Dydine Umunyana

Survivor of the Rwandan Genocide

“It is difficult to grow up in a conflict country because you live with the hate and revenge. Realizing that you are not the only one who is losing from the consequences of genocide helped me to overcome it and look to the future. It’s not only about me, but what can I do for my country to rebuild itself.”

Chardhi Kala Memorial 2015 6k Run/Walk

Bjørn Ihler

Survivor of July 22nd, 2011 Utøya Island Massacre in Norway

“I hope to prove that I have turned the violence around, that I’m using it to do something good in this world, to try and prevent future acts of violence, that we didn’t submit to Breivik’s ideology and that we instead are standing up against it.”

Hashim Garrett

Garrett was shot six times.  This gang-related shooting left him partially paralyzed from the waist down, filled with anger and a desire for revenge.  However, after several months he realized that forgiving the perpetrator was the only power that would free him to move forward positively.

Yasmin Mulbocus

…a former member and recruiter for a radical Islamic group in the UK who now prevents young Muslim women from joining extremist networks.

“Jihaad is not the bullet from the gun or a drop of the grenade motivated by hate and aggression… …It is (a way) to create a more cohesive, resilient, and progressive society, where hate and fear will be relics of the past and a reminder to the future of what we chose not to become.”

Jo Berry

Jo’s father Sir Anthony Berry was killed by an IRA bomb in 1984.

She later met Pat Magee, the man who placed the bomb.

“I’m beginning to realize that no matter which side of the conflict you’re on, had we all lived each others lives, we could all have done what the other did.”

Imogen Butler-Cole

Imogen is a theatre maker and trainer in communication skills. Her debut solo show Foreign Body, about her healing after sexual assault, will be touring throughout 2017. 

Søren Lerche

…is a former militant left-wing extremist who came to renounce violence after realizing he was no better than the neo-nazis he opposed.

Today Søren is an Educator and Project Manager who mentors at-risk youth and brings international peace agents together, empowering human beings to care for each other worldwide.

Mubin Shaikh

…was born and raised in Canada but at age 19, became a supporter of the militant jihadi culture. The 9/11 attacks prompted him to travel to Syria and study Arabic and Islamic Studies deepening his knowledge of Islam. Shaikh eventually relinquished his violent interpretations of Islam and volunteered with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to fight international and domestic terrorism.

Robi Damelin

Robi’s son David was killed by a Palestinian sniper while he was serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Upon being told of her son’s death, Robi responded, “You may not kill anyone in my son’s name”. Today Robi wages peace through Parents Circle Family Forum, a group of grieving families dedicated to ending the conflict that took her son.

Bassam Aramin

 

…co-founded Combatants for Peace, an organization of former Israeli and Palestinian combatants leading a non-violent struggle against the occupation. Since then, Bassam has remained a peace activist – even when, two years later, his ten-year-old daughter Abir was gunned down and killed by an Israeli soldier. He works alongside Robi Damelin in Parents Circle Family Forum.

Carlos Eduardo de Oliveira Ramalho

“My job as an educator in São Paulo, Brasil is more than teaching Portuguese and telling stories (yes, I’m a official story teller every afternoon). I believe in raising conscious children who cherish diversity and kindness.”

Amir Ahmad Nasr

…a young Muslim man with something explosive in his hands: a computer connected to the Internet. And it has the power to help ignite a revolution and blow apart the structures of ignorance and politicized indoctrination that too often still imprison the Muslim mind. 

Phyllis Rodriguez

On 11th September 2001, Phyllis Rodriguez’s son Greg was killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The following year Phyllis met Aicha el-Wafi, whose son Zacarias Moussaoui had been charged with conspiracy in connection with the atrocity. Aicha had travelled from France for a private meeting with families who had lost loved ones in the 9/11 attack.

Samantha Lawler

Samantha’s mother was murdered by her father in 1999 at the family home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her father admitted to strangling his wife, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and rape and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Thirteen years later, Samantha visited her father in prison – an event which would change her life.

Serve 2 Unite Global Mentors

The Serve 2 Unite Global Mentor program connects students with renowned peace activists from around the world. From survivors of violent extremism like Jo Berry, who lost her father to the Brighton bombing of 1984 and later faced his killer with a heart of forgiveness, to former perpetrators like reformed Jihadist Mubin Shaikh, who turned his life around and later foiled a terror plot in Toronto that would have rivaled 9-11, to world-changing bloggers like Amir Ahmad Nasr, catalyst of the Arab Spring uprisings, S2U initiates personal engagement between such superheroes of peace and our young leaders.

“Jo taught me that we can settle our differences by talking instead of fighting… …to overcome what she has in a positive way is just amazing.”

“I feel as if Søren was influenced more than something he chose. It was clear he felt alone before he made a change for the better.”

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