By: Esther Kibe MA,
Earlier this year, Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine Shalom-SCCRR’s International Chairman was invited as a ‘keynote speaker’ at the prestigious 2022 annual conference of the National Justice & Peace Network (NJPN) in Swanwick, Derbyshire, UK. The overall theme of the conference was, ‘Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up’.
Fr. Patrick’s lecture was titled ‘Transforming Inter-ethnic Conflict and Religious Ideological Extremism; An Empowering Methodology to Secure Positive Peace.’ His presentation was anchored on his vast experience of working with communities in Eastern Africa on conflict transformation, justice, security, peacebuilding and reconciliation. The National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) welcomes all who share a vision of a world in which people live in peace and harmony, where common humanity is respected and all are able to contribute freely to the common good.
Regarding the lecture, Gerry Molumby of the Irish Post stated that, from his experience in Africa, Fr. Patrick told the conference how conflicts and especially violent ones are insidious — they proceed in a gradual, subtle way but their overall effect is dreadfully harmful, lasting for generations. “Conflict has a memory that is resilient, robust, and trans-generational,” he said, “one that is anchored in culture and frequently contaminated and distorted with erroneous historical narratives and media reporting.”
Fr. Patrick noted, “from the standpoint of the humanitarian/peace/development nexus in conflict environments where people are killed, maimed, and displaced persistently, it is extremely difficult, if at all possible, for social and religious values of peace, truth, justice, and mercy to take deep communal root. These gospel values are of utmost importance for people to live normal lives aspiring to the fullness of sustainable peace and reconciliation.”
He also outlined some of the critical dangers posed by religious ideological extremism in the world today. He underpinned that “when religion becomes disproportionately preoccupied or energized by increasing quantitative institutional membership to the detriment of qualitative spiritual transformation, the potential for it becoming a destructive factor in conflict generation escalates.” He emphasized the need to move beyond mere inter-religious dialogue to ‘dia-praxis’ stating that, “at the core of dia-praxis is the inter-religious dialogue becoming evidenced in jointly agreed policies and tangible social projects, whereby adherents of different religions and religious denominations develop societies of inclusivity and reconciliation, respecting human dignity and rights.”
Matt Moran, writing in the Independent Catholic News (ICN) also noted that Fr. Patrick pointed out that, “the pursuit of reconciliation is imperative in humanity’s quest for human security, living with dignity, and environmental sustainability. As such Reconciliation is ultimately oriented to having proper relationships with the ‘Divine’, humankind, oneself, and creation/environment.” “Reconciliation centers on acknowledging the past, reframing the present and envisioning a future of interdependent co-existence”, he said.
Matt Moran further underpins this by noting that “in the first 12 years of the Shalom-SCCRR, 720 peacebuilding interventions have been implemented in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, and more than 20,000 local peace actors empowered with skills and techniques for conflict transformation and peacebuilding. More than 500 school/educational development projects have been completed, including classrooms, accommodation and solar lighting. 142,560 pupils and students have been engaged in Conflict Transformation in schools and at community level through Shalom’s Peace Education Syllabus. More than 60 Peace Club Patrons have been trained to facilitate Peace Education in schools and support School Peace Clubs.”
Shalom-SCCRR’s mission was synopsised as “to work for a society free of physical violence and unjust social structures in Africa, while building peaceful and reconciled communities.” He further underscored that, “the core objective of Shalom-SCCRR is to attain conflict resolution and reconciliation for the people of Africa, evidenced by sustainable peace and integrated human development. He also stated that, “Shalom-SCCRR’s unique approach integrates empirical research, rigorous conflict analysis underpinning conflict transformation interventions at the individual, relational, structural/institutional, cultural and religious levels, leading to reconciliation forums.”
On Shalom-SCCRR’s conflict transformation, peacebuilding and development interventions Gerry Molumby stated that, “Fr. Devine spoke of dramatic, life-changing results in the areas of conflict transformation, peace education and poverty alleviation. His organisation, Shalom researches on the root causes of inter-ethnic conflicts, trains key opinion leaders, organizes peacebuilding and conflict transformation workshops to facilitate resolution and reconciliation processes between factions, and develops inter-ethnic and inter-religious schools. “Theory without practice is empty and practice without theory is blind,” he said.
Author: Esther Kibe MA, Shalom-SCCRR’s Communications Department.
Click on the links below for more elaborated details of Shalom-SCCRR’s work:
- Fr. Patrick Devine’s Talk ‘Transforming Inter ethnic Conflict and Religious Ideological Extremism….’
- Conflict Transformation and Peace-Building Across Eastern Africa: Chairman’s Report on Progress in 2021.
- Shalom Empowerment Center opens in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Shalom-SCCRR Launches the ‘Shalom Empowerment Center (SEC)’ Addressing Violence against Women and Children.
- Shalom Empowerment Center (SEC) Addressing Violence against Women and Children: A Unique Shalom-SCCRR Initiative Opened.
- A Future of Safety and Hope; Shalom-SCCRR providing Security Infrastructure Support to Chumvyere Primary School.
- Shalom-SCCRR success journey with the community towards building cohesion to counter inter-ethnic and political intolerance along the Kisumu-Nandi borderline.
- 2009-2021 Shalom-SCCRR Results and Achievements.
- 2021 Shalom -SCCRR Results and Achievements.
- Peace-building missionary to address NJPN conference.
- Research of conflict requires hope and research
- NJPN Conference Report, 22-24 July 2022.
- Rev. Dr. Patrick Devine SMA at NJPN Conference 2022.
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