It’s taken the new cohort of Peaceworkers a few months to get sorted with updating the ‘P.O. Box Peace’, but we’ve finally got ourselves organised and looking forward to updating the blog with news and stories. Who knows what has inspired this sudden jump to action – perhaps it was the storm last weekend, or perhaps the knowledge that November is just around the corner and we haven’t got on with it yet!
I’m Andrew, and I’m based in London as a UK Peaceworker, working in two different organisations this year -War Resisters International (WRI) for four days a week, and Action AWE (Atomic Weapons Eradication) for one day. WRI is an international network of pacifist organisations dedicated to halting war and the causes of war, and I’m working in the Nonviolence programme, coordinating the revision of a book called the ‘Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns’, which is used by activists the world over to plan and prepare their campaigns.
Action AWE is a grassroots campaign of nonviolent actions dedicated to halting nuclear weapons production at the Atomic Weapons Establishment factories at Aldermaston and Burghfield. With Action AWE I’m focussing on mobilisation and outreach work, arranging and organising talks and nonviolence trainings up and down the country. I’m very aware that if we’re going to scrap nuclear weapons in the next couple of decades, then the next 18 months is when we’ll really make that change happen.
My very first day at work – which feels like a long time ago already! – was spent at the Burghfield AWE disarmament camp, because WRI and Action AWE had come together to help organise and mobilise people from across Europe for a big blockade. It was inspiring to see people from as far away as Belgium, Spain, Germany, France and Finland put their bodies in the way of the ongoing development of nuclear weapons in the UK. I had a conversation a few days ago about how ‘peace folk’ can sometimes feel isolated, like they’re working away on their own, and this reminded me of how much of a real privilege it is to be in contact, from the very first day of my placement, with people all over the world and from every walk of life, working for peace. I’ve already been repeatedly inspired and humbled by people’s commitment to creating a more peaceful and just world.
This evening I’m planning on spending some time with my house mates, carving some Halloween pumpkins – but with a twist! One will be adorned with the logo for Action AWE, while the other will have WRI’s famous ‘broken rifle’ logo carved into it – however, I reserve the right to post pictures until we’re successful!
Dear readers and followers,
After a year of writing about our work and adventures in London, Geneva and Bujumbura, the time has come for the Peaceworkers and QUNO Programme Assistants of 2012-2013 to sign off for the last time.
On behalf of the others – many thanks for reading, and commenting with words of wisdom and support. To give you a taste of what we have gone on to do;
Ellie is continuing her work on the Human Impacts of Climate Change Programme at QUNO, Geneva; Owen is working on the Military out of Schools Campaign with ForcesWatch, London; Haifa has been accepted onto the Resident Study Programme at Pendle Hill in Philadelphia; Edith has had her contract extended with Healing and Rebuilding our Communities in Bujumbura; Lisa has gone on to work with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sudan; Alissa is completing her Masters thesis at the School of Oriental and African Studies with beautiful new baby Amani in tow; and Rhiannon is continuing her work with Gender Action for Peace and Security and also Women Living Under Muslim Laws.
As you can see, the support of Quakers through this employment really does what it sets out to do; in nurturing, training and supporting committed people to go out into the world and make a change in it. Long may this legacy continue.
Moving forwards – a HUGE warm welcome to the new group of Peaceworkers and Programme Assistants – Andrew, Andy, Angharad, Claire, Emily and Josep;
L-R: Back row – Josep, Andy, Andrew. Front row – Claire, Emily, Angharad
They’ve already started working on new and exciting projects in the UK, Burundi and Switzerland, so I will leave you in their capable hands as they carry the blog forwards, and continue to tell the stories of peacework around the world…
The Scotland Tour, Day 5 : Final videoThe Scotland Tour: Day 5, Final Video
Having travelled overnight from Glasgow, Owen and Rhiannon report for the final time from the Caledonian sleeper train.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our video diaries, we certainly enjoyed putting them together!
The Scotland Tour, Day 3: Video 2
On the road again, Rhiannon and Owen stop off in Glasgow for a little Haggis. Plural – Haggises? Haggi?
The Scotland Tour, Day 3: Video 1
Preparing to leave for Castle Douglas, Owen and Rhiannon report for the final time from Pluscarden Abbey
The Scotland Tour, Day 2: Video 3
Owen and Rhiannon get The Full Scottish Experience.
The Scotland Tour, Day 2: Diary 2
Rhiannon reports from Pluscarden, after the first gig.
The Scotland Tour, Day 2: Diary 1
Owen reports from backstage at our first gig: Highlands and Islands Area Meeting, Pluscarden, reallyfaraway.