“We all pretend that someone else is the stumbling block to peace...Could that someone be myself?” - Anna Abdallah Msekwa, Tanzanian leader, inspirer of Creators of Peace

 

How did this initiative start? 

 

Creators of Peace (CoP) is a global women’s peace initiative that was launched in 1991 at the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux, Switzerland, by Anna Abdallah Msekwa, a respected politician and trailblazer of women-led organisations in Tanzania. In her inaugural speech she made a call to action to “create peace wherever we are, in our hearts, our homes, our workplace and our community. We all pretend that someone else is the stumbling block … could that someone be myself?”

From India, Vijayalakshmi Subrahmanyan (fondly called Viji), played a major role in building the Creators of Peace movement. Initially, her engagement was at an international level, participating in conferences and supporting women leaders from other countries. In 2001, at a peace conference at Asia Plateau, the idea of having peace circles came up, wherein women could talk about what was important to them around the dining table. Jean Brown, from Australia, prepared some material for small group discussions and over time developed a structured design of 10 gathering points for Peace Circles, which could be held by other facilitators. In addition, two more elders, Christine Iralu and Leena Khatri have made valuable contributions to the movement in the South Asia region. 

The first CoP Peace Circle in India was held in 2015, followed by a training of facilitators. In 2016, Vinitika Lal was elected as a national coordinator for India, and some work with marginalized women’s groups began. Since 2020, there has been momentum to come together as a community and to work together to take Peace Circles to more groups and regions. 

 

What is the intention?

 

Creators of Peace is a global movement to empower women to be radical peace-builders, starting with themselves. It supports women to: 

  • Engage in the creation of peace at every level of society
  • Share responsibility for their part in conflict and in its resolution

  • Create opportunities for healing themselves, their relationships, their communities 
  • Build networks of friendship across racial, religious and social divides

In India, we recognise that we live in a context of dominance, violence, patriarchy and oppression based on caste, gender, religion, etc, which especially affects women and vulnerable communities. At the same time, we see that women bring a very different perspective and strength to address these very issues - the power of listening, empathy, authenticity and inclusion. The intention is for more women to recognize and step into their potential and calling as creators of peace, from a place of being deeply connected to themselves, to each other and the earth. 

 

How is the program designed? 

 

One of the key offerings of Creators of Peace is a Peace Circle (otherwise referred to as ‘circles’ on this page). 

 

Peace Circles are small, localized gatherings of women, spread over a few days. The process involves sharing our life stories and being heard in an atmosphere of trust and respect that deepens our understanding of each other. We also explore our understanding of peace and build our peace creating capabilities through exercises and practices done together. The guided processes include: 

  • Exploring our understanding of peace, what supports and what destroys it
  • Becoming aware of our pains and concerns, in our lives and communities
  • Building our capacities for inner listening and listening to each other
  • Identifying possibilities for action, on our own and together

 

Specific details: 

  • Group sizes are between 8-12 women
  • Circles are held in a safe, intimate space
  • Duration of circles is usually about 20 hours - for example, over 3 days/two weekends in-person, or 6-8 online sessions
  • Resources required to hold these circles are organized collaboratively with participants
  • Most circles are being facilitated in English and Hindi; we hope to hold circles in local languages 

By the end of the process, we hope that those taking part are nourished and more equipped with resources to walk the path as creators of peace. A Peace Circle could culminate in the group identifying issues with a potential for conflict in their context and then resolve to take individual or joint action that they can take to meet the needs of their families or community.

 

Participants may choose to further engage with Creators of Peace by: 

  • Staying connected with the community of women committed to peace through regional gatherings online
  • Training as a facilitator of Peace Circles and engaging in more circles 
  • Engaging in the planning, designing and growth of CoP India work in multiple ways 
  • Collaborating with CoP to organize Peace Circles in their communities 

 

Who can join in? 

 

Peace Circles are open to any and all women who feel called to explore their relationship with peace and their potential of being a creator of peace. The intention is to be anchored in feminine energy and principles, and ultimately include all genders in these circles. 

In India, Peace Circles have so far been carried out with a range of groups since 2015, such as women in prisons, women in sex work transitioning to alternate livelihoods, diverse groups of social workers and change agents. We have also worked across regions in India, with organizations like Tibet-I-Care and in the Northeast. We intend to expand our outreach to a wider audience, across geographies and a range of religious and cultural identities. 

 

How can one participate?

 

If you are called to join a Peace Circle or collaborate with us to bring Peace Circles to your team or community, please contact us at creatorsofpeaceindia.hub@gmail.com 

 

Recents Programs

 

Peace Circle with Women Leaders

When: April 21 - 25

Creators of Peace Facilitators Training

When: April 26 - 29

 

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