March 2014 Workshop in Northeast India
The Peace Coalition of Northeast India (PCNI), Plowshares, and Jakarta Theological Seminary’s Center for Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation are collaborating to equip local leaders in India’s northeast region with conflict transformation skills. Northeast India is riven by multiple conflicts and insurgencies springing from ethnic, religious, economic, political and nationalist tensions. The northeast region of India is the most violent in South Asia, with riots, blockades, assassinations, political and economic oppression. PCNI trained mediators in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur with participants from other states, bringing new hope for reconciliation and peace. Plowshares has been working in the region, in concert with local and international partners, since 2010. For more, see the following newsletters: Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013.
What Makes Travel Transformative? Workshop on April 30, 2014
Plowshares has learned a great deal about what makes travel ‘transformative’ in our 30+ years of designing and leading travel seminars. We are now leading workshops to equip leaders to design transformative seminars for participants. These workshops are open to those who organize travel seminars (either educational or service oriented) for youth, adults, school groups, and congregations. We kicked off this initiative in May 2013 with a 1 ½ day workshop for trip leaders and administrators from eight institutions. A second one-day workshop hosted by Hartford Seminary will be held on April 30, 2014. For more information go to
hartsem.edu Other institutions interested in this sort of training at a later date are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
High School Seminars to South Africa
Plans are currently underway for a November 2014 seminar to South Africa with two Connecticut high schools, The Ethel Walker School, a private girls’ school, and The Metropolitan Learning Center, a co-ed public magnet school. This will be similar to the South Africa seminar that both schools and Plowshares’ staff partnered to pilot in November of 2012 for 15 students and four faculty. The group, led by Phoebe Milliken, met with local and national leaders and spent time with peers from South Africa and migrants from other African countries. The experience was well received by students, whose feedback demonstrated significant changes in world view. Upon return, Devin Pafumi from Ethel Walkers wrote, “Because of this trip, I am now certain that success and happiness will not come from my personal gain, but will come from stepping outside myself and recognizing the needs of others.” Both schools started to apply the ideas of transformative travel modeled in the South Africa seminar to other global education experiences. For more information see the Spring 2013 newsletter.
Recent Programs 2013-2014
Conclusion of China Risk Management Program
After more than four and half years, Plowshares has completed its formal role in the Risk Management for a Harmonious Society program in mainland China. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with Chinese social workers, non-profit organizations, Religious Affairs Bureaus, city and provincial government officials, academics, anti-domestic violence campaigners, first responders, jurists, and women’s federations. Our dedicated Chinese partners have shown their skills of interest based- resolution and commitment to equip others with conflict transformation skills. It is with great confidence that we leave the future of the program in their hands. [See the
newsletter for more information on the conclusion of Plowshares’ role in this program.]
Nagel Seminars to South Africa and Brazil
In concert with the Nagel Institute for World Christianity and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Plowshares designed and organized two back-to-back seminars in 2013. These are the fourth and fifth seminars Plowshares has developed with Nagel. Like that the others, these two seminars focused on pairing scholars from North American Christian colleges and universities with counterparts in the global South. Hence, artists and professors of art from North America joined with artists from southern Africa to explore the relationship between art and faith in the new South Africa in June. In July North American professors from many disciplines joined a similar interdisciplinary group of Brazilians to explore social change and the roles of current evangelical Christianity. Plowshares also consulted with a seminar to Japan in August.
For a short video on the South Africa seminar, click here.
For a short video on the Brazil seminar, click here.
Independent Workshops in South Africa
Plowshares responded to requests from South African partners in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to address a variety of issues. These included building skills for constructive intervention in conflicts in congregations and moving from research on human rights violations to action for migrants. Articles for these will be featured in our Spring 2014 Newsletter.