Thursday, October 13, 2016

With Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International (Canada), as the first speaker, the Relief Organization for South Sudan (ROSS) held a conference “Give Me a Chance to Live: Uniting Voices for South Sudan

He opened the conference with an update of Amnesty’s work in South Sudan and the prevailing humanitarian issues, inspiring the nearly 250 participants with the necessity of ensuring justice and accountability. Five break-out sessions exposed participants to empowerment, truth and reconciliation, social media, and ways forward for the community.

IofC’s contribution to healing

As part of a three-member panel on “Community Healing and Forgiveness” Janyce Konkin, IofC’s Regional Coordinator in Alberta shared some of IofC’s main tenets. She focused specifically on the role of forgiveness in healing. Dr. John Kuek, a psychologist from San Diego, USA, spoke on the negative impact of civil wars or trauma in relation to family and community wellness. Pastor Bryan Rollen, of the Church of Nazarene, brought a distinctly Christian perspective to the issue of reconciliation and peace, focusing on the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

Need to build trust

Janyce said the bottom line is that we need to build trust. Drawing on research by Prof. Vern Redekop of St. Paul University, Ottawa, she said: “Violence becomes a cycle that does not stop, for pride, hurt or anger gets in the way of forgiving. The cycle begins with a victim who is hurt and wants revenge. The victim-revenge cycle continues in an endless, self-perpetuating whirlwind of violence, unless someone in the long line of victims decides to end it by abandoning the need for revenge. That change begins with reconciliation. Reconciliation begins with rebuilding trust that has been lost over years of conflict.”

Numerous participants approached Janyce at the end requesting more information on how to become more engaged with IofC. A follow-up Creators of Peace Circles is in the works.

Janyce Konkin, Calgary – September 24, 2016