Fr. Patrick Devine recently met with peace and development leaders in the United States, carrying Shalom’s mission of peace and reconciliation to allies and supporters including colleagues in civil society. The international chairman and founder of the Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation also met with the Board of Shalom USA, and held discussions on the creation of an advisory board and expansion of the support network to Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and the West Coast.
While its work is centered in Eastern African, Shalom is an international organization with a global network of leaders and supporters in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Their work supports a growing 25-person organization in Africa of highly trained conflict resolution experts working on the ground. Shalom USA is a registered 501c3 nonprofit, and has created a strong fundraising and outreach network to support Shalom’s work.
Fr. Devine’s trip follows previous successful visits to the U.S., including meetings earlier this year with officials from the United Nations and his work as guest lecturer at Harvard. “It’s important to have strong connections to people and institutions working for development in America, because America leads the world in philanthropy,” said Fr. Devine.
While in New York, Fr. Devine was invited to attend the final session of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. At CGI, he met with key global development leaders and listened to President Bill Clinton’s valedictory speech at the Clinton Foundation’s last CGI meeting.
“President Clinton’s speech covered some critical conflict management policy issues,” said Fr. Devine. “His commitment to peace, to cooperation between peoples and nations, is a real example of leadership in difficult times. As an Irishman, it was moving to hear him reference WB Yeats, the Irish Proclamation of Independence from 1916 – which stressed the equality of women and men – and Seamus Heaney.”
Fr. Devine said that President Clinton touched on the importance of cooperation, and noted that American assistance to Africa (including through Shalom) is crucial to development and lasting peace. “You are living proof that good people committed to creative cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows,” said President Clinton to the CGI attendees.
The trip to the United States followed Fr. Devine’s completion of a doctorate of philosophy in political science and public administration. Discussions are ongoing on continued and expanded collaboration between Shalom and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Fr. Devine plans to return to the U.S. in the spring.