Greetings from the Goldin Institute! We are excited to share this month’s newsletter highlighting the work of our global associates who are positively contributing to their communities by stepping up their efforts and stepping out of their safety zones to ensure that their good work moves forward.

Watch a brief video overview of this newsletter: 


While the peace negotiations continue to break new ground in Colombia, paramilitary-linked groups opposed to the peace process have issued threats against human rights defenders, including our colleague Fr. Leonel Narvaez of our partner organization the Foundation for Reconciliation. In response to the death threats, Fr. Leonel has publicly invited the authors “to sit down and talk.” His plea for peace continues:


[quote]It is paradoxical that they threaten you with death because you work for forgiveness and reconciliation … To those who threaten me, I offer my forgiveness and my understanding … We forgive because we understand that you are not fully responsible for your mistake, for your rage. Someone, somewhere, has infected you all with their resentment. You are also victims just as we possibly will be.”[/quote]


Amidst this backdrop of intimidation, our Global Associate Lissette continues the work of implementing a community-driven approach for child soldier reintegration which continues to grow and gain the respect of local educators, community members and former child soldiers. Despite the contentious atmosphere and threats of violence, Lissette and her colleagues continue their work with compassion in their hearts and resolve in their minds.

We had the chance to catch-up in conversation with Lissette via Skype where she walked us through the current status of these important peace negotiations and explained how they could impact her work and her community. You can view this conversation with Lissette in full here.

The Institute's Global Associate Lissette Mateus (far right) leads a Forgiveness and Reconciliation training workshop in Colombia.


As a testament to our Global Associate’s passion for environmental sustainability in the conflict zone of Mindanao, our own Dr. Susana Anayatin has helped change the world yet again. Augmenting the work to provide safe drinking water to schools, including the implementation of new wells restoring clean water at an additional 15 schools in the Kabuntalan Province this month, the team in the Philippines participated in a national effort to break the world record of trees planted in an hour. On September 26, 2014 Dr. Anayatin was among the 113,000 volunteers including government employees, students and military personnel that broke the invisible, but often contentious boundaries that separate these groups to unite for environmental protection. As Guinness World Records continues to verify the count, officials in the Philippines report 3.2 million seedlings planted in six different areas on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Notwithstanding world records, the planet is in a better position to mitigate climate change and the new trees are essential to protect the watersheds and promote access to safe drinking water for generations to come.

Dr. Anayatin taking part in the reforestation tree planting project in Mindanao.

Poverty and Peacemaking

In many parts of the world, poverty and violence are common-place and intertwined realities. To explore and address these issues, the Goldin Institute participated in the Poverty and Peacemaking interdisciplinary conference and gathering at Princeton University on September 19 and 20. The conference was a concerted effort on the part of Princeton University and the community of Sant Egidio to amplify the dialogue between development professionals and students, scholars, government officials, activists, diplomats and religious leaders from around the world. The Goldin Institute was pleased to moderate a panel with participants from the Salvation Army and the World Bank focused on a new initiative to support peace building efforts through community-based heath care centers in Kibera – an informal settlement within Kenya.

Pinceton University's Poverty and Peacemaking conference, late September.
Photo Credit: Matt Weiner

Welcome Alejandro

alejandro for newsletterPlease join us in welcoming a new member to the Goldin Institute team. Alejandro Di Prizio comes to us as an AmeriCorps member completing a year of service through Public Allies Chicago.

Alejandro will serve as our Online Education Associate, bringing to the Goldin Institute many skills including a fluency in Spanish. Prior to joining AmeriCorps, Alejandro worked to create innovative family programs at the Art Institute of Chicago and later as a founding member of The Creative Agency for The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA). Outside of his service at Goldin Institute and AmeriCorps, Alejandro is an active musician and visual artist.


Next Newsletter

Watch our next newsletter for an exciting progress update from our partners around the world. Can’t wait until the next newsletter? Get your Goldin Institute fix by jumping onto our Facebook page for the latest news as it happens and join the growing community dedicated to uplifting stories of grassroots partnerships around the world at the tumblr site GoGrassroots!

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