Saturday, June 6, 2015

Serving without titles

Today has been a busy day with many sessions, panel discussions, lots of yummy food and deep conversations. The day started with an honourable guest coming to speak to us all, the High Commissioner Geoff Doidge. Geoff is from South Africa and spoke about his experiences growing up and living in the apartheid South Africa. He further expounded upon the nonviolent activism he is involved in South Africa: “Non-violent action unfolded on many fronts, civil disobedience, boycotts, workers strikes and demonstrations. These unconventional acts used in unison began to make South Africa uncontrollable and ungovernable… It was the efforts of these movements, along with international support, that brought down full scale sanctions, and forced the government into negotiations.”
We had our first EC Series today. Movement Building Moderator, Hannah Simon-Girrard facilitated the panel, with panellists Kanji Mbugua from Kenya, Nawaz from Pakistan and Prashan de Visser. They spoke about connecting with your place, your team and your people. The delegates had many questions to ask them and were inspired by what the panel had to say.
After a lot of time spent sitting and listening, a well-deserved lunch was enjoyed by all.
The afternoon saw more intensive conversations with a panel of four people speaking about the work they are doing with their organisations in their home countries. Fatima Mullick from Pakistan, Lydia Nundak from Egypt, Pascal Magareoulino from the Congo and Christopher Neu from America shared their stories. A range of topics were discussed such as the use of technology to advance communities, how to alleviate poverty, sustainable development, how to work in challenging and diverse environments and how to deal with threats when doing nonviolent peace work.
Next the delegates split into four groups, with representatives of different countries pairing together with those who are from countries facing similar situations. The four groups were ‘countries currently in conflict,’ ‘countries with upcoming elections,’ ‘countries in post-conflict situations,’ and ‘the causes of conflict.’
The night ended with an amazing performance by Kanji, some hip-hop from Rajeev and some sensational music famous the Sri Lanka singer Randhir. It was a lovely way to end the night with lots of singing and dancing enjoyed by all!

By Jasmine Pilbrow

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