Peacebuilder Fall 2008 - Alumni Magazine of EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

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Fall/Winter 2008


Our Man in Sierra Leone Plus: Kenya at Crossroads


Alumni in Kenya Provide Inspiration Last June I had the opportunity to visit Kenya – the subject of pages 12 through 21 – to meet with alumni of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) and with partner organizations. I also participated in program review and in discussions of additional initiatives on behalf of building a just and sustainable peace in Kenya, Sudan and Somaliland. It was inspiring to listen to the stories of the work being done by our alumni and by the organizations in which they often play leadership roles. Their expressions of appreciation for EMU and for the programs they attended here reinforced my own commitment to continue the tradition of excellence established by CJP. Many voiced a desire to replicate our programs on their own soil, an aspiration that CJP supports.

Lynn Roth

Our alumni would like to see CJP provide more training in organizational leadership for those who now occupy leadership positions where they must juggle personnel, budgeting, strategic planning, and outreach responsibilities for their organizations. They must also find ways of handling conflict within their own settings and of working productively with other groups. Last, but not least, our alumni value the help CJP gave them in recognizing that self-care is vital, that allowing oneself to “burnout” helps nobody in the end. CJP has designated “worker care and resilience” as one of its three strategic priorities, in addition to capacity-building, as can be seen in Sierra Leone (pages 8-11), and continuing the CJP leadership role in the peacebuilding field, as seen in Coming to the Table (pages 2-4). We welcome 2009 and hope you feel the same. We hope that you are inspired by the CJP people represented in this Peacebuilder. We are grateful for your support and partnership.

Lynn Roth Executive Director

Fall/Winter 2008


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.

‘No’ to Cycle of Vengeance Despite Murder of Daughters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

New Leadership at Helm of SPI Sue Williams Brings Vast Experience . . . . . . . . . 5

Loren E. Swartzendruber President Lee F. Snyder Interim Provost Lynn Roth CJP Executive Director Jacqueline J. Beuthin David R. Brubaker Janice M. Jenner Nancy Good Sider Sue Williams CJP Leadership Team Members 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 ©2008 Eastern Mennonite University. Requests for permission to reprint are welcomed and may be addressed to Bonnie Price Lofton at Cover photo Robert Roche. Story on page 11. Photo by Jon Styer.

Path to Healing In War-Torn Sierra Leone Robert Roche Suited to Fambul Tok . . . . . . . . . . 8

Kenyan Peacebuilders Show Way Out of Election Violence Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 CJP People Took Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Towards Understanding the Violence . . . . . . . 17



5 8 12

What Future for Kenya? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Students Note Role of Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 EMU-Linked Folks in Kenya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Barry Hart


As a Local and Global Leader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Printed on recycled paper.


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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David Works and two of his daughters were shot last year while leaving church.

‘No’ to Cycle of Vengeance

Despite Murder of Daughters

By Thomas Norman DeWolf I was awed and humbled by my 2008 Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) session at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) where I met, studied, and reflected with students from 46 countries. I spent most of my week with a group of people who share a unique connection to historic slavery in the United States. Almost all of us are descended from the enslaved, the enslavers, and the slave traders; all are committed to confronting, and helping, people – ourselves and others – heal from the legacy of slavery. In this special SPI session, called Coming to the Table, I joined 15 others to consider and mourn the lingering damage we have inherited – collectively and individually – as a result of slavery. We also explored potential paths toward healing. It wasn’t my first Coming to the Table experience. My first was in January 2006, where I first met white and black descendants of Thomas Jefferson and other families connected to historic slavery. One of the Jefferson descendants was David Works, whose love and transparency was evident even then. 2

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It was more palpable this time, because David had recently experienced severe trauma and was clearly on a healing journey. On December 9, 2007 – just six months before coming to SPI – David’s family was leaving their New Life Church in Colorado Springs when a 24-year-old man went on a rampage and began shooting people in the church parking lot. David and his wife Marie lost two beloved daughters – 18-year-old Stephanie and 16-year-old Rachel – in this attack. David was also shot twice by the gunman. David shared with us that he didn’t know that Stephanie had been shot and died until he was in the recovery room after his own surgery. Later that night while in the ICU he learned that Rachel had succumbed to her wounds. “As a father and as a Christian, I was trying to sort this through in my mind and my heart,” David said. “I remembered the snail image of the victimoppressor cycle (a trauma-healing graphic that was introduced at our 2006 Coming to the Table session), and I told myself: ‘I can choose to lose my mind and go down the path of anger and retribution, or I can use the tools I’ve been given and my theology to find something good in this, to break the cycle. I can use this to teach the rest of my family.’ It will not honor Stephanie and Rachel to be angry and bitter about this.” * David said the grief his family members are experiencing is messy, unpredictable, and may never go away. It is unique to each individual. Yet David, Marie, and their two remaining daughters – 19-year-old Laurie (Stephanie’s twin) and 12-year-old Grace – chose not to go to a place of vengefulness. Less than a month after the shooting, David and Marie agreed Photo by Jon Styer

“I can choose to lose my mind and go down the path of anger and retribution, or I can use the tools I’ve been given and my theology to find something good in this, to break the cycle.”

to meet with the Murrays, the parents of the young man, Matthew Murray, who killed their daughters and injured David. In a pastor’s office at the New Life Church where the shootings occurred, the four parents hugged and cried together. Earlier the Murrays had met with the families of two other victims of Matthew’s shootings at another church site. Afterward the Murrays issued a statement: “Thanks to God, these remarkable families and their pastors and churches, healing and reconciliation have begun.” As David showed us by his example, a key component to healing is understanding trauma and its potentially infinite, destructive cycles. Natural responses to trauma include reacting with aggression and/or feeling like a victim. The “survivor/victim” response can result in a cycle of physiological changes. Instinctual reactions include fight, flight or freeze. We feel shock, injury, denial, anxiety, and fear. The “aggressor/enemy” response can result from seeing one’s self as victimized. We may feel shame and humiliation. We can develop a good-versus-evil narrative and dehumanize and demonize the enemy. If I eliminate the human qualities of those who harmed me, revenge is easier. We may justify using violence and see it as redemptive. We may decide to pursue our own needs, even at the expense of others. There may be social and cultural pressures to do so. We act in selfdefense and believe we are restoring honor and justice. Vengeance creates more victims. People move easily between the “survivor/victim” and “aggressor/enemy” cycles, creating one giant, vicious, circle-eight cycle – the sign for infinity. Healing and reconciliation require us to break out of these cycles and pursue a different path. The path to reconciliation – either individually or as a community – includes truth-telling (facing all the facts within their historical context and considering the impact on, and feelings of, both victims and victimizers), justice (acknowledging the harm and taking action – agreed upon by the victims and the victimizers – to repair it), compassion (accepting one’s self, having empathy for “the other,” and forgiveness), and peace (relationship-building, communication, understanding). As if hearing David Works’ story were not enough, I heard a second story at EMU last summer that provided another living example of the ability of people to experience ultimate harm and grief and to choose grace and forgiveness on their path to survival and healing.

The Works family in January 2006: (from left) Rachel, 14; Grace, 9; Laurie, 16; parents David and Marie; Stephanie, 16. “We think of ourselves as a missionary family,” says David. “We thought we would be together doing missionary work for the rest of our lives, but that wasn’t God’s path. I’ve come to appreciate the mystery of God, and part of that mystery is this thing called suffering.”

Angelina Atyam from Uganda spoke at a luncheon about the kidnapping of her 14-year-old daughter, Charlotte, by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel guerrilla army fighting against Uganda’s government. During her nearly eight years in captivity, the daughter gave birth to two children fathered by her captor. During this period, Angelina visited the mother of the rebel commander holding her daughter, came to understand that this mother had lost many members of her family too, and extended her hand in friendship and forgiveness. Now that Charlotte is free, Angelina is focusing on caring for her grandchildren and helping her daughter to resume her education. At Coming to the Table, we recognized the challenge of comprehending collective trauma (such as the holocaust of WWII or the transatlantic slave trade) because the magnitude is on such a large scale. Getting a handle on healing from such large-scale trauma can feel overwhelming and unlikely. Yet we participants in Coming to the Table were committed to using the model of facilitated dialogue, study, and reflective encounter to bring together people who are normally isolated from each other. Coming to the Photo courtesy of David and Marie Works

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David said the grief his family members are experiencing is messy, unpredictable, and may never go away.

David Works and Shay Banks-Young are descendants of Thomas Jefferson who have participated in two Coming to the Table events. For more information about Coming to the Table, visit, or contact program director Amy Potter at or (540) 432-4687.

