Sunday, January 27, 2008

Final Reflections from Costa Rica on Peacebuilding - South Africa and Strategic Peacebuilding Efforts

South Africa holds in its collective consciousness the deep and unsettling history of apartheid while at the same time personifying incredible possibilities of transformation. The dismantling of apartheid has birthed a profound societal shift that seeks to unite peoples of different ethnic, racial, religious and cultural customs and beliefs and to effectively weave together again, the humanity of its people and heal its wounds.

South Africa has captured the imagination of the peacebuilding community with such compelling and public rituals as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission(TRC). Such imagination could only evolve out of the depths of a nation that descended to the bowels of hell and whose rise is sanctioned by a collective memory that whispers and shouts - never again! Thus, its efforts to heal and transform have become the focal point of peacebuilders around the world. The TRC is touted as one of the most innovative national efforts spurred by human disaster and vision. The desired outcome is nothing less than the healing and transformation of an entire nation.

In our class, The Art and Ethics of Strategic Peacebuilding we will be reviewing experiences of reconciliation in South Africa as a lens to examine peacebuilding theory and concepts as well as reviewing reconciliation efforts of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

And so, it is with great excitement that I look forward to my engagment with Dr. Sharon D. Welch and seminarians at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, Illinois.
Blessed Be! Rev. Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman