Sunday, September 15, 2013

 

Canadian Caux Scholar embarks on peacebuilding journey

"As a young filmmaker-facilitator, I have been empowered by Initiatives of Change to hone my skills and pursue my passion of fusing filmmaking and dialogue into an effective tool for peacebuilding."

Canadian Caux scholar refines filmmaking skills, embarks on peacebuilding journey Editor’s Introduction:

Thanks to a truly inspiring summer as a Caux Scholar, Tim Hall, a young Canadian filmmaker is now on a peacebuilding journey to Palestine and Israel. He describes his development as a filmmaker, and certain experiences in Caux that moved him profoundly. As a young filmmaker-facilitator, I have been empowered by Initiatives of Change to hone my skills and pursue my passion of fusing filmmaking and dialogue into an effective tool for peacebuilding.

I met Initiatives of Change in Canada through a filmmaker named Chris Hartnell. Chris manages FLT Films North America. Over the past year and a half, we have partnered to create three short films for IofC Canada (Creators of Peace Circles, South Sudanese Trustbuilding, and Projet Citoyenne). I was thrilled with the chance to explore how to uncover and tell stories of diversity. I grew much from the film on IofC‘s Projet Citoyenne - trustbuilding between First Nations, French Canadians, English Canadians and recent immigrants. This was my first film completely in French.

The Caux Scholars Program (CSP) was a big step in my experience in peacebuilding. It revolutionized my thinking on the relationship between justice and peacebuilding, and helped me better understand design, monitoring and evaluation of programs.

But the biggest impact on me was not theoretical. It takes courage to do peacebuilding-- courage that I often doubt I posses. Through the programme, I met a man from Kenya who is now one of my biggest inspirations of courage. The program coordinators set up a lunch with a journalist who had spoken out against corruption and had got jailed for it. He stuck by his beliefs and morals, and God provided for him. In November, I plan to go and meet this man again in Kenya.

This was the inspiration, but I met another man who made clear what the next steps are for me to gain the courage necessary. Our instructor for the final week was Dr. Abu-Nimer. Through role-play and tough questions he encouraged our class to go deep in our emotions. Rather than just talk about dialogue across divides, we experienced it.

The first time this happened, I shut down. My head went down, eyes averted, head wishing the conflict wasn't happening. Halfway through, I became aware of my posture and position -- one of shrinking away or avoiding conflict. In the moment, I didn't move even though I wanted to take a stand and help bring things to a better conclusion. I reflected on it, prayed about it, and the next time conflict arose I kept my head up and looked for opportunities. Not opportunities to quell the conflict, but opportunities to use the conflict to deepen our relationships. This was the most important and valuable thing I gained from the Caux Scholars Program.

During the programme I have been working on a promotional video. The goal is to create a video geared towards an academic audience so that partnerships might be formed between the CSP and different universities. The video will show the key elements of the program: the fusion of theory (head) and practice (heart), the diversity, 'embodied learning' (learning beyond textbooks) and more. I hope this will be a helpful tool for CSP staff to promote the program.

Finally I want to acknowledge all of the groups and people who made all this possible. I would like to say a special thank you to Chris Hartnell for his mentorship, support and encouragement, and to the Robert Hahnloser Stiftung Foundation for their generous financial support.

To IofC Canada I would like to say: “Please know that your financial support was key even before the programme began as it meant I was able to focus on six videos directly related to peacebuilding.”

Two of these were the IofC Canada promotional videos, and the other four were my first webdocumentary Struggling with Peace in Palestine and Israel(http://peaceittogether.com/films/2013).

It is even helping afterwards as I am journeying to Palestine and Israel to find out more about nonviolence and peacebuilding (and hopefully to screen these films).

But most of all, because of your support I was able to begin a journey in finding the courage needed for stepping into violence and helping to facilitate peace. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Tim Hall, Surrey, BC