INTERNATIONAL PEACE DELEGATION TO SYRIA
Led by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire
SOLIDARITY WITH THE SYRIAN PEOPLE 24-30 November 2015
Mairead Maguire; Ireland (Northern Ireland, United Kingdom)
Mairead Maguire is cofounder of the Peace People Movement and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her extraordinary actions to end the political conflict in her native Northern Ireland. The Peace People is a movement committed to building a just and peaceful society through nonviolent social action. Since receiving the Nobel Prize, she has dedicated her life to promoting peace, both in Northern Ireland and around the world. Mairead is a member of the International Peace Council and the Nobel Women Initiative. Her global peace efforts have included regular visits to the Middle East region to work with peace activists for nonviolent solutions to conflict. Mairead has led two previous peace missions to Syria in 2013 and 2014.
Ann Patterson; Ireland (Northern Ireland, United Kingdom)
Ann Patterson was a family therapist at the Quaker Centre in Belfast who worked to provide counselling and support for families from divided communities. During the peace process in Northern Ireland, Ann worked with imprisoned paramilitaries from both sides, preparing them to enter into peace talks. Ann joined the Peace People in 1976 and established one of the local Peace People groups. Ann has since travelled extensively, acting as an independent observer in numerous countries in conflict including Colombia, post-genocide Rwanda and Uganda. Ann will act as trip coordinator for this visit.
Darcy Johnson; USA
Darcy Johnson has had a thirty year career working as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities and mental illness. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and of the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine where she was ordained as an interfaith chaplain in 2011. She is an oblate of the Benedictine Sisters and a member of Benedictines for Peace. Currently she is enrolled at Andover Newton Theological School as a graduate student in the Global Interreligious Leadership program.
Revd. Andrew Ashdown; United Kingdom
Revd Andrew Ashdown has been an Anglican Parish priest for the last 25 years. He has considerable experience of inter-faith engagement, and has travelled widely throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, leading many groups on encounter visits, and at different times has held responsibility for various Church links in Asia and Africa. Andrew is currently Inter-faith Adviser to the Bishop of Winchester, and has recently stepped aside from parish ministry to undertake a PhD in the field of Christian/Muslim dialogue and relations. Prior to the conflict, Andrew brought several groups to visit Syria, and more recently joined two delegations to the country, with Mairead Maguire in 2014, and earlier in 2015 for a Conference at Damascus University.
Revd. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe; United Kingdom
Revd. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP, Dominican friar, former Master of the Order, and Director of the Las Casas Institute, Oxford.
Feroze Mithiborwala; India
Feroze Mithiborwala is an Indian secular peace advocate with roots both in the progressive Gandhian as well as Leftist ideologies. He also specialises, writes and lectures on the West Asian Region as well as International Politics and Strategic Affairs. He is committed to the struggle against Imperialism, Zionism and Religious Fanaticism. He is the Founder General Secretary of the Indian Palestine Solidarity Forum (IPSF), as well as the Founder of the Asian Peoples’ Solidarity for Palestine (APSP). He was also the Founder Convenor of the First Asian Convoy to Gaza (2010), as well as the Global March to Jerusalem (2012). He is also an integral part of the International Syria Solidarity Movement and has visited Syria during the ongoing crisis in both 2013 and 2014. He has widely written and organized programmes in India to create a larger solidarity with the Syrian nation and the international peace movements.
Justinya Bajer; Poland
Justyna has 10 years of international experience as a journalist and diplomat. From 2009 through 2013 she served as Deputy Chief of the Embassy of Poland in Kabul, Afghanistan and previously as Development Aid Officer for ISAF in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. As journalist, she has written about international developments and security challenges. Justyna has a deep interest in the process of conflict resolution, stabilization operations, minority protection and geopolitical trends, among other topics. She holds MA in Political Science and European Studies.
Marco Santi; Belgium
Marco Santi is a Belgian politician and president of the Démocratie Nationale party which is based in the Walloon French speaking region of Belgium. He has previously visited Syria in March of this year as part of a delegation of Belgian politicians.
Susan Dirgham; Australia
Susan Dirgham is the National Coordinator of “Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria” (AMRIS), a group set up by activists when Mother Agnes Mariam was on a speaking tour of Australia in 2012. AMRIS is part of ISTEAMS, the International Support Team for the Mussalaha (reconciliation) initiative in Syria. In 2004 and 2005, she taught English at the British Council in Damascus. Susan will act as a press contact for the visit.
Alan Lonergan; Ireland (Republic of Ireland)
Alan Lonergan is the Church Liaisons Officer for Sadaka the Ireland Palestine Alliance. He is a peace activist who and has travelled extensively in the Middle East. A member of the Free Gaza Movement he participated in one of the sailing missions to break the siege on Gaza and bring humanitarian supplies to Gaza. He also acts as an associate of ISTEAM The International Support Team for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) Initiative in Syria. Alan will act as a press contact for the visit.
Shrikant Ramdas, India
Shrikant Ramdas has spent a large part of his childhood in the Middle East, including his early years in Lebanon. He has travelled widely and has a deep respect for the cultures around the world, and great empathy and mutual respect for the humanity that binds all of us. He is keen to see with his own eyes the courage of the Syrian people and its leader, and is much pained by the biased coverage of the western mainstream media. As a representative from India, he wishes to personally reinforce his solidarity with the Syrian people, and will take back a message of love and hope back to his home country. He actively promotes and supports journalists and writers who speak truly and seek peace for all. He currently works as an analyst in the financial services industry.
Maria Monomenova; Russian Maria Monomenova is a journalist and member of the Russian Union of journalists, with an international press card. Currently she is working in the media and magazine publications of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 2013, as a journalist she visited Damascus for the first time. She was invited by the first lady of Syria and met with the primate of the Antiochian (Greek) Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East John X, the Supreme Mufti of Syria Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, and Ministers of the Syrian government. In 2014 Maria was invited to Damascus to the international conference against terrorism. She has defended the historical heritage of Syria and written about the convergence of people of different faiths in the fight against global terrorism and extremism.
Sharmine Narwani; Canada
Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics and publishes her work in a wide variety of publications, in both east and west. Currently she writes her commentary primarily for Russia Today. Note: Sharmine will be in the company of the delegation but as an independent observer and not as an official delegate.