We are pleased to send you our Newsletter including our plans for 2015 and beyond. We have invited the people running our different projects to say what they are planning.
A NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE FUTURE OF BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA
We are following this up and searching for other funders. It takes time – and persistence.
In a debate in the House of Lords on Bosnia on October 21st , Lord Hylton, our Patron, said:
“The Soul of Europe has worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina for thirteen years, and stands ready to facilitate the widest possible dialogue in Bosnia. Such facilitation has already proved useful in Banja Luka and at and around Omarska as well as with the Serb monasteries in Kosovo.
Will Her Majesty’s Government make a contribution to the unavoidable costs of the kind of dialogue I have described? Will they seek matching funds from the EU?”
Adnan Jabucar who is our representative in Bosnia writes:
I am trying to widen the idea to the people from all levels of society and involve them – NGO activists, academics, politicians, journalists. That is because after that outburst of citizen rage and Plenum-forming it is topmost priority to involve as wide a coalition as possible, or conference of interested people to work out an alternative approach for better society. People are interested but sort of doubtful and apathetic. Even after the election we have more or less the same players and people questioning the regularity of the process. Nevertheless, plenums as such are dead, but the dissatisfaction is piling up so it is of great importance to continue with the dialogue as I mentioned before. Only that way can all possible energy be channelled in the right direction.
In Bosnia fifteen years ago it was unimaginable that a priest should advocate the rebuilding of a mosque, or initiate dialogue between religious communities, or to gather them in one place to discuss a joint future. Mission impossible was accomplished by the Soul of Europe and two knights of good will that came with open hearts and pure intentions. They managed to open a new chapter and to make possible some of the greatest improvements in my country without asking for honour or something in return. Often they were obstructed, unsupported, but never unhinged in their noble mission.
The initiative of the National Dialogue in my country comes at the right time. There are many reasons why it is essential that such a thing happens, however, the most important is that this country needs help but in a way that its citizens can be heard. What is it that the actual “ordinary” people want and not the political elites who are mired in the grey interests? Wide coalition advocated by the Soul of Europe can contribute to the European path of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the right way. Only thus can the voices be heard of those who want to sincerely pursue these steps towards the European Union. The citizens of this country really want it, because this way we will again find our rightful place in the community of European Nations where we for centuries belong. The Soul of Europe was successful in Bosnia and I am convinced they will be in the future.
I TOO, REMEMBER DUST
The Soul of Europe is helping to prepare a conference at Winchester University in 2015
Professor Peter Billingham writes:
‘I TOO, REMEMBER DUST’ (Paul Celan, Romanian Jewish poet 1920-70) is the name of a two day international conference on Peace Building, Politics and the Arts to be held at the University of Winchester UK in early September 2015. It is being organised by Peter Billingham, Professor of Modern Drama who will be leading and coordinating a team comprising of key stakeholders ranging from scholars, representatives of faith communities and practitioners across peace building and the arts. It is hoped and planned (subject to confirmation) that the British playwright and cultural commentator David Edgar will be a Keynote Speaker. His trilogy of plays dealing with the traumatic aftermath of the Fall of the Berlin Wall including ‘Pentecost’ (1990) are currently enjoying a critically acclaimed revival in London (2014).
Whilst the central focus of the conference will be on Bosnia and the tragic events of the Bosnia War, the conference’s wider frame of reference and interest will explore other international case studies of the inter-play between peace building, politics and the arts. Its emphasis will be on an exciting fusion of high-calibre debate and active, participatory discussion and creative practice.
Donald Reeves is a Visiting Fellow at Winchester University. Professor Peter Billingham is a member of the Soul of Europe Advisory Council.
CONSULTATION ON THE FUTURE OF GEORGIA
Following our nine day visit in 2012 to Georgia at the invitation of Bishop Malkhaz of the Evangelical Baptist Church a Consultation at Coventry Cathedral is being planned for 2015, of senior politicians, religious leaders and human rights activists, using the successful model the Soul of Europe and the Cathedral set up in 2001 for Bosnia
Bishop Malkhaz writes:
>It is my hope and prayer that the Coventry consultation is a deep and meaningful encounter for all the participants and facilitators. It is going to be a British contribution to the peace, freedom and reconciliation in the region. I am grateful to the Soul of Europe for taking a lead in preparation of the consultation.
12 CITIES and JAWAAB.
Planning is underway for the Soul of Europe setting up a European network of Muslims and non-Muslims in their 2Os and 30s to eradicate Islamophobia. This is a rare example of an intergenerational project.
Rizvan Hussein writes:
Jawaab is launching a campaign: IslamNoPhobia. The Soul of Europe will oversee the strategic development of this campaign. The Soul of Europe sits on the Advisory Board and has been invited to be mentors to Jawaab and to manage Jawaab’s senior team.
Rizvan Hussein is a trustee of the Soul of Europe Trust
Donald Reeves has been invited to be on the Board of Kosovo Interfaith to propose ideas for Programmes.
Marc Perry, Digital Editor, Interfaith Kosovo writes:
Peter Pelz and Donald Reeves brought their special knack for forming working friendships to interfaith discussions in Kosovo again this year. Their experience, wisdom and humour pushed people to focus and think deeper…to wake up from the stupor sometimes induced at international conferences. After a heavy Christmas dinner they provided the zest in the pudding! The newyear brings our focus to youth work and we look forward to employing the mentorship provided by the Soul of Europe towards inspiring younger generations…
FYFT – FROM YESTERDAY FOR TOMORROW
Donald Reeves has been appointed Trustee of FYFT – An NGO operating from Glasgow. FYFT (www.FYFT.co.uk) is ‘dedicated to creating emotional resources for use in schools: our peaceful artillery in the fight against prejudice’.
The founder and managing director Ben Freeman writes:
From Yesterday For Tomorrow is delighted that Donald Reeves is going to be joining our board of trustees. We are excited to learn from his expertise and experience and can’t wait to investigate the possibility of collaborating with the SofE.
DUST THOU ART
Peter Pelz has completed Dust Thou Art . He writes:
Dust Thou Art is going through several edits and should be finished shortly, waiting for a final edit from Roger Averill who wrote the biography of Peter’s father, Exile, which won a major literary prize in Australia. The book describes the work of the Soul of Europe, mainly in the Balkans, but taking in journeys and projects we are developing throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The book is a series of stories interwoven with autobiographical, cultural and political commentaries. The first part describes the preparation leading to and including the Coventry Consultation. The second part describes our project to establish a Civic Forum in Banja Luka, Bosnia, and the rebuilding of the Ferhadija Mosque. The third part describes what happened with the Civic Forum and the mosque, and the start of projects which continue.
Donald Reeves MBE
Directors of the Soul of Europe