Follow us to Iraqi Kurdistan #PPFIK
The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is partnering with Christian Peacemaker Teams to travel with a delegation of ten people to Iraqi Kurdistan. This delegation will focus particularly on the role and impact of fossil fuels in the region and how we might respond faithfully and in solidarity with our partners there. Since February, the delegates have been preparing for this delegation by reading about the history and current context of Iraqi Kurdistan and fundraising for the delegation.
The delegation will be led by Terra Winston, who served on PPF's National Committee, trained as a Colombia Accompanier, and who has worked for Christian Peacemaker Teams for several years, leading delegations primarily to Iraqi Kurdistan. On the delegation will be seven Presbyterians and three ecumenical delegates. The Presbyterians on this delegation are all raising their funds through PPF and are committed to attending the Presbyterian Church (USA) 222ndGeneral Assembly in Portland, Oregon June 18-25, 2016 in order to share experiences and stories with the larger Presbyterian Church (USA) upon our return.
Meet the Presbyterian delegates who will be part of the delegation and will travel to General Assembly in June. Each delegate has their own fundraising page with more biographical information and their interest in going on this delegation:
Lois Aroian is a teaching elder, Middle East historian, and retired diplomat. She has spent much of her life studying and working for peace in the Middle East and, while she is familiar with the history of the Kurds, she is excited to learn more firsthand on this delegation.
Ashley Bair is an MDiv student at Princeton Theological Seminary. She participated in the PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer Program before attending seminary, and she is excited to be going on this delegation because she believes wholeheartedly that cross-cultural relationships and peacemaking efforts are an essential part of ministry.
Emily Brewer is a Co-Director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. She has served as a PPF Accompanier in Colombia, a Young Adult Volunteer in Guatemala, and has participated in peacemaking delegations to Palestine, El Salvador, and Tunisia.
Andrea Hickerson is a journalism professor at Rochester Institute of Technology and wrote her master's thesis on a Kurdish satellite TV station. She has studied Kurdish refugees for over a decade through her master's in Middle East Studies and her PhD in Communications, and she is excited to finally go to Iraqi Kurdistan after ten years of reading and writing.
Vivian Lovingood is a teaching elder who participated in a PPF delegation to Israel and Palestine some years ago. She is excited to participate in this delegation and to connect with people and communities in Iraqi Kurdistan and to share what she learns in her own context upon returning.
Whitney Palmer works for her family's veterinary business. She was a PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer in Guatemala and served as a PPF Colombia Accomapnier. It was through her experiences in Guatemala and Colombia that Whitney began to embrace nonviolence in her own life. She is excited to go on the delegation to Iraqi Kurdistan to learn more about displacement in the region and and how Kurdish communities are using non-violent resistance against military operations.
Timothy Wotring is an MDiv student at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, a volunteer coordinator at a soup kitchen and shelter, and an Inquirer in the Presbyterian Church. He came to peacemaking and nonviolence through reading about the work of Dorothy Day and Oscar Romero and through his experiences living in a Catholic Worker community.
The delegation will be based in Sulaimani, in the Kurdish Regional Government. Delegates will meet with representatives of non-governmental organizations, human rights groups, displaced persons, and government officials. They will gain a perspective on the challenges facing people in northern Iraq and the impact there of violence in other areas of Iraq and along the borders of the KRG. The delegation will participate in the work of CPT's longer-term project of reporting on human rights abuses and supporting local reconciliation. Some physical rigors may be involved.
We hope that you will support this delegation by praying for the delegates and following the delegation on this blog and through #PPFIK on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you wish, you may also make a tax-deductible donation to any of the delegates' individual fundraising campagins.