Table is an effort to identify the harms of slavery and its aftermath and work toward healing. As for other summer classes taking place at the same time as Coming to the Table, I had heard that EMU has international appeal, but I figured that meant a small percentage of students come from outside the United States. One morning at a “gathering celebration” where all 105 of us students joined together for breakfast and announcements before beginning our various classes, each of us stood and shared our name and where we are from. I wrote down as many countries as I could. I didn’t catch them all. If you can resist the inclination to skip through the list in the next paragraph and actually read the names of each country you’ll get a sense of just what an international gathering this truly was. In addition to people from 14 states in the United States, my fellow students were here in Virginia from their homes in Jordan, Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Italy, Ukraine, Iran, Scotland, Belgium, Palestine, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal, India, Uganda, Somaliland, Pakistan, Vietnam, Burma/Myanmar, Malaysia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Rwanda, Fiji, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Chile, England, Ghana, Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Zambia, South Korea, Uganda, Congo, Netherlands, Tanzania, Liberia, and Ireland. At EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute, all are dedicated to serving others with an emphasis on peace and non-violence. Students come to learn and to share, exchanging wisdom and energy. I was, and remain, in awe. I am grateful to have been part of this transformative learning experience. ■


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Thomas Norman DeWolf is the author of Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History (Beacon Press, 2008), a book about his family’s quest to face the true history of their ancestors and the founding of the United States. DeWolf and several of his cousins now tour the country speaking about our nation’s desperate need for honest dialogue and healing. For more information visit DeWolf also participated in the making of the documentary “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North,” which first aired on PBS in June, 2008. For more information visit

*David and Marie Works have written a book about their

experience – Gone in a Heartbeat: Our Daughters Died…Our Faith Endures – due to be released by Focus on the Family/ Tyndale House on January 13, 2009. Watch for times and places for book signings, including at EMU.

Photo by Howard Zehr

New SPI director Sue Williams with her predecessor Pat Hostetter Martin

New Leadership at Helm of SPI

Pat Hostetter Martin Retires

A leadership change has occurred at EMU’s annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI), with long-time director Pat Hostetter Martin retiring. Her replacement, Sue Williams, moved to Harrisonburg in the early fall from her previous base in the United Kingdom. CJP director Lynn Roth had warm words of praise for Martin’s years of service – not just for her 11 years at EMU but also for her 18 years of service with Mennonite Central Committee, focused upon East Asia. “Pat’s commitment, passion, vision, hope and wisdom have been inspiring to people throughout the world,” said Roth.

In announcing Sue Williams’ appointment, Lynn Roth emphasized the wealth of experience she brings to EMU. “Sue comes to this position with approximately 25 years of experience in the conflict transformation field. Since 2000 she has been working as an independent consultant, assisting and training in conflict analysis, management, prevention of escalation, program design, strategic reviews and evaluation of projects. She has done this in countries including Rwanda, Northern Ireland, Cambodia, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Myanmar.” Like Martin, Williams has spent her entire adult life working in some way to increase peace in the world. Both women worked in tandem with their husbands for much of their professional lives. Williams is no longer able to do so – her husband, Steve, died of a heart attack last December just after returning from a consultation in Cyprus and re-joining his wife at their home in Milton Keynes, England. She had just returned home from a consultation in Rwanda. Sue Williams’ move to SPI is part of her journey toward living and working without her husband to whom she was married for 26 years.

PHOTO by Jon Styer

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Pat Hostetter Martin Work Experience At age 23, Martin joined Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to work in Vietnam. She was assigned to work in Quang Ngai City in central Vietnam where there was heavy U.S. bombing and many refugees. Martin and other volunteers offered medical care, food aid, material assistance and vocational classes to internally displaced people. In 1968, Pat married Earl Martin, also a Mennonite worker in Vietnam. They finished their three-year term together, returned to the United States for further schooling, and then went back to Quang Ngai province for two years until the end of the war in 1975. Pat Hostetter Martin, with husband Earl, before the home they have shared with hundreds The Martins spent most of the 1980s and early 1990s working for MCC, including a three-and-a-half-year stint in the into the office to talk. It didn’t matter if of the last evacuation flights from their Philippines and nine years as co-secretaries province. After almost five months of the person had an important matter or for MCC’s East Asia program. separation, the Martins re-united in Lagos, was discussing the day’s events. Pat gave From the late 1990s to the present, the person her full attention for as long Nigeria, where Pat’s parents, B. Charles Martin has studied and worked at EMU, as was needed to send the person on their and Grace Hostetter, were living. (In playing a leadership role in SPI for 11 years. 1993, Pat and Earl returned to Vietnam, way feeling heard and understood and in better spirits. We see this as one of her most spending six months as MCC’s interim Outstanding Personal Qualities important assets, and the one that we will country representatives and living in the Open-door hospitality and egalitarianstrive to maintain at SPI.” northern part for the first time.) community living, as these examples show: (1) From 1997 to the present, Pat and Memorable Quotes Enjoyments Earl have shared their home with close to “I believe we are all called to be passionately Time to play with her 3-year-old 100 people from dozens of backgrounds granddaughter, Sophia. Swimming, hiking who we are. I have spent my life trying to share and multiple religions. They have celebrat- and bicycle riding. Reading, almost a book who I am with other people, while trying to understand what they do and how and why ed the marriages of three of these residents, a week. Writing: she and Earl hope to they believe as they do. Of course, I have been plus the births of four of them. And they write a book with son Hans. changed by the people I’ve met, and I suppose have hosted weekly community meals. some have been changed by meeting me.” (2) Both Martins have been key playChurch Affiliation ers in the founding of Crossing Creeks, a Shalom Mennonite Congregation in “I have come to believe there are many ways of therapeutic rural community near EMU Harrisonburg, Virginia experiencing God and of seeing God at work where persons with persistent mental in this world, and I have come to respect them illness live, play and work together with Education staff and volunteers in a mutual search for BA, social work, Goshen College, Indiana. all. The most important lesson that Jesus gave well-being. Grad certificate, occupational therapy, San us was the primacy of love, and that is how I try to live my faith now – through expressing Jose State University, California. love and receiving it from others, regardless of One (of Many) Challenges Faced MA in conflict transformation, EMU. their religious or social backgrounds.” In 1975, the Martins were parents of two children, aged 1 and 3. A book by Strengths Given To SPI A student asked Martin how healing happens Earl, Reaching the Other Side, graphically Co-workers Bill Goldberg and Valerie describes his decision to stay behind Helbert have written: “Many are the times in healthy families. She replied, “I don’t know, but I know it happens around food.” during the chaos of the Communists’ take- when we have seen Pat, in the middle of over of South Vietnam, while the U.S. and an important project with a deadline, stop their proxies fled. In an effort to protect what she was doing and devote as much their children, Pat took them aboard one time as was needed to someone who came 6

