Upon applying for one of the Peace Work Institute, I was nervous and excited, I wasn’t sure what I would experience. Now, I can truly say each project has blown my expectations out of the water. I was met with wonderful, friendly, intelligent peacemakers who have now become my dear friends.
I have learnt vastly about peace work happening right now in countries with people I have met through the PWI. This has given me so much inspiration to take back home and I desire to start to apply it within my community of Northern Ireland.
I really enjoyed activities and workshops we did, such as looking at country stereotypes and conflicts we each face with. These are very effective and benecial activities that I can use with our young people. I have enjoyed learning engaging energizers and about interesting online campaigns from other countries.
During Budapest and Toledo events, we looked at YMCA branding, which interesting and motivating. I bring back this knowledge to my national board meetings and we expand on these discussions. Roots for Reconciliation has played a vital role in my life.
Before taking part in the Peace Work Institute events, I was unsure of my true vision in life, how could I really contribute to this world with the things I am passionate about? Upon meeting the Roots family, I became aware for the first time that there are real people in the world striving for peace among their people and countries and taking real steps to achieve this. This was amazing! Finally I found a group of people who have a heart for peace and reconciliation in conflict areas. Finally, I found a group of people where I could see my passion aligning with. Now I am aware of history, personal anecdotes and current issues in countries that I had before been oblivious to. What will be forever inside my heart is the amazing friends I have encountered along my journey and still keep in close contact with. Through PWI, I have felt a range of emotions with these wonderful people: joy, contentment, peace, sadness when listening to people’s pain, freedom and inspiration.
There have been so many moments during PWI that I have felt so full of joy and so alive knowing this is something truly special to be a part of. YMCA Ireland has greatly benefitted from having a young leader involved in PWI. Every project I bring back means learning and we investigate how we can apply it. Within YMCA Ireland as we are always inspired by our fellow countries ‘peace work and how we can apply it into our communities. For the future, my hope is to establish international youth exchanges between the Rooters I have met through PWI.
I have a passion to encourage more peace work programmes for our young people in YMCA Ireland, especially in the North. I am forever grateful for my first application that was accepted as I never expected it would change my life so much. I also hope to stay connected to Roots for Reconciliation through all my time with YMCA as it is truly one of a kind organization.
Nikita Magee, Ireland – Participant of the PWI 2018 P.E.A.C.E event in Budapest and PWI 2019 event in Toledo
More testimonials available in our Peacework Guidebook.