New and Ongoing Initiatives
Creators of Peace
A promotional video for Creators of Peace Circles in Canada has just been completed. Filmed by intern Tim Hall working alongside FLTfilms North America manager, Chris Hartnell, the video seeks to inform and inspire women to take part in Creators of Peace Circles. Women in the video are some of the participants of Peace Circles held in the Metro Vancouver area over the past 4 years.
Circles of understanding
Circles of Understanding: Shawkat Hasan, a member of the local IofC team in Metro Vancouver was one of two key speakers at an event in Vancouver organized by the Multifaith Action Society on the topic of The Power of Spirit, a Multifaith Exploration of Triumph over Adversity & Persecution. He spoke alongside Susan Powell from the Lakota Nation, who is involved with the Circles of Understanding. http://www.CirclesOfUnderstanding.org
Click here to read more
Building Interfaith Bridges in BC
Interfaith work, when done well, has the power to transform communities. The level of trust that develops in effective interfaith groups provides a safe “container” for asking powerful questions. As that trust radiates out into the community, so does the power of those questions. To read more click here.
Circle of Trust Bridges Four Solitudes in Quebec
A moving testimony on forgiveness and reconciliation from Francine Lemay, sister of Corporal Marcel Lemay of the Sûreté de Quebec, killed during the 1990 Oka crisis, was one of the most powerful moments at the Citizen Project Forum organized by Initiatives of Change and Espace Art Nature. To read more click here.
IofC Calgary Joins With Others in a Community Forum
On March 22nd, Calgary IofC team members Janyce Konkin, Joy Newman, and Bill Parker participated in a community event sponsored by the Calgary Centre for Culture, Equity and Diversity called "The Courage to Stand Together Against Discrimination Forum" attended by about 150. Several City Aldermen, community groups, senior officers of the City of Calgary Police Services, Calgary Police Commission representatives and a Chairperson of the Alberta Human Rights & Citizenship Commission were also there.
Many people stopped by the IofC display table, expressing interest in the Peace Circles program and "Bridges To A Common Future" project work being done in Calgary's diverse community. All the brochures were taken and many business cards handed out. The key note speaker, Mr. Sandy Dore, an anti-racism activist from Kelowna, B.C., talked about the positive role individuals and groups like IofC can play by bridging the divides between those who misunderstand, even hate, each other. He also commended an organization he admired called The Giraffe Heroes Project whose motto is "Nobis Est - It's Up To Us" to make a difference, so " stick your neck out", which recognizes risk takers for Good.
As an interesting side-note, John Graham and his Giraffe Heroes Project have been associated with IofC for a number of years and have attended conferences at Caux, Switzerland He will attend the Caux Forum for Human Security again this July. Click on their link for more information http://www.giraffe.org/.
For more details on this event or projects underway in Calgary, contact Janyce Konkin at 403.270.0975.
Calgary - Bridges to a Common Future
In June of last year, The Imam and the Pastor film was shown to a multi-faith group at a local community centre. The response was so positive that a follow- up pot-luck supper was held in February.
Now this group, known as the Bridges to a Common Future group, is planning for a third public event on the first weekend of October. In an attempt to deepen the friendships that are already forming across cultural divides, the group is planning for a discussion time, when people from different backgrounds will discuss common themes.
For further information contact Regional Coordinator Keith Newman
Quebec - Citizen Project
One initiative emerging since the gathering in Quebec City in May 2008, is a Citizen Project aimed at addressing the deep wounds in people as a result of the Indian Residential Schools. Click here to read more about this.
Edmonton hosts events for National Day of Healing and Reconciliation May 26th
NDHR May 26 2009
Maggie Hodgson, the passionate and charismatic chairperson for the May 26 National Day of Healing and Reconciliation movement, who partnered with IofC at last year’s Quebec City gathering, has recruited a whole new core group from the younger generation for this year’s campaign. Their energy and all out enthusiasm has inspired activities in many communities across the country. In Edmonton three separate NDHR events took place on May 26.
Lewis Cardinal and aboriginal elders led an outdoor healing ceremony for former residential school students in the centre part of the city. The Edmonton Journal reported about the ceremony that “It was modeled after a tradition in some aboriginal cultures of burning an individual’s clothes, books and papers after their death as a way of letting go,” organizer Terry Lusty said. “This is a way of discarding all those hurts and pains,” he told the audience, encouraging them to write any hurt, no matter how trivial on their sheets of paper. “We’ll (burn) it spiritually and symbolically.”
Interacting with students
A teacher of Cree and Aboriginal Studies at Norquest College in Edmonton took NDHR as the focus for two of his classes on May 26. Jack and Mary Jean Freebury, who have helped organize NDHR events in Edmonton for the past eight years, took part in the discussions. Jack shared how he applied lessons learned through IofC to find reconciliation and to build effective relationships with others from whom he had been divided. Mary Jean shared the story of how her father, a country doctor in northern Alberta, had saved the lives of many First Nations people during the 1929 smallpox epidemic. Dr Carlisle purchased vaccine using his own funds since there were no government funds available and vaccinated all the members of a nearby reserve except for eleven of them who, out of fear, hid under a bridge and refused to be vaccinated. All those who had been vaccinated lived and all eleven of those who were not, died. One of the students was very moved by that story since she was a member of that First Nation.
High School Students involved
An inspiring four-hour event took place at Ross Sheppard High School. Various groups shared their messages of cultural strength and caring through drumming, song and dance. Creative and challenging presentations were made by students from two Edmonton high schools, the Kitohtakaw Education Centre on the Alexander reserve, and Kings University College.
Jack Freebury, Edmonton, Alberta
Toward a Community of Communities : From Solitudes to Partnerships
The program focuses on dialogue and trust-building between First Nations, Francophones, Anglophones and the many other communities who have chosen to make Canada their home. Through this program individuals and groups are encouraged to take initiatives locally, thereby contributing to a countrywide citizens’ movement, free of any partisan agenda, which could bring about greater recognition, understanding and appreciation of each others’ identities and cultures.
To read more about this click here.
Past Events and Initiatives
Ottawa held the first public screening of L'Imam et le Pasteur at Saint Paul University, January 2009. To read a full report click here.
Over 300 people came together on June 14th at the Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue for an evening hosted by IofC and representatives from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other faith communities.
Click here to read more