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Photos by Jon Styer

New Director

Sue Williams Work Experience Too vast to list in full here, but highlights include: ■ Special consultant to Folke Bernadotte Academy in Sweden where she has been a trainer in political mediation and dialogue for the mediation support unit of the United Nations’ Department of Political Affairs. ■ Director of the policy and evaluation unit of INCORE at the University of Ulster and United Nations University in Northern Ireland. ■ Five and a half years in key roles in the organization Responding to Conflict in the United Kingdom. ■ Ten years with Quaker Peace and Sue Williams has been tested and tempered in war zones. Service, including two in Uganda during its civil war during the 1980s and a year in regional reconciliation work in Burundi, 1984-87 and again in 1990-91, when she some of them contained in a monograph Kenya and other locations in East Africa. and her husband were trying to support she co-authored, Working With Conflict: About three decades ago, Williams was peacebuilders in Uganda while 100,000 Skills and Strategies for Action (Zed Books, a librarian in Roanoke, Virginia, when she people were being killed, sometimes right 2000), now circulating in 14 languages. met her future husband while both were outside the doors of their unguarded home. working to found a local peace center. AfAnd then there was Rwanda and Burundi… Memorable Quotes ter marrying in 1981, they joined Brethren “All the war zones have come back to me in “My work can be likened to pollination. I Volunteer Service and moved to Haiti to nightmares. The bodies in the streets. The have worked in 40 or 50 countries, and each work with street children. Thus began their tastes and the smells of it. It stays with you time I try to bring people examples of what lives in the service of victims of structural for years.” has been done successfully or unsuccessfully and other kinds of violence. elsewhere. Actually, it’s much harder to learn Enjoyments from success than from failure. If something Outstanding Personal Qualities Swimming and walking. Calisthenics failed, then obviously something has to Remains functional when the going gets in hotel rooms, when swimming and change. But that doesn’t mean we should tough. Tested and tempered by living and walking are not options. Prayer/meditation. throw it all out; we should just decide what working in war zones, amid the nightmare Humor. Playing guitar. Weaving and needs changing. This kind of cross-pollination of killings and dead bodies. Understands gardening – “doing something constructive can, with luck, open up possibilities that have “survivor guilt,” after seeing many good amid destruction.” Keeping a journal. “But not been considered before.” people, including close colleagues, killed. I don’t do any of these things particularly Has chosen the path of non-violence, even well or regularly enough.” “I will sit and talk with anyone. Exwhen others around her were hiring armed combatants are at least straight forward guards or picking up arms themselves. Sue Church Affiliation – they have an energy you can do something and Steve Williams long ago decided, “If Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) with. They are passionate about their country. we’re going to get killed, we might as well You don’t want to throw that away. I find get killed doing something we believe in.” Education them easier to deal with than, for example, BA and MA, both degrees in French and people in war entirely for their own greed One (of Many) Challenges Faced politics, from Brown University in Rhode – such as narco-, diamond- or human“I was at a (Quaker) meeting in Oxford, Island traffickers – who display no human interest England, when someone spoke about the in their country. But even they need to be biblical verse ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, Strengths To Offer SPI at the table. I’m not trying to convert people, for they will see God’(Matthew 5:8). I felt Understanding the impact of violence to make them share my values. They do not kicked in the stomach. You can’t be pure and trauma on one’s psyche and ability to have to be converted for us to negotiate a way after the things I’ve seen.” One of the worst function as a peacebuilder. Also vast onto have peace.” ■ periods of “defilement” for Williams was the-ground experience and lessons to offer, peacebuilder ■ 7

Dancers from the village of Kongonanie in Sierra Leone wait to participate in a welcome ceremony prior to the bonfire that will take place that night, as part of Fambul Tok’s grass-roots reconciliation program.

Path to Healing In War-Torn Sierra Leone By Elisabeth Hoffman On a warm late-March evening, two young Sierra Leonean men gathered at a village bonfire, surrounded by family members, elders, and neighbors. Once close friends, Sahr and Nyumah had been torn apart while in their teens by Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war. One boy was forced by rebel soldiers to brutally beat and maim his friend. The two came face to face that night. One man testified about his suffering; the other admitted his guilt and begged for forgiveness – which, in an astonishing act of grace, 8

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was freely given. The village sang and danced in celebration. Sahr and Nyumah are not alone. Part of a groundbreaking new national initiative called Fambul Tok (Krio for Family Talk), similar acts of truth-telling and reconciliation are taking place between victims and offenders in villages across Sierra Leone. Sahr and Nyumah’s experience – and the experiences of others like them – illustrates the ways in which “thinking small” may be the key to acting big. That is, working at the smallest possible level – the individual and the social unit closest to the individual, the village – may be the key to building a sustainable national peace in war-devastated nations in Africa.

Launch of Fambul Tok

The foundation I head, Catalyst for Peace, aims to forward peacebuilding by helping conflict-ridden areas draw on their local resources and culture to build peace. We are partnering with Forum of Conscience, a Sierra Leonean NGO headed by John Caulker, in designing and implementing Fambul Tok. Caulker, who fled his home and lost his mother during the war in Sierra Photos by Sara Terry, courtesy of Catalyst for Peace

Leone, spent well over a decade as a courageous voice for human rights during the war years. He has been a committed activist in the rebuilding process, giving voice to those who suffered most during the war. When I first met Caulker last summer, he was at a point of utter frustration with the postwar reconstruction in his country. Having lobbied earlier for the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone, he was disappointed with how little actual reconciliation it accomplished in the end. He felt the Commission had largely conducted its work in the country’s political centers, and used processes that made it difficult for many Sierra Leoneans to participate. He also questioned the impact of the UN-backed Special Court in Sierra Leone, which has spent more than $300 million to try the nine men held most responsible for the war. “The people of my country live on less than a dollar a day, yet hundreds of millions are being spent on trials that will not make any difference at all to the average person,” said Caulker. In an effort to help heal the lives of the average person, Caulker and I began to work together to shape his vision for a community-based reconciliation process, which evolved into the program now known as Fambul Tok. The heart of the Fambul Tok process involves community members gathering around a bonfire and talking, as they did long ago. Victims and offenders have the opportunity to come forward and tell their stories. They can ask for forgiveness or offer forgiveness, as they choose. The next day a “cleansing ceremony” – often involving appeasing the ancestors – is held at a site that holds special, often sacred, significance for the locals, such as a particular rock, tree, or dwelling. Often a fowl or goat is killed during this ceremony. Almost all communities in Sierra Leone have such commonly recognized places and rituals, yet the process of using them was also a casualty of the war. Finally, the community designates a “peace tree” surrounded by a seating area to serve as a permanent meeting place to resolve conflicts using the principles of Fambul Tok. It also serves as the site of a radio “listening club.” Battery-operated radios are provided for people to listen together to a half-hour weekly broadcast of locally recorded Fambul Tok stories. The Fambul Tok theme song, played on the radio broadcast, is already sung through much of Sierra Leone. Some communities have gone on to develop other joint projects, such as community farms where everyone pitches in, or soccer events for the children.

Emergent Design

The rapid development of Fambul Tok (work only began on the ground in December of 2007) is due to several factors, one of which is the unique partnership Catalyst for Peace and Forum of Conscience have forged. In our early conversations, Caulker and I realized that implementing his vision of community-based reconciliation in Sierra Leone would likely require a robust collaboration – an unusual relationship between a “funder” and a “recipient” in peacebuilding.

Women in Kongonanie prepare a feast for the community, the day after a truth-telling and forgiveness bonfire.

I myself was a peacebuilding practitioner for 15 years before making a transition to the funding side in 2003 as the founder and president of Catalyst for Peace. I didn’t want to step away from direct involvement in the practice side. I recognized that, with Fambul Tok, actively bringing my peacebuilding sensibilities and grounding in the field could contribute to Caulker’s skills, while tapping into his established credibility and network of relationships. It could lead to a nationally transformative process. At Catalyst we don’t simply read grant proposals, issue funds, and read the reports sent back by those we fund. We participate in project design and implementation, go into the field ourselves, and bring in expertise from other individuals or organizations when useful, in response to needs that emerge on the ground. This kind of close collaboration on Fambul Tok has allowed us to respond quickly to local realities and to work together to finetune our practices. I call our design process “emergent design,” in that we build upon core elements, objectives and operating principles, but we leave room for flexibility and creativity in implementing them. Those of us from outside of Sierra Leone feel it is important not to arrive in the country with a preconceived program for a local entity to implement on our behalf. This is also the spirit the implementers on the ground in Sierra Leone embrace – it’s not their program, but rather it belongs to the people of Sierra Leone. The results from local ownership are inspiring.

Sahr, Nyumah, Reconcile

In the case of Sahr and Nyumah, both stood before the village bonfire in Gbekedu as the first step in their healing journey. The boyhood friends were barely teenagers when the rebel Revolutionary United Front invaded their village near the Liberian border. Sahr spoke of how the rebels ordered him to kill his father and of how he refused repeatedly. peacebuilder ■ 9

Robert Roche, back to camera at right, listens as a member of a “circle” in which participants tell their often-troubling stories.

