On September 21st — International Peace Day — AF-PCFF hosted a webinar discussion to meet and honor incredible peacemakers from all over the world who have suffered a tragic loss due to violence and conflict and have used the power of their pain to create a positive, meaningful change in the world.
Jo Berry is an inspiring speaker who works to resolve conflict around the world. Sixteen years after her father was killed by an IRA bomb, Jo first met with the man responsible, Pat Magee. This initial three-hour meeting led to them speaking on over three hundred occasions, on a shared platform around the world. Jo is the founder of the charity Building Bridges for Peace, dedicated to advocating that unbounded empathy is the biggest weapon we have to end conflict. With political, religious and racial divides deepening as global and local events unfold, her words offer a message of hope and encourage us all to see the humanity in others.
Andrea LeBlanc lost her husband, Robert, on September 11th, 2001. Robert was on United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center in New York. In response to the immense pain of loss, Andrea chose to seek peace in the belief that violence always begets violence and that individuals always have the ability to choose how they will react to tragedy and loss. In January 2003, she joined the organization September 11th Families For Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization founded by a small group of family members of those killed on September 11th, who work together to promote nonviolence and peaceful dialogue.
Alan McBride worked as a butcher on the Shankill Road in Belfast when his wife Sharon and father-in-law Desmond were killed in a bomb attack at the family fish shop in 1993. He has been actively engaged in peacebuilding work for the past twenty years with various agencies and is currently co-ordinator of the WAVE Trauma Centre in Belfast, an organisation that provides care and support to individuals and communities impacted by the violence in Northern Ireland. Alan is a founder member of Healing Through Remembering, a charity set up to explore imaginative ways of dealing with the past. He also served as a Commissioner for Human Rights with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, from 2012 – 2017.
Yuval Rahamim’s father, Abraham Rahamim, was killed in 1967 while serving in the Six Day War. Yuval was 8 years old at the time. He joined the Parents Circle in 2010 and served as President of the board from 2011-2014. Since December 2015, Yuval has chaired the Israeli Peace NGOs Forum, an association for empowerment and cooperation of more than 120 Israeli and bi-national Peace organizations. He has served as the Israeli co-Director of the Parents Circle – Families Forum since 2020.
Najwa Saadeh was born in Bethlehem, Palestine. She became a member of the Parents Circle when she lost her daughter, Christine. In March 2003, the Israeli army opened fire on their car and her 12-year-old daughter, Christine, was killed. Since then, Najwa has devoted her life to seeking peace in Palestine and Israel by finding ways to stop the bloodshed and to achieve justice for all. To overcome her sadness, she has decided to work for hope and peace in order to build a better future for everyone, especially children. “Forgiveness is something great.”
American Friends of the Parents Circle – Families Forum