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Global Citizen Journey: October-November 2009 Newsletter

Susan Partnow <> Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 6:04 PM
Global Citizen Journey

  October-November 2009
Dear Susan,

Global Citizen Journey is excited to report that we've submitted our first grant proposal for our next international journey, Project Liberia 2010!  Susan will visit Liberia in January to deepen her understanding of the situation there and to continue developing the plans for the peace summit.

On the domestic front, GCJ is partnering with Transpartisan Alliance to launch a delegation that will aim to build bridges across the sharpening political-ideological divide so characteristic of the United States in recent years.

Read on to learn about our upcoming events in the Seattle area that will offer you the opportunity to join us as we plan our Liberian delegation and brainstorm ideas for the GCJ-TA partnership!
GCJ Pilots New Domestic Project with Transpartisan Alliance
Important Dates:
  • Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 6:00pm: Potluck dinner at Susan's home.  Joseph McCormick will present Transpartisan Alliance.
  • Thursday, October 29, 2009, 7:00pm: Session at Susan's home to explore the GCJ/TA partnership.
Location: Seattle/Fremont
Please RSVP: 206.783.8561
Have you grown increasingly concerned with the vitriolic tone in what we might call the uncivil political discourse in the United States?  Do you long to bring deep dialogue and artful hosting to conversations across this distressing ideological divide in our country?  Then join Global Citizen Journey as we partner with Joseph McCormick and Peter Hwosch of Transpartisan Alliance to develop a domestic delegation to address this "new segregation."

We believe that by taking on the challenge of living together, the participants in this project will experience the whole context of a potential political opponent's life and community.  This experience will, in turn, engender a better understanding of their "opponent's" thinking, perceptions, and perspectives.  

Thus, our vision is to create a "delegation exchange" in which a group of 12-15 people from a left-leaning community participate in homestays with a right-leaning community for about a week.  The exchange will then switch, and those on the right will engage in homestays with those on the left.  The two weeks of exchanges will culminate in a 3-5 day retreat where the two groups go to a neutral location together for an opportunity to collectively reflect, discuss, process, and discern what they have learned, and what, if anything, they intend to do with the wisdom gained.  Perhaps projects, declarations, or actions will emerge.

The practice of Compassionate Listening forms the core idea of this project.  Our hope is that this endeavor will become a model for many future delegations of this kind across the country.

To learn more about Transpartisan Alliance, please visit the TA website, and consider attending the Tuesday and Thursday night events at Susan's home.  We hope to see you there!  If you miss these meetings, be sure to come to the next orientation on Monday, November 9, 2009.

Update on Project Liberia 2010: Grant Proposal Submitted, Plans for Peace Summit in Formation - Volunteers Needed!
Important Dates:
  • End of September 2009: GCJ authored and submitted a Project Liberia funding proposal to the NED grant committee.
  • January 2010: Susan Partnow and Harriet Nettles travel to Liberia for a pre-delegation visit.
  • April 2010: Target date for first National Forum/Peace Summit in Liberia

liberian map

GCJ's partnership with Emmanuel Dolo, founder of The Population Caring Organization (PCO), is moving along, with efforts underway to secure funding.  (Please send any possible leads!)  Our goal is to convene a Peacebuilder Summit to extend the successful peacebuilding initiative undertaken over the last decade in the Buduburam Tribal Leaders Forum and Peace Project led by PCO.  Founding Director Susan Partnow and Harriet Nettles, mediator and long time friend to Liberia, will join Emmanuel in Liberia in January to develop the network and logistics for the project.

As you may know, the inspiration for GCJ's next journey emerged from the tragic events in Liberia in the past several decades.  In December 1989, Liberia plunged into a brutal civil war that resulted in over 250,000 deaths.  The war divided families, tribes, and friends; devastated infrastructure; and threatened to destroy Liberian culture, traditions, beliefs, and norms.  Fortunately, a peace agreement was signed and elections were held, bringing Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first female president, into power.  Although much of the Liberian population accepts the need for and welcomes the prospect of reconciliation between the tribes and the divided people of Liberia, there is little actual understanding of the mechanisms and complexities of reconciliation and peace.

Partnership between the Population Caring Organization (PCO) in Ghana and GCJ will enable the expansion of PCO's successful peacebuilding project, begun in the Buduburam Refugee Camp, into a nationwide effort in Liberia.  GCJ will provide the expertise in dialogue, Compassionate Listening, and restorative practices that can promote healing and reconciliation in post-conflict Liberia. By bringing together representatives (tribal elder, woman and youth) from all of the 16 major Liberian ethnic groups in a national summit to build their capacity for nonviolent conflict resolution, interethnic dialogue, and reconciliation, the Liberian Peacebuilder Project will support the process that defuses conflict and builds the capacity for communication.  We plan to use an elicitive approach in the summit, which will allow the various groups to appreciate traditional dispute resolution practices, as well as work together to develop ways to build on these practices and bring them back to their home communities.  

