahi, another ’07 Fulbright graduate of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), worked in a collaborative manner to patiently and respectfully visit community members and listen to what each had to say. “We come from a very religious family,” said Farishta. “When Nilofar came back, I didn’t find that somebody had snatched away her Muslim values. They had added something good to her values.” In response to Farishta’s questions, Nilofar told her younger sister that the CJP community was a special place in the United States, where “you can speak from your heart and everyone is really working for peace – it’s their beliefs, it’s their way of living, it’s not just something they do for prestige reasons.”

Farishta’s future husband, a social worker named Ramin Nouroozi, had also watched Nilofar and Rahi apply the mediation and negotiation skills they had learned at CJP to working with local councils in Afghanistan. Ramin was friends with another Afghani student at EMU, whom he visited in September 2007. Ramin returned to Afghanistan thinking, “We do not have enough people trained in this peacebuilding field.” This became Ramin’s favorite saying: “The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.” In June 2008, Farishta and Ramin married. The following January, after pooling as much family money as possible, Farishta and Ramin came to Harrisonburg to begin their journey toward being trained peacebuilders. They are not sure their families can Nilofar Sakhi provide all the funds they need to complete their master’s degrees, but they will learn as much as possible before returning home. “In my country, there is lots of love for power,” says Ramin. “I prefer the ‘power of love’ over the ‘love of power.’ I want to contribute to a sustainable Saeed Murad Rahi peace in Afghanistan.”

Donations and grants enable the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) to prepare the next generation of peacebuilders. For ways you or your organization can support CJP, please contact CJP associate director of development Phoebe Kilby at or (540) 432-4581.

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center for justice and peacebuilding 2009 Schedule of Events Graduate Program in Conflict Transformation

Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI)

STAR -- Seminars in Trauma Awareness and Resilience

Contact Janelle Myers-Benner at if you are interested in enrolling in graduate classes.

Short-term intensive courses for professional development/training or academic credit. Participate in one or up to four sessions.

More information on fees and descriptions of seminar levels online at:

 M.A. or Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation

 New! Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship. Offered by EMU’s MBA program in collaboration with CJP.

 New! Graduate Certificate in Theology for Peacebuilding. Offered by Eastern Mennonite Seminary in collaboration with CJP.

EASTERN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg VA 22802-2462 USA

 May 4-12 Session I

 May 14-22 Session II

 May 26-June 3 Session III

 June 8-12 Session IV

 March 23-29 STAR Level II

 June 8-12 STAR Level I (during SPI)

 September 14-18 STAR Level I CJP aims to be environmentally responsible... Each issue of Peacebuilder is available online at If you would prefer to no longer receive a paper copy of Peacebuilder, please note this in an email to If you would like to receive e-mail reminders of new issues of Peacebuilder online, please note this as well. Peacebuilder is printed on recycled paper. When finished reading or referring to the paper version, we invite you to please pass it along or recycle it.


Profile for Eastern Mennonite University

Peacebuilder Spring 2009 - Alumni Magazine of EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding  

Peacebuilder magazine from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University looks at peacebuilding issues and activi...

Peacebuilder Spring 2009 - Alumni Magazine of EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding  

Peacebuilder magazine from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University looks at peacebuilding issues and activi...