As a result, Nyumah, also taken by the rebels, was ordered under threat of death to beat his friend. He complied, beating Sahr so severely that even today Sahr’s body remains misshapen – he is able to walk only with great difficulty, supported by a cane. Living since the end of the war in villages just a mile or so apart, the former friends had not spoken about these events until the evening last March around the bonfire. Acknowledging what he had done, Nyumah asked Sahr for forgiveness, while bowing in a gesture of humility and apology. Sahr immediately gave his forgiveness. Villagers broke into song and dance around the bonfire as the young men hugged. The next day, upon learning that Sahr’s father had also been killed that day in the bush, our documentary filmmaker, Sara Terry, gently queried Nyumah about what had happened to Sahr’s father, asking the question lingering in everyone’s mind: Had Nyumah killed him? Misery was etched on Nyumah’s face. Terry recalls: …the young man said, very softly, yes. I was watching Sahr; he didn’t flinch at the news, didn’t move away from his friend. In a few minutes, I turned to Sahr and asked him how he felt. He was very direct and simple in his reply: “I forgive him everything.” Nyumah swooped into a bow at his friend’s feet. “I want this forgiveness to last forever and ever,” Sahr added. And then they started to shake hands – the handshake turned into an embrace. The two started walking back up the path into the village – Nyumah in front of Sahr, who was struggling a bit as he walked behind. Nyumah turned back. They put their arms around each other and walked back into the village together. To see film clip on Fambul Tok, visit 10

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Eager To Heal Wounds

Sahr and Nyumah’s experience exemplifies a broader national consensus around a desire and readiness for reconciliation. “Yes, we are ready” was the overwhelming response we received in every district during the national consultation process that launched the Fambul Tok program, an eagerness that far exceeded our expectations. Representatives at every consultation acknowledged the unhealed wounds of war, as well as the difficult realities of having perpetrators and victims living side by side. It was also clear the communities had local cultural traditions and practices of reconciliation, dormant since the war, that they were eager to awaken and use for social healing. As a rule, these practices were geared toward reintegrating perpetrators into the community, rather than alienating them through punishment or retribution. Perhaps most remarkable, the towns that participated in the pilot phase of Fambul Tok this spring and summer viewed the program as being theirs, rather than being imported (or imposed) from the outside. With local leadership and design, no two ceremonies have been alike, nor will they be. They have common elements, though, including a snowballing effect whereby the first set of encounters between offenders and victims – characterized by confession, contrition, and forgiveness – are usually followed by many more in the group. Though the recipe for Fambul Tok depends on the locals, Catalyst for Peace realizes that outsiders serve a valuable role, akin to yeast helping the dough rise. “We’re here to walk the participants though the process initially,” says Catalyst field program officer Robert Roche, MA ’08, who is based full time in Sierra Leone. “In a way, we validate the process. But once it gets going, they make it theirs.” (More about Roche in the sidebar “Outsider Suited to Fambul Tok.”) The Fambul Tok program is expected to spread nationwide by

the end of 2009, with ceremonies reaching every village over the next five years. This is an ambitious project, considering it may take Roche and the Sierra Leonean nationals he works with 10 to 20 hours to travel from their base in the capital city of Freetown to some outlying districts, often over routes that are basically bumpy footpaths. Yet we believe everyone in Sierra Leone needs to engage in the healing process, wherever they are. The people of Sierra Leone are moving toward acknowledging and accepting what went wrong in their community and, by extension, their country. They are re-discovering their power, their goodness and their capacity to contribute to their society in helpful and healthy ways. They are finding a way to start anew, in the process helping their country do the same. ■

Elisabeth “Libby” Hoffman is president and founder of Catalyst for Peace (, established in 2003 near Hoffman’s home in Maine. Libby holds an MALD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a BA in political science from Williams College. She attended the 1996 session of EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute and completed an EMU course on conflict transformation taught by John Paul Lederach in 2000. She has been active in conflict resolution and peacebuilding for nearly 20 years as a professor, trainer, practitioner and funder. This article was adapted with permission from a longer article that appeared in the summer 2008 issue of The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs. The source article is posted at

‘Outsider’ Suited To Fambul Tok

Robert Roche with young friends in Sierra Leone

Robert Roche

Photos courtesy of Robert Roche

Robert Roche, MA ’08, brings unique qualifications to his role as field program officer for U.S.-based Catalyst for Peace, serving as a “technical advisor” to the Fambul Tok process. The son of an American man employed by Catholic Relief Services and a Congolese woman, Roche spent his first 14 years living in seven African countries. His mother made a point of speaking to him in French and the dialect of her family, while his father made sure he was versed in English. “I understand the extended family involved in the Fambul Tok process and the respect for elders,” says Roche. “That’s how it was when I was growing up. If it was a close friend of my mom, I called her aunt.” Yet he knows he is viewed as an outsider in Sierra Leone – well, anywhere he goes in Africa, actually. “My eyes are not brown and my skin color is not dark enough for me to blend in. And I don’t speak the way anybody speaks here.” He is ideally suited, however, to his role as facilitator. It taps his cross-cultural background, comfort with Africa’s variety, and his CJP training in trauma healing, mediation, group processes, conflict analysis and restorative justice. “Everything I learned at CJP I am using. We [trained at CJP] are really knowledgeable compared to many other people I meet working in this field. I don’t want to be biased, but I think that’s the truth.” Another CJP person involved directly in Fambul Tok is Amy Potter, MA ’02, associate director of CJP’s Practice and Training Institute. As the overall Fambul Tok program officer for Catalyst, she has been integral to the design and implementation of the program.

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Kenyan Peacebuilders Show Way Out Of Election Violence When the previous issue of Peacebuilder went to the printer on January 7, 2008, it contained uplifting thoughts from Jebiwot Sumbeiywo, a 2004 MA graduate of CJP who lives in Kenya and is the continental coordinator for Coalition for Peace in Africa. In that pre-press version of Peacebuilder Sumbeiywo spoke of how pleased she was that Kenya had sustained its democracy and its peace since the late 1990s, all the way through its 2002 general election. This was a change from the violence-plagued elections in 1992 and 1997, when thousands of Kenyans had been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. “I have just come from town having met with the local press where peacebuilders made a press statement on violence that affected some parts of Kenya,” Sumbeiywo wrote to friends in November 2006. “It’s amazing how people no longer sit and watch violence escalate out of hand – kudos to all of us.” A week after Peacebuilder went to the printer – at the color-proof stage, the last moment when pages can be changed – the editor rushed to remove Sumbeiywo’s optimistic thoughts about Kenya. Kenya had exploded. “It was really terrifying,” Sumbeiywo recalled recently. She and her one-month-old baby – named “Amani,” meaning “Peace” in Kiswahili – were caught at home in a Nairobi neighborhood. “My world changed in two days from peace to disaster. We were suddenly unable to buy food. I would watch from my window as youths ran up and down the streets being chased by riot policemen. Things got so bad I stopped thinking about anything but survival.” It was like 1992 again, only the toll was higher. By the time the violence wound down in late January, at least 1,000 had lost their lives; more than 350,000 had been forced to leave their homes. What happened? And what did CJP-trained peacebuilders in Kenya do about it? Can Kenya remake itself into a model of democracy, economic prosperity and peace in Africa – or will it devolve into the opposite?


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A man passes near a burning barricade in the Kibera section of Nairobi on January 18, 2008.

PHOTO by Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

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Doreen Ruto and Babu Ayindo chat between classes at SPI 2008.

CJP People Took Action

Embassy in Nairobi in 1998. Her husband was not the target of the attack; he was in a neighboring building that collapsed.) “I stood six or seven hours on the queue to vote. I was so determined. I wanted to see a difference. I wanted Kenya to have a more inclusive government and not confine its leadership to one EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) has more MA part of the country.” graduates in conflict transformation in Kenya than in any other Ruto comes from an ethnic group that is different from the country of the world, except the United States. one of the current president. To understand why this is highly sigThirteen graduate-level alumni or professors are based in Kenya. nificant in her country, read “Towards Understanding the Violence Our Summer Peacebuilding Institute has hosted 50 people from in Kenya” on page 17. Kenya, including Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, one of six named from When the violence began, Ruto was at home in Nairobi with around the world as recipients of the 2007 Right Livelihood Ronnie. They were imprisoned by the violence. Outside their Award. (Read about Dekha in the winter ’08 issue at www.emu. doors, in the streets, supporters of her ethnic group were attackedu/peacebuilder.) Seven U.S.-based CJP faculty and staff meming and killing others and vice versa. After three days, she decided bers have done peace-themed work in Kenya. “enough.” She phoned George Wachira, senior research and policy So, where were “our” people when the killing started? advisor of the Nairobi Peace Initiative, to discuss what steps to Ironically, most were taking a brief break from their usual take. jam-packed work lives, like folks everywhere tend to do over the By January 2, Ruto, Wachira, Abdi and about 60 others – inChristmas holiday period. Let’s look at these three people – Docluding Jebiwot Sumbeiywo’s uncle, Lt. Gen. Lazarus Sumbeiywo reen Ruto, Babu Ayindo and Hizkias Assefa – as examples of the – convened at the Serena Hotel in downtown Nairobi. They called range of responses from the CJP group to the violence. themselves Concerned Citizens for Peace. For Ruto, traveling via taxi to the meeting took faith and courage. Soldiers and tear gas filled the streets. Roaming bands Much of last year, Doreen Ruto, MA ’06, collaborated with Babu of young men could easily stop a taxi and pull out a single female Ayindo, MA ’98, on developing a curriculum designed to teach occupant whose ethnicity did not suit them. Ruto had left Ronconflict-transformation and peace education skills in Kenyan nie in the care of relatives, hoping that she would be returning to classrooms. By Christmas 2007, the UNICEF-funded project was her son at the end of the day. nearing the pilot-stage of testing the curriculum in some schools About 10 of the 60 in Concerned Citizens for Peace had a and refining it. Ruto’s 11-year-old son Ronnie was out of school history linking them to CJP and thus to each other. Perhaps for the holiday period. (Her older son, Richard Bikko, was and is most remarkable – and fortuitous in this situation – the Kenyans an undergrad at EMU.) She left Ronnie with cousins and went to trained at CJP have come from seven different ethnic groups. vote on December 27. Ruto sat across the table from Anne Nyambura, MA ’06, who “It was the first time in my life that I voted. I just was not intercomes from the ethnic group viewed to be “in power” in Kenya. ested before,” she says. “But after going through CJP, I went back “As graduates of CJP, we speak the same language,” says Ruto. and said, ‘We need to be part of the change.’” “We see what is going on through the same lenses. We condemn (Ruto came to CJP as part of her healing process – and desire the same injustices, even if we may have voted differently.” to explore the path of nonviolent change – after losing her husMore on Ruto follows in Babu Ayindo’s story. band, the father of her two sons, in a terrorist attack on the U.S.



