It was a rainy Friday evening but the community hall in Surrey was gratifyingly full. For the past 20 years, our parish of Buckland has held regular ‘One World’ gatherings to discuss contemporary issues. Perhaps because Syria is so top of mind, people were clearly interested to find out ‘Who’s keeping the Peace’ – the title of my talk.
It has been my great privilege to be associated with Peace Direct, via co-founder Scilla Elworthy, from its inception in 2004, and to have worked closely in the field with some of the peacebuilders that Peace Direct has supported. Tonight was an opportunity to relate what I have learned from the late Kenyan peacebuilder Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, and to share her video description of peace as an egg – an image that caught the imagination of the audience.
To quote Dekha:
Another global thinker but local implementor is Asha Haji Elmi from Somalia. At one time, Peace Direct, together with Womankind where I was chair, were the only organisations that would support grassroots women peacebuilders in Somalia like Asha. Our conviction that it was important to do so has been proven right: Asha is now in an influential political position, and the Al Jazeera documentary ‘Sisters of Somalia’, which follows her work, affirms just what some encouragement and support can do for human rights defenders like her, who are willing to put themselves on the line.
It is this principle of thinking global but working local that is the great strength of Peace Direct. Judging by the engaged questions and lovely discussions that ensued after my talk, this work resonates with the audience. The modest but heartfelt proceeds of the evening will go to support Peace Direct’s work. Thank you for what you do.
If you are interested in holding an event for Peace Direct, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch with Ruth on [email protected] or 020 7549 0285