Building Hope: Muslims, Christians and Jews Seeking the Common Good

I will be in Yale, June 13-23, 2011 where the Reconciliation Program will host a strategic conference of influential, mid-career Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders.

Approximately ten leaders from each faith community, men and women with a proven record of leadership and clear future potential have been chosen to attend this international gathering focused on seeking the common good. Participants have been carefully chosen by senior leaders in each faith community as representing those mid-career leaders most likely to be exercising the widest influence in their communities in 10-15 years from now.

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WWJD? A Nonviolent Conflict Resolution for Palestine

Published in the Huffington Post June 2, 2011

How could a person living under military occupation, experiencing first-hand suffering and humiliation, even think about loving the enemy, let alone urge family, friends and neighbors to do the same? This challenging message came from a young rabbi named Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount.”

Of course, Jesus could have suggested we make peace with our enemies or negotiate peace agreements or peacefully resolve conflict; those statements would have been as shocking to the suffering Jews of that time. Instead, he entreated them to go further: to “love” them. This was the word he chose — a command to all those who seek to follow him.

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Just Peace Campaign

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I have just returned from the United Kingdom where I was one of several speakers at the Annual Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham (27-30 August). Greenbelt (www.greenbelt.org.uk) describes itself as an “independent Christian festival working to express love, creativity and justice in the arts and contemporary culture in the light of the Christian gospel.” It was a great honor and privilege to be with thousands upon thousands of people seeking to discover how we can truly live God’s word in today’s world.

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Palestine Summer Encounter 2009

Palestine Summer Encounter is a one to three month service learning and cultural immersion program in Bethlehem, Palestine. Participants study Arabic in and outside of the classroom setting, live with a Palestinian host family, volunteer and meet with both Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers.

http://www.palestinesummer.org

The April 23rd registration deadline for the Palestine Summer Encounter program is rapidly approaching. We encourage anyone hoping to join us this summer to apply as soon as possible to reserve their spot in the program.

There will also be some exciting changes this year:

1) We are now awarding a limited number of needs-based scholarships in the amount of $1,000. Info. and the scholarship application is at:
http://www.palestinesummer.org/peacefellows

These scholarships are still available! Please encourage anyone you think might be interested to apply.

2) We’re extending the academic focus of the program beyond Arabic. Participants will now also be able to participate in academic tracts like Nonviolence, Theology and the Land and the Politics of the Region. These tracts can be taken instead of, or in conjunction with, the arabic class.

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SPREAD THE WORD!

a) Print out flyers
http://www.palestinesummer.org/download-flyer

b) Post it to your profile
On your profile page next to “update status” click on “Post Link” and then add this URL:
http://www.palestinesummer.org

We are also running a parallel volunteer program in Syria this summer. More info. at:
http://www.syriasummer.org

Thanks guys! Keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Peter Ryan
Middle East Fellowship
http://www.middleeastfellowship.org
(714) 529-1926
peter@middleeastfellowship.org

Personal Reflection on Gaza… A letter I Wrote to Friends….

In this period I did not take on an opportunity to travel to the peace research village in Tamera Portugal and be with a group of close friends that are engaging in a deep process to build what will be a Peace Research Village (PRV) in the Middle East…. For many reasons I was not able to travel, today I sent them the following reflection:

Dear beloved, dear community…

… I acknowledge that I am doing nothing and acknowledge that my presence here is not providing any relief to those in Gaza who are suffering or in the West Bank who are growing in hopelessness.

My presence here is mostly important for my internal development and growth and in preparing for the future, a future where real opportunities for peaceful coexistence based on equality are made available to all. Since this war on Gaza began, I have been in a deep process to distinguish my own emotions and reactions and even interpretations and identity from the reality, but more important it has been a process to distinguish the nails in my feet from my responsibilities for the future.

I hear and sense the pain and my heart breaks with the cry of every mother or father that lost a child or a child that lost a parent. At one point every time I saw a child from Gaza on television I saw the face of my daughters, Layaar or Larina.

Continue reading “Personal Reflection on Gaza… A letter I Wrote to Friends….”