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Photo by Lindsey Roeschley



Perhaps most remarkable – and fortuitous in this situation – the Kenyans trained at CJP have come from seven different ethnic groups.


Doreen Ruto’s collaborator on the UNICEF-funded peace curriculum for schools, Babu Ayindo, MA ’98, was among the first Africans to earn a master’s degree in conflict transformation at EMU. If you Google his name, you will find that he has led trainings in places as diverse as South Korea, Fiji, Australia, the Philippines, and most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. He is renowned for using improvisational theater techniques in conflict transformation. Yet at the end of December 2007, Ayindo was doing none of the above. He was in his backyard – literally. He was in a city on the edge of the Rift Valley. He was eight hours by bus from Nairobi, but only 100 meters from the area where violence would be the worst over the next several weeks. “My wife and I have a quarter-acre farm where we raise cattle, goats, chickens. We grow passion fruit, mango, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, onions,” says Ayindo. “My wife grew up on a farm. We are resurrecting a tradition of sustaining oneself. Having constant contact with the land is important. I want my children to experience all this.” Ayindo took a break from his gardening to cast his vote for the opposition on December 27. Not that he thought a new president might bring great change to Kenya – more equity, less corruption – but he thought it might be an improvement. Then the attacks began on non-Luos in the streets outside his compound. Ayindo is Luo (though “I don’t look like the typical Luo”); his mother and wife are Luhya. “The crowds were out with stones and other crude weapons, looting and driving away people perceived to be sympathetic or to have voted for other parties (other than the Orange Democratic Movement). The police and the para-military were engaging the crowds with tear gas and live bullets. “We kept down and away from the windows. Our three kids (ages 14, 10 and 4) came to recognize the sound of every type of gun. They saw their first dead people…I wish they hadn’t.” By the end of the first week – a week with no water and electricity in his home – Ayindo was in cell-phone contact with George Kut of the Nairobi Peace Initiative. Kut flew to join Ayindo and by January 9 they were traveling through parts of the Rift Valley and Nyanza regions together, listening to people, particularly the youth, to learn more about what was going on. On January 12, they reported their findings back to the Nairobi Peace Initiative. Their main recommendation was to urge peace workers to “listen deeply in order to understand the root causes of the unprec-

Babu Ayindo uses drama in his work.

edented violence,” says Ayindo. The Nairobi Peace Initiative later expanded this “listening project” to other parts of Kenya. Meanwhile, the Concerned Citizens for Peace had started circulating peace messages – “choose peace and not violence” and “let’s give dialogue a chance” – via cooperating cell phone companies and mass media. They put up a website,, which presented constructive ways out of the conflict and offered the personal cell numbers of CCP’s leaders, including Abdi’s. Celebrities weighed in with a song of peace played widely on the radio. It began to be hummed throughout the country. Out in the land of the center of the opposition, Ayindo felt that the youthful voices of despair that he had listened to over several days were not being addressed by the peace messages coming from Nairobi. “If the grievances of the people in the streets get ignored, another cycle of violence will occur. And I didn’t hear enough about addressing those grievances.” Ayindo’s colleague Doreen Ruto – who had also voted for the opposition – was saddened by a text message she received after speaking on TV about the need for dialogue. A good friend texted: “We want justice and not peace.” “I understood my friend’s anger,” says Ruto. “But my immediate priority was ending the loss of lives and the displacement of people from their homes. My greatest fear and concern was that if we went on like this, the violence would soon take the country to a point of no return. I tried to convince my friend of how the violence on the streets would soon catch up with us, even in the safety of our homes, but both of us seemed to be from two different worlds at that time. She wouldn’t hear of it.” This exemplifies the truism that those working for peace also must deal with divergent views among themselves. In this case, Ayindo, Ruto, and Ruto’s friend saw the violence somewhat differently from their differing vantage points. Photo by Howard Zehr

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One of the challenges of peacebuilding is getting people to recognize the factors likely to lead to destruction for a society and to take preventive steps before a crisis looms.


Hizkias Assefa, born in Ethiopia but based in Kenya, was among the founding group that launched CJP in 1994. Holding a PhD and JD, Dr. Assefa has taught at EMU’s annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute ever since. Known globally as a skilled and trusted mediator, Dr. Assefa is often one of the unnamed faces in photos taken at negotiatDr. Hizkias Assefa, mediation resource for Kofi Annan ing tables, when the big-names finally come face-to-face despite their mutual hostility. It suits Dr. Assefa not to be in the news – it obstacles, avoiding pitfalls, and involving civil society. makes it easier for him to quietly offer guidance on how to talk The Annan-led mediation process, held from late January to and what to talk about. early May, is widely regarded as the turning point in easing the When the elections took place in Kenya in late December, Dr. violence. From it came an agreement that moved the parties to Assefa was on holiday with his family in neighboring Zanzibar. a political solution to the crisis. The mediation process brought He returned a week after the elections to a country that felt proin national and international experts to help develop a powerfoundly different. “Everyone seemed to be polarized,” he says. “At sharing government, as well as to design roadmaps for electoral, the early stages of the violence, it was difficult to find citizens who constitutional, land, public service and economic reforms to adcould stand above this polarization and see the big picture.” dress the issues of the crisis. After the Concerned Citizens for Peace began to assert itself, Dr. “As a long-time resident of Kenya, I was directly affected by Assefa says it took time for the public to recognize that the ad-hoc the conflict and could also see how it affected the lives of those group crossed ethnic lines and that it was not aligned with one or around me,” says Dr. Assefa. “I therefore had an opportunity to the other side in the conflict. bring the perspective of everyday Kenyans into the process.” Many leaders from other African countries poured into Kenya Dr. Assefa frequently argued for addressing the root causes of to try to stop the violence from escalating and to bring the parties the conflict, such as the unequal distribution of resources, and not to the negotiating table. After a few weeks a mediation process just papering them over. He said he sought consideration of the sponsored by the African Union got underway in the same Serena steps necessary for long-term stability and harmony, rather than Hotel where the Concerned Citizens for Peace had been meeting. being satisfied with temporary peace. The mediation was led by Kofi Annan, former secretary general “Regrettably, addressing root causes is very complicated,” he says. of the United Nations. Also on the team were the former presi“It is a long-term process. Once there is no immediate pressure of dent of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, and the former first lady of turmoil, it seems that the pressure is off of everyone – the politiMozambique and of South Africa, Graca Machel. Dr. Assefa was cians, the negotiators, the population, even the mediators and invited by Annan to join the mediation team. sponsors of the process. So people lose focus on the long-term “I was brought in as a mediation expert to help provide guidunderlying issues, and things slowly begin to return to business as ance on how to handle the negotiation process,” says Dr. Assefa. usual.” He dealt with such issues as how to structure the process, how to In Dr. Assefa’s eyes, one of the challenges of peacebuilding is think through the root causes of the conflict, and how to help the getting people to recognize the factors likely to lead to destruction parties move towards agreement. He also advised on overcoming for a society and to take preventive steps before a crisis looms. ■ 16

