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August 13, 2012
The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America exceeded its goal of $8,800 and raised $9,137.32 for Conflict Transformation trainings at the Seminario Intercultural Mayense (SIM), or Mayan Intercultural Seminary, in Chiapas, Mexico. Working closely with other organizations in Chiapas that share values of peace rooted in justice, SIM intends to provide training for indigenous leaders, develop leaders capable of managing intercultural conflicts, and create strategies for promoting a culture of peace.
This will complement the training SIM already provides by equipping young Mayan leaders to train their people, particularly children and youth, in Conflict Transformation and non-violence. There will also be a particular emphasis on involving young women in the training and recognizing the ability of women as agents of social change.
“We are thrilled by the response from BPFNA members and supporters in funding this project,” says BPFNA Board Member, Karen Turner, who joined a group of SIM students on a journey from Chiapas to El Salvador in 2011. “SIM has a long-standing relationship with the BPFNA. The pilgrimage to El Salvador, which was largely funded by BPFNA, focused on understanding the causes and events of the civil war in the 1980s, and the participants were able to see many parallels to the current situation in Chiapas. They all came away with a new commitment to waging peace in Chiapas so a similarly tragic situation does not occur. This training will facilitate so much in their peacemaking journey.”
The training will combine traditional and nontraditional methods, such as the use of photography and videography, which will portray a specifically indigenous recording of the human rights violations and “low intensity warfare” experienced daily in these communities. One of the main objectives is also to develop manuals and resources for those trained to go on to train others.
The additional money will go toward funding a Latin American Peace Conference, planned for January 2013, which will bring together delegates from Mexico, Central America and Puerto Rico. Proposed by Ricardo Mayol of SIM and former BPFNA board member, Edgar Palacios, this conference would draw together peace-focused Latin American and Caribbean churches that could support one another to effectively understand and respond to the challenges of peace in every country in the region.
Click here to give toward the Latin American Peace Conference or send a payment to the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, 4800 Wedgewood Dr, Charlotte, NC 28210.