Travel Report: Global Peacebuilders Summit 2017
Monika Hauser: “Passionate for Peace”
Foto Travel Log 7.-12.09.2017
Subdued lighting, colourful wall hangings, and a cosy fire crackling in the stove, all within a yurt built in authentic Mongolian style. Men and women – including Monika Hauser – are listening attentively to Dishani Jayaweera, a peace activist from Sri Lanka. These intimate moments build trust and togetherness: 30 experienced peacebuilders from all over the world have come together for the second time at the Global Peacebuilders Summit in Paretz, near Berlin, Germany. Monika Hauser: “We are united by the obstacles and resistance we encounter in our daily work: our joint struggle for human rights and peace.” In Monika Hauser’s photo travelogue, she tells us about these rewarding encounters. This extraordinary gathering was made possible by the joint support of the Culture Counts Foundation, the Helga Breuninger Foundation and the German Foreign Office.
Only fellow peacemakers attend the Global Peacebuilders Summit, allowing them to share and talk openly in an inspiring, encouraging and connecting way.
Common mission: Peace
Monika Hauser: “For decades now I have been close to the Afghan doctor and women’s rights activist Sima Samar (centre), both personally and professionally. We are also both recipients of the Alternative Nobel Prize for our commitment to women’s rights. I value her as a clever and courageous woman actively working to increase the dignity and participation of her fellow Afghans – in the face of daily threats.”
Finding allies, seeing friends again
Monika Hauser: “Paretz in rural Brandenburg is a wonderful place to find peace and quiet. There is a powerful connection within our little community, strengthening us all. Each one of us instantly understands the feelings of loneliness we all suffer in our stressful work – there is no need to explain!”
A wonderfully peaceful place
The event specialist Tina Gadow (centre) and one of the summit organisers sitting around a crackling campfire discussing the progress of the Global Peacebuilders Summit so far. Ms Gadow is a member of the Culture Counts Foundation, which invited the peace activists to come and stay for almost a week to discuss the role of civil society in peace processes.
A focus on peacework
Monika Hauser: “Four impressive young people aged between 15 and 21 were participating this year for the first time. They call themselves ‘Young Peacebuilders’ and all work as volunteers with refugees. Their enthusiasm and support was a great benefit to our summit, serving tea and coffee, playing music and sharing their great reserves of motivation and energy with us.”
Young activists: Passionate for peace
The peacebuilders had intense discussions about the merits and dangers of interventions in crisis areas. They came to the conclusion that the international community is mainly pursuing its own political and economic interests. Human rights activists and their protection play an insignificant role, and conflicts are often even worsened.
Criticism of the international community
Monika Hauser: “At medica mondiale we place great value in a mindful culture of organisation and employee self-care. I talked about this briefly at the summit. Stepping out of the hectic survival mode we find ourselves in can, however, bring certain risks with it. So we have to set aside time and create space to take a look at our physical and psychological stresses, and then use reinforcing self-care to alleviate them.”
Mindful Organisational Culture and self-care
Chronic traumatic stress and threatening situations often lead peace activists to suffer feelings of being alone. Relief can be found if they take conscious steps to connect with others, discovering common aims and efforts.
Counteracting the feeling of loneliness
Monika Hauser: “I was very pleased that one of the four aims for future summits is mindfulness. Together with three other women, I am in a working group on this issue. We intend to cover some specific theory and present practical exercises on ‘self-care to renew our creative power’, and enable some inspiring moments.”
Outer peace cannot be achieved without inner ...
Maintaining a flexible and reflective attitude towards ourselves and others is especially important in stressful working situations.
Strength in serenity