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Photo by Matthew Styer



Towards Understanding the Violence in Kenya The race leading up to the December 2007 election between presidential incumbent Mwai Kibaki and opposition candidate Raila Odinga was tight. Early returns showed Odinga leading substantially. Then there was a sudden shift in the reporting of votes. Kibaki took the lead for inexplicable reasons. International observers reported anomalies in the way votes were being counted, suggesting rigging of the polls. Odinga and his supporters protested. Odinga declared himself the “people’s president.” Kibaki dismissed their complaints. Fanned by inflammatory media reports (the Kenyan media tend to subscribe to one or another political party) angry people – most of them young men who were unemployed or under-employed – took to the streets to battle those perceived as being on the other side. As is common in some parts of post-colonial Africa, political allegiances in Kenya tend to run along ethnic lines. President Kibaki’s base is Kikuyu, the largest single ethnic group in Kenya, comprising about 22 percent of the population. He got support from the Kamba and Kisii, adding up to a total of about 39 percent of the population in Kibaki’s camp. Challenger Odinga is Luo, a group numbering about half as many as the Kikuyu – or 13 percent of the

At Maai Mahiu camp for internally displaced people in Narok town, this man was beaten almost to death outside his home. He recovered sufficiently to later testify before a commission probing the post-election violence. He said a particular politician had fomented the violence.

population. In this election, however, some other ethnic groups joined the Luo in supporting Odinga, including the Kalenjin and Luhya. This brought support for Odinga to about 40 percent of the population. Kenya has 43 mostly smaller ethnic groups, who tended to support the opposition. Thus challenger Odinga’s voter base at least matched and may have exceeded President Kibaki’s in this election. Kenya has had three presidents since gaining independence from Britain in 1963. The first, Jomo Kenyatta, and third (current president) are Kikuyu. In between came Daniel arap Moi, who was a Kalenjin and who ruled for a very long period, from 1978 until 2002, when he was constitutionally barred from continuing. In the booklet Peace and Reconciliation as a Paradigm, Dr. Hizkias Assefa notes that “in many African societies, losing an election can mean exclusion from power for an entire ethnic group, followed by discrimination and even repression. This can therefore foster the mentality among competing parties that they must win at all cost.” In other words, elections in Kenya can be literal battlegrounds, with groups feeling that their very existence is at stake since they have no assurance of their well-being and security if their group loses.

In Mirera, Nakuru, attackers removed items from houses belonging to people perceived as “foreigners” in the village and burned them, as seen here.

Photos by Charles Nyoike Ndegwa

This sense of insecurity is played upon by politicians seeking election. “If you elect me, I will watch out for you” is a message guaranteed to attract votes, especially when paired with: “If you don’t, your suffering will worsen.”

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Dr. Gladys Mwiti, director of Oasis Africa, in center (sixth from right on front row), flanked by CJP leaders Lynn Roth and Jan Jenner during their June 2008 visit to Kenya.

What Future for Kenya? In recent years, Kenya looked as if it were going to be among those African countries in the forefront of finding their way toward national unity and social equity, with peace and prosperity as the ultimate outcomes. Kenya’s peace was fragile, however, mostly because its economic gains were unequally distributed. When the violence erupted last December and January, some observers feared a Rwanda-like ethnic war. This didn’t happen. To repeat: the violence did not escalate into an all-out civil war. Kenya pulled back from the brink. This is evidence that millions of Kenyans from all walks of life doubt violence will lead to the changes they desire. Church, school, health, refugee, and even military leaders in Kenya routinely use terms like “sustainable peace,” “reconciliation,” and “dialogue.” Much of this awareness can be traced to CJP-trained people, who in turn have trained and reached out to thousands of others in Kenya. CJP folks, of course, do not work alone. They become employees, consultants, and partners with like-minded organizations, sometimes founding new ones. [See list of CJP-linked people in Kenya on page 21.] “It’s hard to determine the full impact of CJP-trained people in Kenya during the post-election crisis,” says Janice Jenner, MA ’00, director of CJP’s Practice and Training Institute. “Clearly, though, the conflict-transformation skills taught at CJP do work in the ‘real world,’ as they did in Kenya.” Jenner and her husband Hadley were co-country representatives for Mennonite Central Committee in Kenya from 1989 to 1996. Notice the language used by president Kibaki and opposition leader Odinga on January 24, when they shook hands, smiled and shared the same platform for the first time since the election was disputed. Beside them was a visibly pleased Kofi Annan. Out of 18

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the spotlight but nearby was EMU professor Hizkias Assefa, the mediation advisor for Annan’s successful peacemaking effort. Both political leaders appealed for immediate calm, according to the BBC, with Kibaki pledging to rebuild destroyed homes and towns, resettle the displaced, and “do everything else possible to ensure Kenyans live as brothers.” Odinga said his party was committed to peace, but stressed that to be sustainable, it had to be based on justice. Annan summed up: “I think we have begun to take some first steps towards a peaceful solution of the problem, and as you can see, the two leaders are here to underline their engagement to dialogue and to work together for a just and sustainable peace.” Over the next few months, Kenya’s government took new shape. Odinga filled the newly created position of second prime minister and the president’s cabinet was enlarged to make room for members appointed on the basis of their party’s numbers in Parliament. “We can now consign Kenya’s past failures of grand corruption and grand tribalism to our history books,” Odinga said when he took office. “We will ensure that power, wealth and opportunity are [in] the hands of many, not the few.” To reach these worthy goals, Kenya must navigate through minefields: a high rate of unemployment, budget deficits, poor infrastructure, corruption in the civil service… not to mention the still-simmering problems of refugees and ethnic tensions. And here is where the people trained at CJP – and those who they, in turn, train; who in turn train others (it’s a multiplier effect) – come into play. “Last spring when I was East Africa, I heard our graduates called the ‘EMU mafia,’” says Jenner. “It was meant as a compliment, in the sense that our extended family of peacebuilders has had a major impact on the easing of violent conflict in Africa.” In a September 27, 2007, Washington Post article, reporter John Prendergast said that after spending 25 years writing about atrocities, tyranny and famine in Africa, he wanted to write about the “hope, self-transformation and inspiration” he was seeing of late, Photo Courtesy Oasis Africa



“Africans are demanding that their voices be heard – through the ballot box, through civil society organizations, new media, revitalized political parties, and reformed institutions to provide accountability.”

People protesting the outcome of presidential elections broke into this electronics shop in Naivasha town. Afterwards, these children mopped up some of the loot.

belying “outsiders’ low expectations for the continent.” “Africans are demanding that their voices be heard – through the ballot box, through civil society organizations, new media, revitalized political parties, and reformed institutions to provide accountability,” Prendergast wrote. Despite the temporary (one hopes) lapse in Kenya last year, Washington Post journalist Craig Timberg echoed Prendergast’s optimism about Africa in an article published March 13, 2008. “Peace, however fragile, is the norm rather than war,” he wrote, citing the growing vigor of civil society and democracy in Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. Here’s an example of how peace spreads: An organization called Oasis Africa, directed by Dr. Gladys Mwiti, has partnered with the Ford Foundation to train Nairobi high school teachers in trauma counseling. Dr. Mwiti came to EMU’s STAR program in 2004 . Later, she helped field-test and refine a training manual for Youth STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience), funded by the U.S. Institute of Peace. Oasis Africa agreed to pilot test the STAR manual with youth in a Nairobi slum, with “amazing outcomes,” according to the Oasis Africa newsletter. The completed version of the Youth STAR manual arrived at Oasis Africa this year, when Jan Jenner and CJP director Lynn Roth visited Nairobi and hand-delivered the full STAR package to Dr. Mwiti. She and her staff are now using the manual in training about 114 teachers in 57 high schools in Nairobi. “It is expected that each of the 114 teachers will train 30 peer counselors,” said the Oasis Africa newsletter. This means that about 3,420 peer counselors will be trained. Each peer counselor is “mandated” to pass along his or her training to at least 30 fellow students. Here’s the math: more than 100,000 people will be impacted by Oasis Africa and its usage of the Youth STAR manual, developed by Vesna Hart (M.Ed.’04) at EMU with the help of Dr. Mwiti and many others. And this is just one of a dozen far-reaching

programs in which our alumni are involved in Kenya. Earlier versions of the trainings caused Kamiti High School, which was formerly conflict-ridden, to be “a shining example of the transformative power of this intervention,” said the newsletter. The current trainings are aimed at schools “situated in slums, such as Mathare, Kibera and Mukuru, the most affected communities during the post-election violence.” The idea is to reach “the most needy and the most affected youth, and so hope to break the cycle of trauma and anger that may in the future become a brewing ground for community violence,” explained the Oasis Africa newsletter. Oasis Africa doesn’t limit its work to schools. In response to post-election tension among its multi-ethnic employees, the management of the Coca-Cola bottling company in Nairobi endorsed a six-day program led by Oasis Africa that covered conflict resolution, peacebuilding, team building, and trauma healing. Many of the 600 Coca-Cola employees had been affected by the violence outside their workplace – injuries, loss of loved ones, loss of income and loss of their homes or other property – and they responded eagerly to the lessons offered in self- and communityhealing. Trained peacebuilders also are working with churches in Kenya. For example, Charles Nyoike Ndegwa, MA ’05, gave a speech to 100 pastors at AIC Kijabe Mission Center in late February, just a few weeks after violence in the streets had ebbed. Ndegwa challenged them to pay attention to the early warning signs of upheaval – such as the tribal divisions evident in the 2004 national referendum on changing Kenya’s constitution – and “to be fully involved in looking for solutions to the problems facing our communities.” “Burying the dead and distributing relief aid is not enough,” Ndegwa said. “Christians must do more to avert conflicts and violence... and that work should include confronting the powers that be.” Charles Nyoike Ndegwa photographed the scenes on this page and on page 17. ■ Photo by Charles Nyoike Ndegwa

