In April 2019, Catalyst for Peace fulfilled a long-held vision to invite peace practitioners from around the world to Sierra Leone. Delegates from Afghanistan, Somalia, Kenya, Northern Ireland, the United States, Zimbabwe joined colleagues from across Sierra Leone to exchange ideas and to dive deeply into Fambul Tok, a unique embodied example of peacebuilding from the inside out.
Constellating Peace, our inaugural global gathering, brought together practitioners from every level — local and national governance, national and international NGOs, international funders and community activists — in a conversation centered, in the words of one delegate, “on what is strong in communities, not what is wrong.” The gathering drew power and inspiration from sharings by Peace Mothers, local leaders, and community members revitalized by the People’s Planning Process, an approach to community-centered, truly locally-led development pioneered by Fambul Tok and Catalyst for Peace. The vibrant success of Fambul Tok was rooted equally in the theory that Catalyst for Peace has built from a decade+ of close listening, holding space, and accompaniment.
Contsellating Peace marked the beginning of a new phase for Catalyst for Peace, one focused on growing a community of global learner-practitioners in conversation about the lessons, challenges, and inspirations they draw from applying inside-out principles in their contexts.
We imagine helping to shape more spaces committed to mutual learning and encouragement, even as we know there are major challenges to working in this way. Mindsets must shift, practices must change, and structures must be reimagined. Through collaboration around events, workshops, and trainings with organizations like the International Peace Institute, and through sustained engagement with practitioners during moments of unique growth and opportunity, and in nurturing ongoing global conversations, virtually and in-person, this is the work we are living into.