This summit is, we believe, the first step in creating a framework that will sustain a grassroots peace process.  

We are proud to announce that GCJ completed an extensive grant proposal at the end of September to request funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for Project Liberia.  Research is currently underway to locate additional funding sources for this exciting and innovative endeavor.

Would you like to learn more about Project Liberia?  Do you want to find out how your skills and interests can be put to amazing use as we proceed with planning and organizing this journey?  Then please join us for the November 9, 2009, GCJ orientation - and visit the new sections on Project Liberia on the GCJ website. We are seeking North American delegates to join GCJ in providing expertise in dialogue, Compassionate Listening and restorative practices that can promote healing and reconciliation in post-conflict Liberia.  We also need volunteers in many support roles here in the US, such as grant writing, PR and marketing, accounting, and outreach.  

Reflections on the GCJ Community Screening of "Pray the Devil Back to Hell" Documentary

PTDBTH gif On Sunday, October 19, 2009, Global Citizen Journey was honored to host a screening of the remarkable new documentary, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," about grassroots efforts by Liberian women to end the horrific strife in their own land.,  Attendance at the Greenlake branch of the Seattle public library.was high, as was enthusiasm, for this powerful film.

As the film's website explains, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country.  Thousands of women - ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and daughters, both Christian and Muslim - came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace.  Armed with only white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they took on the warlords and nonviolently forced a resolution during the stalled peace talks.  A story of sacrifice, unity, and transcendence, Pray the Devil Back to Hell honors the strength and perseverance of the women of Liberia.  Inspiring, uplifting, and most of all, motivating, it is a compelling testimony of how grassroots activism can alter the history of nations."

Many new questions and ideas emerged from viewing the film: Can GCJ form relationships with these dedicated and successful female peacemakers for Project Liberia?  How can we learn from their perseverance in the midst of the tumultuous peace talks?  What is the situation in Liberia like now that a few years have passed since the events portrayed in the film?  How is the Liberia from before the What has changed from pre-civil war Liberia to post-civil Liberia?   And, on a personal level, what can each of us be inspired to do and be as we learn of the extraordinary courage, inspiration and perverance of these 'ordinary' yet totally extraordinary Liberian women?

Many of us in attendance were touched by the film's deep message of forgiveness, reconciliation, and collaboration.  The ultimate goal of ceasing the bloodshed and developing a sustainable peace bridged the pre-existing social divisions among the religious groups in the land, as women from various faiths joined forces to resist the violence that defined Charles Taylor's presidency.  As one woman interviewed in the film said, "a bullet does not know the difference between a Christian and a Muslim" - we cannot let our religious differences prevent us from working towards a shared dream.  What a powerful message for all of us striving for peace!

To learn more about the film or buy a copy for your own personal use, visit the official website.

Join GCJ's Online Community!
We welcome you to sign up as a member of our online community, called a "Ning," located here. As a member, you will be able to customize your own member page with information about yourself. You will have the ability to upload photos and videos; join and create groups; and sign up for as well as post new events. You can also add to our ongoing discussions or start one of your own. It's simple to participate, but the impact can be profound. Your contribution can help shape the development of an upcoming delegation or provide the inspiration for a new one!

By facilitating conversation and connection, we hope that the relationships forged in our Ning will allow each of us, as well as Global Citizen Journey, to impact the world in more powerful and effective ways. As always, our mission is to answer the question: "How can we create a culture of peace and world stewardship?"

If you participated in a past GCJ journey, this is your opportunity to join the group with your fellow delegation members - a place where you can keep in touch, reflect on your experiences, share multimedia, and more, all in a dynamic online environment that outstrips the capabilities of email alone.  If you are interested in learning more about or volunteering in a current GCJ practice, the Ning is place for you!  All events and projects are posted for your perusal as they develop.

Above all, we want to emphasize that the Ning is what you, its members, make of it.  We at GCJ look forward to experiencing your unique contribution to our fledgling online community!

In This Issue
GCJ Pilots New Domestic Project with Transpartisan Alliance
Update on Project Liberia 2010
Reflections on the GCJ Community Screening of "Pray the Devil Back to Hell"
Join GCJ's Online Community!
Quick Links

NEXT ORIENTATION Monday, November 9, 2009

Begin at 6:45, end by 8:15 pm (followed by optional planning meeting)

Seattle/Fremont neighborhood - call  206.783.8561 to RSVP and get the address.

Do You Have A Story To Share?
We're in the process of collecting delegate stories to add to our website, and to use in order to help future delegates prepare for a Journey.  Are you a former delegate with a story to shore?  Let us know!

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