Sharing stories from our global community of visionaries
Euphrates Annual Review 2016-17
Despite headlines of war, violence, and conflict, there is another story of a community of visionaries around the world building peace.
From our ‘Visionary of the Year’, pioneer peacebuilders Libby and Len Traubman, who have nearly 30 years of experience in facilitating dialogues, to the “listening tour” we conducted this summer in India and Egypt and on-line with our 30 Chapters, we are deepening the power of connection and community to energize and sustain this work that is so needed in our world today.
We’re excited to share a sampling of the inspiring stories from our Chapters with you. Enjoy reading our 2016-17 Annual Review in full here!
Choosing love over hatred
It would have been easy to pursue revenge and to harbor hatred after losing his brother in Liberia’s civil war. However, Victor Garpulee did not follow that path. His love for people had the upper hand, and he chose instead to promote peace in his community by educating youth. If we wish to experience peace in our communities, he believes we must “build together as brothers and sisters.” At the end of the day “we are people and we are interconnected,” Victor says, and “…together we can make it better.”
Belonging to a global family
Sohini and her chapter in Kolkata are changemakers in their community, from launching a well well-received social media campaign during U.N. Interfaith Harmony Week and introducing peacebuilding skills to young students at schools in their area. Sohini credits being part of Euphrates as helping her realize for the first time that she can make a difference. “I am immensely grateful to the Euphrates family for teaching me skills I will cherish all my life,” she said recently. “The art of deep listening and community-building through dialogue has opened up for me a range of ways to connect and be a changemaker in my community.”
Building peace through collaboration
As founder of Volunteering for Peace in Palestine, a non-profit organization dedicated to interfaith and intercultural bridge building among Palestinian youth, Tareq al-Tamimi has committed his life to peace-building. To celebrate this year’s International Day of Peace, VFP in Palestine organized a roundtable discussion, where those involved discussed what peace looks like. Many yearned to live at least one day in real peace. Tareq sees the importance of collaboration in order to achieve this goal and values his membership in Euphrates.
Taking risks for a better future
Peacebuilding is not an easy feat. Often it requires sacrifice and moral courage, but those involved are mission-driven and deeply committed. Abdul Ismail has chosen to promote peace through the use of education in an area where ISIS is aggressively recruiting young people. Describing the danger of ignorance, he says, “Our community in general does not know about the West. We only know about it through media and Hollywood movies, which show the West as a land of gangs, drugs and violence. Our community believes the Christian West hates the Muslims, and no good comes from this belief. Simply put, our community in general does not know the West. This is why ISIS has the chance to recruit innocent young people.” Abdul believes that addressing these misconceptions will aid in the effort to halt terrorism and he is committed to this mission for peace.
Bridging divides in rural America
This small city in northern California is now the seat of the Euphrates Institute’s headquarters as well as a local Chapter. Redding has its fair share of local issues that need peacebuilding, from the red-blue political tensions that plague the country to the lack of diversity and global awareness typical of a rural population. To counter this, local chapter members strive to put a human face on the ‘Other,’ through hosting presentations by Muslim exchange students, Middle East film screenings and dialogue workshops.