Interfaith Programme in Gujarat, India
Interfaith Programme in Gujarat, India

Joe Campbell led a group of Nepali participants to a week long Interfaith Programme in Gujarat, India on January 2010. These 10 participants were from 5 faiths – Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Kirat and Muslim. The programme was an initiative of UMN Conflict Transformation staff in response to the growing tensions among faith groups in Nepal and was organised by Fr. Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit and Director of a faith based human rights, justice and peace organisation based in Ahamabad, India.

Q&A with Joe

What was the highlight of the Gujarat trip for you personally?
The highlight for me was the commitment of the Nepali group to make a positive difference to relationships in their home villages. Always asking questions, making notes and building their relationships among one another.

How do you see the growing tensions in faith groups in Nepal?
These tensions actually are more to do with what ethnic group people are born and raised in rather than faith. But since faith Hindu, Buddhist or whatever are closely aliened to ethnicity then it becomes a fracture line when there are local disputes about politics, or water supply or access to local resources.

What does UMN hope to see with these interfaith peace programmes ?
Our partners will now try and intervene early asmediators in local disputes. Sometimes acting in pairs representing the faiths in tension. It will not be easy and sometimes they will not be popular. Building peace requires courage as well as skill. But if just a few people can build bridges across divides then my experience is that others will follow. Everyone wants peace for their family and friends.

Desite the uncertain security situations in Nepal, what motivated you to come to Nepal and work in Conflict?
Simply I wanted to try and do some good. To leave this world a little better that I found it. My faith as a Christian has inspired me and helped me to work for peace. My country Ireland has seen 25 years of civil war. Some of my friends were killed so I know the pain and suffering people in Nepal have gone through.

How has your experience of work in Ireland as mediator helped your peace efforts in Nepal?
In Ireland I thought that all my life I and my children would see conflict. Then slowly things changed in small ways now we have peace. People change, even the most difficult people.. Conflicts are started by people and will be ended by people.  God wants all people to live in peace.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *