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My name is Kristina Schauer and I am writing in support of PATRIR’s nomination for the World Vision Peace Prize. My relationship to this organization is through its founder, Kai Frithjof Brand-Jacobsen, who is my cousin and close friend. I’ve never been directly involved with PATRIR’s peace work, but I can speak about its director, which he will probably find totally mortifying but I’m going to embarrass him anyway.
Kai is a very unique individual. His intelligence is undeniable; even at a young age, Kai had an insatiable appetite for information and ideas. At 15, while the rest of us were reading teen novels, Kai would settle down with a copy of Gandi’s collected works. Kai could talk about various philosophers for hours, but he wasn’t a bookworm; Kai could also play a mean game of Monopoly and pull in dozens of mackerel when a school came through. Kai always worked hard to ground the towering castle of ideas and theories in real life, with real people, to focus that energy on action and not simply contemplation.
When he took to the vocation of peace building, it was with the passion of someone who had found real meaning and purpose in his life, and this dedication has not foundered after all these years. He used his powers of analysis not just to argue with our uncles (although he continues long debates every summer), but to challenge assumptions at the root of conflict all over the world. As when we were young, this is coupled with an enormous capacity for human compassion and connection. Kai is generous with his hugs, his interest in how peoples’ lives are going, his delight in every day joys and his empathy with sorrow. He loves children so much I think they are not quite sure if he is a kid or a grown-up. I sometimes ask him how he is able to keep himself together in the face of so much pain and suffering he sees in his work, and he said you have be open and honest, to take people as they are, not as you want them to be, and that out of conflict comes the possibility for transformation.
I am so proud that Kai has become a kind of midwife of this process, that he is willing to not just want and imagine peace in the world, but to devote his life to it and accept the incredibly hard work required to help people make a difference in their own lives. Again, he is probably highly embarrassed to read this, not just because I am making my feelings public, but because this prize is about PATRIR, not Kai himself. When Kai talks about his work, it is always in the third person, what “we” are doing and “our” development. He has always emphasized team building, training, and support for peace workers, as well as rigorous academic study. Kai could have been a one-man show in this business, keeping all the praise for himself, but that would not have been a very peaceful way to make peace. Kai has enormously high standards for himself and is above all a man of honesty and integrity. He would never bring dishonor to this field by stealing the spotlight, and the world is a better place for it.
This is the person at the helm of PATRIR, and I firmly support awarding this organization the World Vision Peace Prize.
Among others, PATRIR provides cutting-edge peacebuilding training and I have had the privilege to participate in two of their trainings since 2003. The second one I co-organized with PATRIR when I was a grad student based at the Institute for Dispute Resolution in Victoria, Canada. Kai Brand-Jacobsen delivered both trainings and it is fair to say that the experienced professionals in the room learned just as much from him as the inexperienced students. PATRIR is able to draw upon a wealth of knowledge, skill and experience, based on their peacebuilding initiatives around the world and this lends their training work a practicality that is lacking in similar programs offered elsewhere. I also had the opportunity to organize a public lecture for Kai during another visit to Victoria, where the interest in PATRIR's work was so high we exceeded capacity of the room we booked and had to move the entire crowd into an auditorium in another part of the venue.
I wholeheartedly endorse PATRIR's nomination for the International Peace Prize.
I met through PATRIR a lot of inspirational people who taught me that Peace can be realised not only by high-level negitiations, but through everybody's effort to understand and to communicate with other cultures and that any small step is actualy a huge step. I always though of myself as being naive enough to believe in justice and peace and crazy enough to do something about them and at most times I felt alone in this endeavour but PATRIR showed me the contrary and that these are not ideals but a state of mind. That's why I fully believe that the PATRIR team should win the WV Peace Prize.
I would like to support the nomination of the Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR) for the Peacemaking and Peacebuilding Award of World Vision.
As Codirector of the International NGO, Nova-Nonviolence and Peacebuilding, writer on Economic Democracy and trainer in different educational activities in Europe, the Middle East and the Palestinian Territories I would like to post and underline the important contribution and inspiration I personally obtained from the excellent work of PATRIR.