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Current CJP students with ties to Kenya (from left) Dennis Oricho, Jeannine Cinco and Muigai Ndokak. Jude Fondah, pictured on the inside back cover, also has lived in Kenya.

Students at CJP Note Role of Media

tribe,” Ndokak adds. “There is a good aspect to this – in village life, everyone shares everything – so people found others who would help them in the city. “But the city has become crowded, the slums in particular. And tribes are spilling over, bumping into each other. We must find a way to address these problems that don’t pit one tribe against the other.” Four students from Kenya are at CJP now, pursuing an MA in Oricho’s mother and siblings support themselves by buying fish conflict transformation. caught in Lake Victoria, taking it to a city market, and selling it. One of these students (Jeannine Cinco) is American, but she “Some of my mother’s best customers are Kikuyu,” Oricho notes. was working in Nairobi last year at a vocational training school His family is Luo. for disadvantaged girls when the violence occurred. The girls had The violence caused their business to grind to a halt for two gone to be with their families or to their orphanages during the months. It was dangerous to walk in the streets, much less sell fish Christmas break. All the girls returned to school by mid-January, in the market. One of his brothers was caught on his way to the a week late, but most came with horrible stories, said Cinco, a market by Kikuyu youths who yelled “You are Luo!” and beat him Catholic Relief Services volunteer at that time. “We tried to help so badly, he required three days of hospitalization. them process their experiences and journey with them.” Today, the news from home is better. Oricho says his mother’s The three Kenya-based students are: Kikuyu customers have resumed buying her fish. ■ Jude Fondoh, originally from Cameroon, but most The media, says Oricho, initially fanned the flames of the conrecently a student of peace studies and international flict by news reports that made everyone more fearful and more relations at Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Kenya). determined to defend themselves – or to seek revenge. ■ Muigai Ndokak, a native of Kenya, who spent last year But gradually the media shifted, offering different stories: working with his wife Valerie at a center for rehabilitating about the member of Parliament who led a group to rebuild the street children in Moshi, Tanzania. destroyed home of a poor woman and who gave her goats to ■ Dennis Oricho, a Kenyan well educated in Catholic restart her flock; about the police officer who talked to an angry theology, who spent last year studying conflict analysis crowd and calmed them down instead of threatening them; about and resolution at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey. the Red Cross and other non-government organizations who were For Ndokak and Oricho, whose families live in areas affected trying to help the hundreds of thousands of displaced people. by the post-election violence, it was particularly hard to be on Some church leaders persuaded their members to prepare food foreign soil, too far to help their loved ones. and to share it with those previously viewed as the enemy, with “My parents could not go out of the house for five days,” said amazingly positive results. Ndokak. “They ran out of food and water.” At her girls’ vocational center in Nairobi, Cinco noticed that Asked about his ethnic group, Ndokak politely side-steps the certain radio announcers – she mentions Caroline Mutoko in question: “I prefer to simply call myself ‘Kenyan.’ We have to get particular – stayed on the air hour after hour, day after day, pleadbeyond our tribes of origin and view ourselves as equal citizens in ing with their listeners, “We’re better than this! It’s our Kenya! We one nation. have to stop killing each other!” “When people settled into Nairobi, they seemed to settle by ■


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Photo by Jon Styer



EMU-Linked Folks in Kenya

Nuria Abdullah Abdi

Priscilla Adoyo

Hizkias Assefa

Nuria Abdullah Abdi (MA ’07) works for International Peacebuilding Alliance (Interpeace), a UN-affiliated organization (, where she is the program manager for Eastern and Central Africa, in charge of strengthening the role of women in peacebuilding and decisionmaking through participatory processes. Priscilla Adoyo (MA ’03) recently completed a PhD at Fuller Theological Seminary in California and is teaching at the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. Hizkias Assefa is EMU professor of conflict studies. See page 16 of this magazine and “Assefa Nurtures Cease-Fire in Uganda” in the fall/winter 2006 issue of Peacebuilder at Babu Ayindo (MA ’98) is a global consultant. See page 15 of this magazine. Jim Bowman (MA ’03) and his wife Cathy (Grad Cert ’02) were representing Mennonite Central Committee in Kenya when the post-election violence hit. In partnership with churches, the Bowmans helped provide personal hygiene items and foods for thousands of displaced people.

Charles Nyoike Ndegwa

Anne Nyambura

Babu Ayindo

Jim Bowman

John Katunga (MA ’05) works for Catholic Relief Services as technical advisor for peacebuilding and justice in East Africa. He and other EMU-linked personnel have played a key role in CRSsponsored “Leadership in Peacebuilding” workshops in South Sudan. Karimi Kinoti (MA ’02), recently completed a PhD at Bradford University in the United Kingdom and works for Christian Aid in Kenya. Charles Nyoike Ndegwa (MA ’05) consults on conflict issues from his base in Nairobi, with a particular focus on the ways that the media can be used to promote sustainable peace. Anne Nyambura (MA ’06) is from Kenya but works as program manager for Mercy Corps, focusing on promoting peace and reconciliation in neighboring Somalia. Doreen Ruto (MA ’06) works for USAID’s Office of Transitional Initiatives. More on pages 14 and 15. Emmanuel Lesiri Ole Sayiorry (MA ’07) is teaching conflict transformation and peacebuilding at Daystar University.

Doreen Ruto

Emmanuel Lesiri Ole Sayiorry

John Katunga

Karimi Kinoti

Ngoriakou Joseph Riwongole (MA ’06) is working in the Kenya office of Catholic Relief Services. Jebiwot Sumbeiywo (MA ’04) is the continental coordinator of Coalition for Peace in Africa, a membership network of individuals and organizations working for sustainable peace in Africa. Tecla Wanjala (MA ’03) is deputy chief of party of the Kenya branch of PACT, a large U.S.-based peacebuilding organization. More than 50 people working in Kenya have received training at EMU’s annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Additional numbers have been educated in other EMU programs, particularly at the undergraduate level and in Eastern Mennonite Seminary. As an example, Clair E. Good, a 2002 seminary graduate, and his wife Beth, a 2003 nursing grad, returned to Kenya during the January ’08 violence. In Clair’s capacity as Africa representative of Eastern Mennonite Missions, Clair worked with Beth to help distribute emergency EMM funds to associated churches. They witnessed Mennonite bishops and other church leaders “risk love” by reaching out to people perceived as “the other,” even inspiring church members to buy food and feed “the enemy.” In sharing food, both sides in the conflict were honoring each other – one in giving, the other in accepting the gift.

Ngoriakou Joseph Riwongole

Jebiwot Sumbeiywo

Tecla Wanjala

peacebuilder ■ 21

Faculty 2008 Highlights David Brubaker, PhD Position Academic director of CJP and EMU associate professor of organizational studies. Focus in 2008 Responding to increasing demand for training and consulting services, both within Mennonite organizations and more broadly, drawing on 20-plus years of study and experience in workplace mediation and training and in organizational conflict. Highlights Two presentations at the annual meeting of the Association of Conflict Resolution. Major publications Book in progress entitled Promise and Peril: Managing Change and Conflict in Congregations, scheduled to be published in early 2009 by the Alban Institute. Major work-related trips One training session in Myanmar/Burma, sponsored by Hope International, and a three-day training in Egypt on “managing community and congregational conflict,” sponsored by the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services. (CJP colleague Barry Hart also went on this CEOSS-sponsored trip to Egypt and led a training in trauma healing.)


