Peace
is a
Fire

About Us

Peace is a fire. It is dynamic, nuanced, and messy. Often it is more grey than black or white. Peace Fire is a newly formed nonprofit that creates spaces where people from diverse, and often opposing backgrounds, can safely encounter one another. We aim to facilitate an awareness of our shared humanity beyond ideology, politics, and identity by providing a space where a deeper understanding and appreciation of our difference may begin to grow.

Peace Fire values the qualities of compassion, awareness, encounter, and non-violence.

Encounter

Conflict always originates from a disconnection with ourselves and others. In an increasingly busy, noisy, and fast world there is so much distraction from what we are actually experiencing. Awareness can support us ground in the present, opening a space to deeply encounter what may be occurring in ourselves, in others and in-between. Peace Fire facilitates awareness creating the potential for an encounter between people that has a relational depth and meaning. It is from this place, through glimpsing our shared humanity that conflict may be able to be resolved.

Non-Violence

Peace Fire is based on the principles of non-violence. We recognize that violence has often been committed, and violence has been experienced, by many whom we encounter. In the spaces we create in the present, we endeavor to facilitate using a language and approach that is based on non-violence to others, and to ourselves.

Trauma

We need empathy so we can give empathy. For many people we encounter who seek peace and reconciliation their experience of enduring trauma is a significant part of their experience. Peace Fire approaches all encounters through a trauma informed lens developed through international practice experience and research across diverse cultures and populations.

Events

Peace Fire works with strategic partners to produce events that have the meaning and purpose of creating a more equitable, communicative, and peaceful society. We structure our events to be a lived example of what is possible when we assemble with awareness. Our events aim to be dynamic, creative and whilst recognize the lived pain for many – forward thinking. Our next event will be the Steel Shutter Revisited – 50th Anniversary Conference in Belfast.

The Steel Shutter Revisited

In 1972 at the height of the violent Troubles in Northern Ireland a group of people including the famous psychologist Carl Rogers, attempted something radical. Taking great risks for all involved they flew nine stakeholders (5 Protestants and 4 Catholics) from Ireland to Pittsburgh and filmed a three-day encounter group. The highlights of this process were captured on a video called The Steel Shutter. On the 1st December, exactly 50 years to the day we are hosting a conference to revisit this achievement in peace and reconciliation.

We believe that this encounter is more relevant today than ever.

This event will be of interest to stakeholders in: peace and reconciliation, education, conflict resolution, trauma, psychotherapy, legacy studies, counselling.

Speakers will be analyzing the past, taking stock of the present, and looking to the future:

Peace Fire – Dr. Michael R. Montgomery

The Forgiveness Project – Marina Cantacuzino, MBE

University of the Arts London – Professor. Pratap Rughani

Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation – Naoimh McNamee, CEO

Researcher, Vienna – Dr. Michael Weiss

Researcher, Dublin – Robert Barry, MA

Author – Dr. Tony Mcauley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmZ0Q3SR0EE

Encounter 2023

In 2023, Peace Fire is planning to bring a group of ideologically opposed Americans to Belfast for an awareness–encounter group. It is hoped that by doing so we can demonstrate the impact of these types of encounters on our connections and understandings during conflicted times. During the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement it is also hoped that this project will showcase the peace and reconciliation work conducted in Northern Ireland and remind those in opposition of the implications of what is at stake by situating the encounter in the shadow of the violent past.

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