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Ireland, July 2014 • FPT-AWP Peace Team members travel to AVP International 2014!

FPT-AWP Peace Team members travel to the AVP International Gathering!

Friends Peace Teams Asia West Pacific was very well represented at the AVP International Gathering at Maynooth University in Dublin, Ireland in July 8-12 pre-gathering workshops and July 13-19 gathering. Representatives included:

Australia: Chris Hughes, John Michaelis, Moira Darling
Aotearoa/New Zealand: Esther Cowley-Malcolm, Saskia Schuitemaker (active with PLA)
Indonesia: Petrus
Israel: Adi Lapidot, Yony Tsouna
Nepal: Jamuna Strestha, Kishor Rijal, Ram Paudel, Subhash Kattel
Palestine: Marina Jadallah, Maryam Assfour
Philippines: Ludwig Bon Quirog
USA: Blaze Nowara, Joe DiGarbo, Anne Wallace-DiGarbo, Nadine Hoover, Sharon Hoover

Nadine, Petrus, Jamuna and Kishor facilitated the pre-conference workshop on Discernment and John Michaelis and Anne Wallace-DiGarbo facilitated the pre-conference on Trauma Resiliency, with Val Liveoak. Nancy Shippen and John Michaelis did an interest group on AVP and the Brain. AVP International Gathering provided a tremendous opportunity for us to meet face-to-face with peace workers from throughout our region, get to know each other better, and discuss ideas for how to move forward and support each other in our efforts. The opportunity to meet one another at AVP International Gatherings provides a significant service to FPT-AWP as well as other peace efforts in our region.

Five of us – John, Ludwig, Nadine, Sharon and Subhash – also were invited to speak in Cork, Ireland by Denise Gabuzda and her husband, Richard, to talk about FPT-AWP at the Cork Friends Meeting and to spend an extra day getting to know each other and exploring our mission in AWP. The presentation after meeting was moving to all of us. Friends were disturbed by the attack on the Malaysian airline and the ongoing shelling and bombing and invasion of Gaza.

We shared how the acts of ordinary people like ourselves — who we shop from, what we pay taxes for, how we express our beliefs — define the extremes. Our actions make a great deal of difference. A sense of powerlessness, futility and paralysis results from trauma, even the secondary trauma of hearing and seeing such horrific stories. Trauma sets in when we feel our needs outstrip our resources. If we experience the power of life as greater than human powers, of either destructiveness or industry, then the resources available to us always outstrip our human needs and we become resilient to trauma and this sense of paralysis. Acting in love, integrity and kindness in the face of human tragedy is a joy, not a burden. We then shared the work we do for peace in Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines, and closed with how Friends can support this work.

St. Patrick's House and College Chapel, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Maynooth Co. Kildare, Ireland where the 2014 AVP International Gathering was held.