Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action Network: Combating Religious Prejudice

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The Peacemakers in Action

In the field of religiously-motivated peacebuilding, Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action are extraordinary, yet unknown peace activists who work in conflict and post-conflict regions across the world. Together, the Peacemakers who make up the Peacemakers in Action Network are motivated by their respective religious traditions and they maintain a grassroots, community-centered approach to activism. In a rapidly changing world marked by transnational networks of communication, commerce, diplomacy and terror, it is often the voices of brutalized local communities and innocent civilians that go unheard in conflict zones.

Tanenbaum Peacemakers in Action give voice to those who suffer in conflict zones and bring humanity to situations that are often approached within each country from a top-down political/policy perspective rather than from a local and humanitarian one. The Peacemakers are essential to peacebuilding in an age when local history and knowledge are eroding and often times bypassed in top-down efforts to end conflict. The authority of local peacemakers and the innate knowledge they possess of their homeland and the historical and cultural roots of the conflict they confront are essential in the effort to bring about sustainable peace.

Currently, there are 26 living Peacemakers in Action who operate in 23 conflict and post-conflict zones. Tanenbaum facilitates this Network of religiously-motivated men and women by bringing the Network together for capacity building retreats, facilitating grassroots peacebuilding interventions, and coordinating regular Skype calls so that the Peacemakers can brainstorm together. The Network of Peacemakers offers diverse perspectives and opportunities for peaceful solutions in contemporary local and global conflicts.

Tanenbaum’s Women Peacemakers in Action

Women and children remain the most vulnerable populations in both conflict and post-conflict zones. Following from this, female peacemakers and community leaders working in conflict zones often go unrecognized. Tanenbaum continuously strives to highlight the work of female activists and has brought attention to women leaders operating in diverse locales including Syria, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines among others. While the conflicts they face are unique, as female Peacemakers they are united in their shared purpose of peacebuilding and female empowerment. The burden and dangers posed upon them as females working within patriarchal cultural and institutional systems are also shared grievances that they courageously face.

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, a Tanenbaum Peacemaker since 2002, is founder of the Afghan Institute for Learning (AIL), which educates and professionally trains both young women and men in Afghanistan. Operating in dangerous Taliban controlled regions of Afghanistan, Dr. Yacoobi has tirelessly sought to transform Afghan civil society by operating from the premise that education enlightens, empowers and ultimately changes a society. Following her highly acclaimed TED talk in 2015, most recently, Dr. Yacoobi spoke before a SXSW audience as recognition for her work continues to expand globally.

In a vastly different part of the world, fellow Tanenbaum peacebuilder, Dishani Jayaweera, seeks to heal wounds following Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, infamous for its civilian casualties and brutalities. Dishani, following a different model than Dr. Yacoobi, works towards national reconciliation by creating local groups where youth, females, the elderly, religious leaders and others who often go ignored by larger powers , are given a voice in the country’s future while also healing any wounds incurred during Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil conflict.

For more information about the brave women from the Peacemakers in Action Network who are working to combat violent extremism, see Tanenbaum’s recent Resource Sheet on “Women Who Pursue Peace and Justice” and corresponding questions.

Please refer to the Tanenabum website for more information regarding the current work of our Peacemakers, including Sheikh Abdulrahman, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Ricardo Esquivia, and Dishani Jayaweera.

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