I had the opportunity to attend a meeting in DC this week related to getting language about peacebuilding included in the rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act
(currently before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs) and in the State Department Authorization
(currently before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee). We heard several inspiring stories about the effectiveness of peacebuilding in helping to stabilize countries either on the verge of devolving into violence or already in the midst of violent conflict.
One of the stories that jumped out as a prime example was that of the post-election peace process in in Kenya in 2007/2008 that kept the country from erupting into civil war. The "Concerned Citizens for Peace
" group was formed by a handful of prominent Kenyans who could see the dangerous situation that was about to explode if something proactive was not done to prevent it. Through a series of bold actions, they were able to pull together the conflicting parties, along with third-party assistance from Kofi Annan and other influential peacemakers, and reach a mutually acceptable resolution of differences.
The entire story is documented in "Citizens in Action: Making Peace in the Post-Election Crisis in Kenya
", which is attached to this post as a PDF. It's a quick read and provides a fantastic example for reference when someone asks you what a U.S. Department of Peace would do to help reduce violence around the world. Please take a look and share what jumps out at you in this story
Also, please visit the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
sites, see who is on these committees, and let them know you want to see peacebuilding language included in the rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act (House) and the State Department Authorization (Senate).CitizensInAction_Kenya.pdf