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Lisa Schirch, PhD Position Director of the 3D Security Initiative and EMU professor of peacebuilding. Focus in 2008 Promoting conflict prevention and peacebuilding as alternative U.S. security strategies. Highlights Organized three conferences between peacebuilding organizations and U.S. military and governmental agencies, such as the Army War College, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Joint Forces Command, State Department, Catholic Relief Services, and Iraqis and Afghans studying at EMU, with the objective of creating new relationships and forging new ideas in U.S. policymaking. Major publications Ten policy briefs detailing the relevance of peacebuilding to U.S. public policy issues, such as immigration, Africa, Iran, and Iraq. Also a Washington Post/Newsweek online article in April, “The Two Wars in Iraq: Ours and Theirs.” Major work-related trips Workshops in Amman, Jordan, with Iraqi community development and humanitarian aid groups. Weekly trips to Washington D.C. to meet with Congressional offices, branches of the military, the State Department and others willing to consider conflict prevention and peacebuilding as security strategies. Keynote speaker at several national conferences on the U.S. coasts, including Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Women in Security Conference, and the Presbyterian Peace Conference.

Nancy Good Sider, PhD , LCSW

Howard Zehr, PhD Position Editor of the Little Books of Justice & Peacebuilding and EMU professor of restorative justice.

Position Founding partner / therapist at Newman Avenue Associates (mediation, psychotherapy, consultation) and EMU associate professor of trauma and conflict studies. Focus in 2008 Trauma specialist offering trauma-healing interventions using Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing and post-traumatic growth emphasis; circle process in family traumas; retreat leader for peaceworker care and resiliency; diversity workshops and race-related facilitations. Highlights “Celebrating a Diverse Workplace and Transforming Conflicts” at James Madison University (Virginia); mediation training at Washington & Lee University (Virginia) for third-year law students; family and community mediation trainings at Baltimore (Maryland) Mediation Center; several mediations with church leaders and family businesses; course in trauma at American University in Washington D.C. Major work-related trips Lead facilitator for cross-regional community trauma healing symposium held in Amman, Jordan, with participants from Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, the Great Lakes Region in Africa and the Balkans. Sponsored by American Friends Service Committee, symposium emphasized spirituality and trauma healing. Worker care and networking during July with CJP graduates and partners in Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine.

Focus in 2008 Restorative justice; crime victims; sentencing. Highlights Lectures at the Stanford Law School in California. Keynote speaker at restorative justice conferences in Des Moines, Iowa, and Oakland, California. Talks at Ashland University in Ohio and Grinnell College in Iowa. Plenary speaker at U.S. Sentencing Commission symposium on alternatives to incarceration and on the death penalty at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. Organized (using $30,000 award money) the “Koru Project,” which collected the experiences of CJP graduates in restorative justice. Appointed to the Victim Advisory Group of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. (Overseas highlights below.) Major publications Book in progress, based on photo-journalism exhibit entitled “When a Parent Is In Prison.” Book forwards and chapters, such as intro to Changing Paradigms: Punishment and Restorative Discipline by Paul Rededop (Herald Press, 2008). Major work-related trips Launch of Portuguese edition of Changing Lenses in Brazil, with April speaking tour, media interviews, lectures to law students, law professionals and judges. In September, three-week return visit to New Zealand, hosted by the Restorative Justice Centre at the Auckland Institute of Technology, with a keynote to the national restorative justice conference and presentations to other groups.

Note Missing from this round-up: Professor Jayne Docherty, PhD, has been on sabbatical during 2008.

peacebuilder ■ 23

Barry Hart: Local and Global Leadership For more than 25 years, Barry Hart has exerted quiet leadership in the field of conflict transformation – it’s the kind that attracts little attention to the leader, but permits those around him to grow into their own leadership roles. At EMU, Barry Hart is a professor of trauma, identity and conflict studies, holding a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University. He is also known as the person who launched EMU’s University Accord program, under which parties in conflict within the campus community can seek help from a trained mediator and work toward a positive outcome. In the surrounding city and county, Hart is known as a founder of one of the first community mediation centers in Virginia. Since 2002 he has served on the board of the Community Mediation Center of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and Greater Augusta County. Further afield – in Europe – Hart is a founding member and current academic director of the 17-year-old Caux Scholars Program in Caux, Switzerland ( Under this program, two dozen university and graduate students from around the world gather for four weeks each summer in a beautiful mountain house owned by Initiatives of Change. There they delve into conflict transformation and analysis, trauma healing and justice, leadership and culture. Through his Caux Scholars leadership, Hart has nurtured 300 alumni from 85 countries, many of whom have gone on to play prominent roles in such fields as academics, politics, international organizations, and yet many of them “become wise through their experiences and grassroots initiatives. lend their wisdom to peacebuilding efforts in their communities This year Hart is one of the planners for a summer 2009 confer- and around the world.” ence on human security in Geneva, Switzerland. “We anticipate Hart is working on a joint project between EMU’s Practice and the conference will attract top-level government officials, dipTraining Institute and the University of Hargeisa in Somaliland to lomats, media experts, economists, and other leaders, as well as establish an Institute for Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding people working on the middle and grassroots levels,” says Hart. in Somaliland. The conference is expected to cover how human security is imHart’s latest accomplishment is the editing of a 362-page book pacted by the environment, the media, and the global economy, destined to be widely used in conflict transformation classrooms among other topics. – Peacebuilding in Traumatized Societies, published in the spring of Finally, on a global scale, Hart is known for responding to 2008 by University Press of America (at requests for workshops on trauma healing and reconciliation. This book – containing 14 chapters by He has led sessions in the Balkans, where he lived for five years, experts in peacebuilding – examines trauma, as well as in Northern Ireland, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, identity, security, education and developUganda, Kenya, Tanzania (among Rwandan refugees), Burundi, ment as central issues related to breaking Somaliland, Egypt, Malaysia, and Indonesia. the cycle of violence and building peace in These workshops have attracted diverse people – teachers, solfragile, conflict-torn societies. The relationdiers, police officers, religious leaders, politicians and civil society ships of transitional justice, leadership, actors. Participants often “have experienced (or caused) the vioreligion, and the arts to peacebuilding are lence of war – the breaking of the human bond,” says Hart, also covered. ■ 24

■ peacebuilder

fall/winter 2008

Photo by Jon Styer

sponsor a peacebuilder People around the world are working – some quietly and some not so quietly – for peace and justice in their communities. Many of those people come to EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) to learn skills and share ideas. Preeti Thapa, Asia Foundation, Nepal

“The learning I have received here has been life changing. I hope to give back to my communities the knowledge to build a culture of peace.”

Jude Fondoh, Cameroon / Kenya

“It was like the world converging in Harrisonburg to see how we can make the world a better place for all.”

Nang Raw, Fulbright Scholar, Burma / Myanmar

“I feel very much empowered by SPI, because it reaffirms and reminds me that I am not alone. We Burmese peacebuilders are not alone.”

Give the gift of peace by sponsoring a peacebuilder! If you would like to support peacebuilders like these to attend the Summer Peacebuilding Institute, we invite you to do so online at: You may also mail donations to the address below.

SPI – Sponsor EMU Office of Development 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg, VA 22802


The Summer Peacebuilding Institute is a program of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

Harrisonburg, Va.

center for justice and peacebuilding 2009 Schedule of Events Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI)

Graduate Program in Conflict Transformation

Seminars in Organizational Leadership

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

Contact Janelle Myers-Benner at if you are interested in enrolling in graduate classes. www.emu/edu/cjp/grad

$79/seminar or $399/series of six seminars; 9 a.m – noon. www.emu/emu/seminarseries

 May 4-12 Session I

 May 14-22 Session II

 May 26-June 3 Session III

 June 8-12 Session IV

Seminars in Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) More information on fees and descriptions of seminar levels is online at: www.emu/edu/star

 February 16-20 STAR Level I

 March 23-29 STAR Level II

 June 8-12 STAR Level I (during SPI)

 September 14-18 STAR Level I

 January 23 Leading Healthy Organizations in a Changing Environment

 January 30 Cultural Awareness Matters: Effective Communication in Today’s Diverse Workplace

 February 6 Building Your Business and Your Integrity

 March 13 Transforming Interpersonal and Group Conflict

 March 20 Leadership: Why Relationships Matter in Building a Quality Organization

 April 3 Planning and Leading Group Decision-Making

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


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