After eight incredibly inspiring and rewarding years, I have decided to leave Peace Direct.
During my time at Peace Direct I have consistently seen the terrible consequences of war, devastating entire societies and often waged for the selfish gain of a few. And too often, it seems, the world is too easily able to ignore atrocities and the unimaginable suffering of so many. In that sense, I have spent many years witnessing the worst of humanity.
Yet, when I look at my time at Peace Direct, it is not the worst of humanity that defines it, but the best of humanity. It is defined by all of the courageous local peacebuilders that we have worked with, risking their lives for something better for their communities.
It is defined by tolerance, acceptance and a tireless commitment to making the world a better place. An incredible belief that it is everyone’s duty to help others and that the senselessness of war can be overcome, one person at a time.
Of course, it has seemed overwhelming at times and the work of Peace Direct alone will not end the wars in the world. But what Peace Direct and its partners demonstrate, is the strength that comes when local peacebuilders are truly able to lead and what can be achieved when the international community and those local peacebuilders combine their efforts in equal partnership.
It is to Peace Direct’s credit that it has always had a self-awareness; always questioning how and where it can add value and, importantly, understanding where it cannot. This has fostered a genuine respect from partners, a respect that is deeply reciprocated.
Even as I leave Peace Direct, I will always be a part of the Peace Direct family and I hope that family one day becomes a movement, a truly globalised movement that links the east and the west, the north and the south; linking people together who believe the same thing – that if we all start to see peace as possible, it will be.
With the current shake-up of the world order, the rise of extremism in all corners of the planet and tolerance, respect and humanity itself challenged by all sides, we must all take heed of Peace Direct’s partners and embody their sense of duty and activism.
We must not take for granted the peace that does exist and we must all come forward to play our role in these worrying times. For no matter where we live, in today’s world, we are all local peacebuilders now.