Pre Conference Excitement

Things are starting to speed up!   Conference attendees and presenters from out of town started showing up tonight at the CRUDAN Guesthouse where we’ll all be staying for the duration of the conference.

It seems that most of the Nigerian attendees are well known to each other as many have been doing peace work for years.

The special guest of Thursday’s presenters, Amb. Dr. Mussie Hailu, Regional coordinator, United REligions Initiative (URI), and Representative at the Africa Union and UNECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia arrived in time to sit with us at dinner.  What a joy to meet him and have the opportunity to get to know him.  Towards the beginning of our conversation he asked me if I knew of the book, The Moral Imagination by John Paul Lederach.  I responded by exclaiming that it is my favorite book!  He smiled and proceeded to tell me that it is his favorite book as well, and he valued the book so much that he invited John Paul to Ethiopia to lead trainings.  He mentioned how wonderful it has been to work closely with John Paul the last two years.  What a great start.  I have found a friend for life.   After dinner I did a private showing of Pray the Devil Back To Hell.  He mentioned to me afterwards that he appreciated I had brought the film, for it exemplified the need not just to attend conferences and ‘talk’ about peace building, but to step into action.  We are off to a good start.

Earlier in the day we’d had the opportunity to talk with Mr Godwin Okoko, the country representative of APURIMAC Nigeria who has his office in Jos.  He is doing fantastic peace work locally.  His organization lined up the program we attended yesterday with students from throughout Jos.  Mr. Okoko also will be presenting tomorrow and joined us at our dinner table.  It was a joyous time for all of us.   What a blessing and gift to be in the company of these distinguished peace builders.