By Marc Eliot Stein, February 24, 2022
We gathered together on Monday, February 21 – a day that was already tense with news of continued escalation to war in Ukraine. Our goal was to record a podcast about Peace Education and Action for Impact, an exciting new program that our four guests had led creative projects for. It was a morning meeting for me and Brittney Woodrum and Anni Carracedo, but a mid-afternoon meeting for Stephanie Effevottu, who was calling in from Nigeria, and Iryna Bushmina, who was calling in from Kyiv, Ukraine.
We were here to talk about team-building, the creative process, the ways that team leaders learn to use their gifts of conflict resolution to solve small misunderstandings between team members, and the lessons that can be gleaned from this on a larger scale as we watch our planet stumble over and over through the same conflicts, the same shallow misunderstandings and deep hatreds, the same wars that only breed more wars.
There was a special undertone to this conversation because one of us was calling in from Kyiv, a city under threat of a fast escalating proxy war between nuclear superpowers. We didn’t avoid this topic, but we also didn’t want it to shift us away from our positive educational agenda. Iryna Bushmina was the first to speak, and the calm in her voice projected a larger truth: in times of crisis, activists stick together and help each other.
The conversation we had, along with Dr. Phill Gittins, the founder and mastermind of Peace Education and Action for Impact and the education director for World BEYOND War, was rich and complex. We heard about why each of our guests had originally been motivated to get involved in peacebuilding, and about the four peace projects each of them had led. Two of these projects are music-related, and samples of these projects can be heard in this podcast episode. The credits for the first audio track heard in this episode are: Maria Montilla, Maria G. Inojosa, Sita de Abreu, Sophia Santi, Romina Trujillo, Anniela Carracedo, with mentors and coordinators Ivan Garcia, Marietta Perroni, Susan Smith. The second audio track heard in this episode is the work of the Peace Achords.
It meant a lot to me to hear from these energetic and optimistic young people as they navigate through their own careers and global interests. Our planet is blessed with great human beings who wish for peace – thank you to Iryna Bushmina from Ukraine, Stephanie Effevottu from Nigeria, Brittney Woodrum from USA and Anniela Carracedo for sharing their thoughts and ideas with us, and to Dr. Phill Gittins and also World BEYOND War’s Greta Zarro and Rachel Small, who kick off this episode by telling us about the Water & War Film Festival we are presenting next month.
The Peace Education and Action for Impact program is a collaborative venture between two prominent peacebuilding organizations/groups: World BEYOND War and the Rotary Action Group for Peace.
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