To be part of the process

My name is Rachel and I am from the North East of England. I attended both Peace Work Institute in Istanbul and Yerevan. I started in Peace Work through the Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCA and was asked to share my experiences with the European Peace Movement.

IMG_5823As well as sharing my experiences I attend the Peace Work Institute as a participant. In Yerevan I was very honored to be asked to be part of the planning team for Strasbourg.

I feel privileged to be a member of the peace work institute when its main aims are around the Balkans and Caucasus and the post conflict, reconciliation work that is going on there.

I am not from this region nor did I have a good understanding of the conflict in Eastern Europe until recently, until the Peace Work Institute.

To be part of the process and part of the peace work in Europe, for me, is not only about this level of peace but peace on all levels; between people and within people.

It is often said that England and participants from England represent a neutral country in all the situations. For me, this cannot be true. To be neutral, you take the side of the oppressor. Being neutral is to painful for me, when I hear the stories of the brave and inspiring participants, friends of Peace Work Institute, England is not neutral, I am not neutral. I do feel that, as English participants, we can bring something to the table. In Yerevan, being part of the Tandem Grant for Nagorno Karabagh was an honor and I admire the bravery of the participants and friends of those that told their story. I still carry it with me daily and imagine I will carry it with me for a long time to come.

Peace is not a destination but a journey and one I have already traveled far on it thanks to the Peace Work Institute. I work with young people on a daily basis and the learning from the PWI has enabled me to share that with them so that they can live their life in a do no harm manner and start on that journey of peace.

It is thanks to the facilitators and participants, my friends, that make the PWI an inspiring place to be and I leave feeling energised and motivated and dread that conference come down! Thank you to YMCA Europe and England for the opportunity and experience.

Rachel Dyne, PWI participant, England, 24 year old

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