The Arab Spring promised so much for the people of the Middle East. Tragically, it has delivered chaos and fear rather than freedom and hope. Diverse communities that lived peacefully together for centuries are now polarised by politics and faith. For Christians, the choice can seem to be very simple: to stay and suffer, or leave. We are demonstrating to the Christians of the Middle East that there is another choice: to stay and thrive as full members of the wider community.
'Ambassadors for Peace' is an ecumenical educational programme for young Middle Eastern men and women, enabling them to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding in their diverse communities. In this way they can contribute to the healing and strengthening of the fabric of society; this will benefit everyone, whatever their faith!
Through this programme, we support Christian presence in the Middle East by encouraging Christians to play a full role in the wider community as an indigenous part of society. In addition to building bridges between the Christian denominations, the Ambassadors learn how to repair relationships and rebuilding trust with neighbours of other faiths.
This is an ongoing programme, beginning with helping the young people to turn their feelings of despair and anger into a positive force for peace. Once this stage of the journey is complete, we introduce the Ambassadors to advocacy as they develop their own peace projects and the best projects are chosen in a democratic way. For many, this will be their first experience of presenting themselves, campaigning for support for their ideas, and taking part in an open and free election. In Lattakia this year, we shall be helping those whose projects were chosen to develop their ideas, to prepare budgets and detailed plans, engage with their community and then to seek funding. Our long-term goal is to see these projects make a genuine impact on the lives of those in their communities and beyond.
We launched Ambassadors for Peace in Lattakia, Syria, in 2014. Since then, the programme has spread to Duhok and Erbil in Iraq. To date, over 450 young people have begun their journey to become Ambassadors for Peace; with your help, they can continue their mission and make a real difference to their society.
Please click on the icons, below, to find out about our Ambassadors for Peace programme.