Church World Service Prepares for Global Peace Conference

WASHINGTON, DC -The Church World Service's the humanitarian arm of the National Council of Churches, will present its recent findings concerning the ongoing destabilization in Liberia and neighboring West African countries, at the second annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace conference, March 5-8 in Washington D.C.

Church World Service International Response and Recovery Liaison Ivan DeKam, recently returned from Sierra Leone, said he and CWS colleague Moses Ole Sakuda will present to the Advocacy Days attendees indications from the agency's recent conflict transformation and trauma healing work in the region during a March 7 workshop, "The Crisis in Liberia and the Mano River Countries."

"Our work with trauma victims and in training those who are caregivers for trauma victims in the region is underscoring the necessity to deal with healing trauma on both a personal and societal level, and," he noted, "the need to look at restorative justice rather than retributive justice, to look at mercy, and at multiple truths in each situation* not just a single truth. All of these," DeKam said, "have to be considered together for people to be able to move on toward sustainable peace in places like West Africa's Mano River region."

Church World Service Washington Representative and Associate Director for Education and Advocacy Brian Hinman is a member of the event's Planning Committee.

"After attending last year's Advocacy Days, I was very excited about motivating the grassroots to bring our message of the imperative for peace with justice to Congress," Hinman said. "This year, with more people attending, and more messages being refined, the grassroots should have a major impact on Capitol Hill during our Advocacy Day there on March 8."

In addition, the CWS members will also participate in workshops on HIV/AIDS and the Middle East.

Other speakers from the CWS are: the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, the new General Secretary of the World Council of Churches and former head of the National Council of Churches of Kenya; the Rev. Syngman Rhee, a Korean American born in North Korea and a former President of the National Council of Churches USA and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA); Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson, Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ ; and Rev. Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society.

In the face of ongoing debate in the hemisphere on globalization and FTAA impacts, CWS Associate Director for Education and Advocacy Rajyashri Waghray will present outcomes from a January North American consultation held in Stony Point, New York, as part of a panel on trade justice.