It probably started back in 2009 at the International Institute for Peace Education (IIPE) in Budapest. Among the inspiring conversations and contributions that were shared, a few key questions connected us deeply: How can we foster peacebuilding from within? How could peace education be made more effective and sustainable by starting on the intrapersonal level? What should be contained in such approaches, what would be the methodology?
At that moment we didn’t yet think of mindfulness as an answer to these questions. Our personal meditation practice was just that, and we did not yet connect it directly to our professional work in peace education. But working with some difficult realities in Nepal, Thailand, India and Colombia… read more in our first blog entry!
The Conference Mindfulness Approaches in an African Context organized by the Institute for Mindfulness in South Africa was our first official event participation as BREATHE International. It was a privilege to exchange with and learn from people who have thought and worked with sensitivity and care towards reconciliation in South Africa, such as Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, former director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as from many other great people and mindfulness experts like David Treleaven, Rhonda Magee, Mark Williams and Rebecca Crane. We shared an enriching panel with Pumla and David on how to apply mindfulness practices with communities or individuals that have experienced systematic violence and trauma like the groups we work with through the BREATHE in Reconciliation program.