The following article on the work of Shalom, Kenya, has been contributed by Tom Watson, president and founder of CauseWired, a US consulting firm advising clients on the social commons: nonprofits, foundations and companies.Tom is a journalist, author, and consultant who has worked at the confluence of media technology and social change for two decades. Tom writes a twice monthly column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy and he is the author of CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World (Wiley, 2008 ) a best-selling book that chronicles the rise of online social activism.
In March, Fr. Patrick Devine, SMA, returned to the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland for a lecture on the work of Shalom and his views on conflict resolution and peace efforts. Fr. Devine received thanks for this lecture from the center’s director and its faculty.
“Your return this time marked a real milestone for our partnership, with your address providing a really substantial and comprehensive overview of your work on conflict transformation in Kenya and across East Africa,” wrote Professor Hastings Donnan FBA MRIA FAcSS, Director of the Mitchell Institute. “As you saw, the audience was captivated by your lecture. You created a sense of intimacy that incorporated every individual in the room who were fascinated by how you managed to bring such positive benefit to situations which to many other observers seem intractable. We in the Institute certainly learnt from your overview and hope that we can continue to learn through sustained engagement with you and Shalom.”
Shalom also received this strong endorsement from Dr, Laura Basell, Lecturer in Archaeology, Queen’s University, Belfast:
“As a Fellow of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, on Wednesday 22nd March 2017, I was fortunate to attend a talk by Rev Dr Patrick Devine of the multi-faith Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, in which he discussed the innovative and inspirational work they have been conducting since 2009. I have worked as an archaeologist in Africa for 20 years, so many of the issues facing communities in eastern Africa which Rev Dr Devine discussed were familiar to me.
“What particularly impressed me however, was Shalom’s theoretical underpinning focussed on education, empowerment, and transcending ethnic and religious boundaries in order to address the root causes of conflict. Rev Dr Devine demonstrated that Shalom is an institution that “speaks” not only through the verbal articulation of its guiding principles, but predominantly through its deeds. It was fantastic to learn how a diverse, international and highly qualified team of conflict management practitioners has been brought together to work across communities to tackle conflict issues.
“While much remains to be done, their work is clearly making a difference from individuals to entire communities which is a wonderful achievement. I look forward to future collaboration, and to exploring ideas of multiple pasts, identity creation and education through shared heritage and practice.”
Read more about Fr. Devine’s lecture in this article by Gladys Ganiel, a research fellow who helped to organize the event.