We wish you peace, hope, and light this holiday season
Updates from Euphrates Chapters bringing peace on earth to light
Kinshasa, DR Congo
We are pleased to welcome our newest Chapter in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo! Their purpose is to engage their community in sustained dialogue to promote non-violence and peace, and to create an inclusive world. They recently hosted a dialogue between albinos and non-albinos to help heal that relationship. Albinos have long been the victims of violence and discrimination, but these face-to-face conversation serve to promote respect, dignity, and acceptance. As the Chapter leader, Elesse Banfandjo, says “We work as peacebuilders in order to break down barriers and build bridges.” Elesse was connected to Euphrates through our 2017 Visionaries, Len and Libby Traubman, and has been using their model of communication to facilitate dialogues for the past five years.
Powers Catholic High School, Michigan
Many generations have attempted to combat the pervasive problem of bullying. PCHS Euphrates has taken up that torch in an attempt to give the decades long struggle a happy ending. Prior to Thanksgiving break, Euphrates members sold homemade bracelets for $1 with the signing of an anti-bullying pledge. Over 130 students pledged to be kind to others in person, online, and to speak up for those who are victims of name calling or abuse. The Euphrates club seeks to promote peace and heal divisions in every facet of their high school culture. The promise to promote peace goes a long way in making Powers an even better place.
Principia College, Illinois
In November, the Principia Euphrates Chapter and Half the Sky Club partnered to host “Gender Paradigms in the Middle East.” The panel of distinguished professors spoke on the need to study localized examples to better understand the larger context in each country in the region, and that understanding gender roles and cultural norms requires not comparing them to Western ideals or values. The conversation flowed naturally as each professor brought unique insights and connected their ideas to one another, which made for an informative and enjoyable evening!
Members of the Seattle Chapter had the privilege of attending a talk titled, “Faith over Fear: Standing with our Muslim Neighbors” featuring two local individuals, Aneelah Afzali, Founder and CEO of American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN), and Terry Kyllo, a Lutheran minister. This dynamic duo has formed an interfaith team that travels around Washington state, leading discussions on overcoming Islamophobia, and speaking to a wide variety of groups. A few weeks later, several Seattle Chapter members were given a tour of the second largest mosque on the west coast, which is the headquarters for the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS). Aneelah welcomed them to afternoon prayers, explained the basic tenets of Islam, and gave them free copies of the Quran. The Chapter has visited MAPS before, shared in their Iftar feast, and attended a sign rededication ceremony when the former one was vandalized.
In November, members of the Chapter in Lagos, Nigeria attended the annual conference for the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators. This year’s theme was “Myth and Reality of Agitations: The Place of Consensus,” which promoted mediation as the preferred method of resolving disputes and a vehicle for political, religious, and tribal harmony in Nigeria. Distinguished governors, senators, and professors gave talks throughout the event and discussed the steps for consensus building.
The Redding Chapter recently hosted a “Pop the Bubble” workshop on difficult conversations facilitated by Kern Beare. The workshop explores a powerful set of principles and strategies that help people to engage in meaningful dialogue. It brought together over 80 people from diverse sectors of the Redding community and was very well-received–in fact, the workshop is coming back by popular demand in February!