Thanks to the generous support of the Protestant Church in Rhinland (EKiR) and UEM, RCH was able to send a young participant to the training in Wuppertal. The Hungarian participant, Nóra Kozák, will be able to implement the knowledge and skills achieved during the Summer School as a volunteer of the Refugee Integration Ministry of RCH.
Nóra Kozák, former volunteer of the Refugee Ministry of RCH and its implementing partner, the Kalunba Social Services attended the second Summer School of the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) on the topic “Mediation, Conflict Resolution and Protection of Human Rights” is taking place at the Evangelical Conference Centre in Wuppertal from 13 to 27 July.
The 30 participants from 17 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe were taught concepts of constructive conflict management with a special focus on mediation and approaches to the protection of human rights.
Lusungu Mbilinyi, education coordinator of UEM from Tanzania, Beate Roggenbuck, mediator from Germany and Sujithar Sivanayagam, mediator from Sri Lanka, form the international team of tutors who accompanied the course participants for two weeks. They imparted theoretical and practical content on specific topics combined with the concrete experiences and contexts of the participants. At the end of the Summer School, the participants designed their own peace and human rights projects. Excursions to initiatives and programmes of civil and church peace and human rights work rounded off the training programme.
Dr Jochen Motte, member of the UEM’s Management Team, is positive about the response to the Summer School: “We are delighted that we have received so many commitments from our cooperation partners following the transmission of the concept and curriculum for this two-week training course.” The sending organisations include the World Council of Churches, the World Community of Reformed Churches, Misereor, the Association of Protestant Churches and Mission Societies in Germany, the Protestant Church in the Rhineland and the Protestant Church of Westphalia.
The participation of the RCH delegate was an important step in the growing cooperation between RCH and UEM. Our German partner churches in Rhineland, Westphalia, and Lippe, all members of UEM, started to consider the opportunity of extending the cooperation and membership of the European region, which is limited to German churches for now. This might also involve the RCH in the future. General Secretary Volker Dally and Deputy Secretary General Jochen Motte, head of the department “Justice, Peace and the Integrity of the Created World” visited Budapest and Debrecen in 2017 to explore the concrete areas of cooperation after preliminary consultations. During the visit, the German delegation met with many representatives of RCH, to consider the possibility of co-operation in the fields of evangelism, mission, diaconia, development projects, formal and informal training, and common reflection and representation human rights values from Christian perspective. In continued partnership with the UEM, the RCH was represented at the last General Assembly in Parapat, Indonesia.
The participant Ewa Sliwka from Poland expected from the training that “I will learn more about peaceful decision-making processes in a multicultural context. Since Poland is still a very homogeneous country, there are hardly any opportunities for this at home. I also want to learn to communicate better.” Anton Fernando from Sri Lanka wanted to take along concrete instructions for action: “I come from a country with high cultural and religious diversity. For me, this Summer School offers a good opportunity to exchange experiences and get to know conflict resolution approaches from other countries. I would like to apply the practical methods learned here in Sri Lanka to my work at the grassroots level.” “We must learn to listen to our counterparts and to respect all people, regardless of their opinion, culture, social gender or ethnicity. We also need to learn to better control our feelings, act responsibly and keep an eye on the peaceful future of our countries and nations,” said Mercy Lumago Kenyi from Southern Sudan.
The Summer School is conceived and is responsible for by the two UEM departments ‘Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation’ and the ‘Germany Region – Global Learning in Ecumenical Perspective’.
Report by Martina Pauly/Photos by UEM via www.vemission.org
Edited by the Ecumenical Office of RCH, via www.reformatus.hu