Ambassadors for Peace
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.
An ecumenical educational programme for young people in Syria and Iraq, enabling them to develop their own creative peace-building projects and promote peace and reconciliation in their diverse communities.
The aims are:
Help youth to develop their leadership skills and turn negative emotions into positive ones through providing them with spiritual and emotional support;
Encourage them to use their own individual talents to promote peace; and
Support them as they work on their projects, transforming their communities.
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, we are 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 program has spread to Duhok and Erbil in Iraq. To date, over 700 young people have begun their journey to become Ambassadors for Peace, and many peace-building projects are now in development, including a centre offering first aid training, a programme to rehabilitate vulnerable street children, and an ecumenical dialogue project.
In Memoriam: Garbees Saraydarian 1988-2019
We are heartbroken to report the death of Garbees Saraydarian, one of our Ambassadors for Peace in Lattakia, Syria. He died on 21st May 2019 after a brave battle for more than two years with an incurable brain tumour. When we first met Garbees, he was a volunteer with Eid'b'Eid, a local ecumenical group in Lattakia. He was a great supporter of Ambassadors for Peace and Little Heroes, and a huge help to our Middle East Coordinator.
Throughout his illness, he would work hard without any complaint. He was full of energy and loved by everyone. With his passing, we have lost a great pillar to the Ambassadors for Peace and Little Heroes, as well as to his church and to the community. We shall always remember him.
We offer our deepest condolences to his family, his friends, his church and to all Ambassadors.