As a participant on several PATRIR training activities, I learned tools, strategies and planning methodologies that have been inspiring, since then, my personal and organizational work in different fields.
As a member, with planning responsibilities, of my organization: Nova (www.nova.cat), we have been working in strong cooperation with PATRIR in several activities like partnering in several training activities in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Egypt and others, developing several in-country conflict assessments, reports and policy papers and cooperating on developing formal educational activities like the current Professional Diploma on International Law and Nonviolent Conflict Transformation of Al Quds University, Nova and the Palestinian Popular Committees.
I think the PATRIR contribution for promoting excellence and a greater impact on several peacebuilding activities across the world has been a key contribution for promoting our shared field of action.
I think today the world is better and more peaceful thanks to PATRIR.
In peace and solidarity,
Luca Gervasoni i Vila
Although I have only been a volunteer with PATRIR for 5 months, this experience proved to be life-changing. The dedicated staff at PATRIR introduced me to peacebuilding and, thanks to them, I developed a passion for this field that greatly influenced my decision to follow human rights and peace studies in order to become a peace worker myself.
I am grateful to have had the chance to meet and work with such wonderful, professional people, and I am honoured to have been part of this committed team and contribute to its immense work. PATRIR is an example of how this world can become better, therefore I strongly support them for being awarded the World Vision Peace Prize 2011.
MESSAGE FROM Okot Francis Odwong:
"I am writing to express my support for the selection of PATRIR for peace award.
I have known PATRIR President Kai Brand–Jacobsen who facilitated a course on Peacebuilding, Violence Prevention & Post–War Recovery. PATRIR through Kai Brand–Jacobsen provided the professional facilitation to students undergoing capacity cooperation in Masters of Internal Peace Studies in developing a multi–disciplinary knowledge and skills required to plan, manage and implement programs that build towards the sustainable recovery of war–torn societies.
Basing on my analysis, PATRIR has consistently proven to be an exceptional forward thinker and next generation strategist. The leadership roles that PATRIR manifested through the intellectual guidance of Kai Brand–Jacobsen to Masters Students “Ubuntu Class” 2010/2011 carry a consistent theme of strategic innovation. In my personal experience with PATRIR staff, PATRIR has vision and openness to other thoughts and obvious enthusiasm for delivering key homegrown approach towards outstanding achievements
I wholeheartedly recommend that PATRIR be granted the award. They are industry leaders in the field of innovation, efficiency and most worthy of recognition within peace building field."
Okot Francis Odwong
MA students from Uganda- Great Lake Regions African Program
UN Mandated University for Peace
I am a diplomat in the Romanian MFA, and I've heard about PATRIR for the first time from the German MFA, in Berlin, where I was posted for a diplomatic tenure with the Romanian Embassy there.
They were highly appreciative of PATRIR's work and recommended close cooperation in developing Romania's policy for training and deployment of civilians in post-conflict areas.
Later, our direct interaction with PATRIR confirmed the highly appreciative description made by my German counterpart. We cooperated in opening our national/governmental structure in the field, and as time goes by we enlarge and consolidate our cooperation in various dimenssions specific to peace operations.
Their capacity for in-depth analysis and thorough understanding of the root causes of conflicts are - I believe - the main added value they bring, as this is the critical characteristic that empowers them to provide sound policy/action recommendation.
I would be delighted to provide further information - on demand.
I have worked at PATRIR for about a year and a half between 2004-2006 as secretary and training programs coordinator. Working there was a great experience, i learned very much in very diverse fields, from peacebuilding to NGO administration. My time there was very exciting as every day presented a new challenge. But what i appreciate most about PATRIR is the people that make it work. I have met there several of my best friends and understood there the real meaning of teamwork.
I gladly endorse PATRIR for this prize because it is an organization in which the best quality of work is the norm and this quality is acquired through the trust it puts in people.
I have seen PATRIR develop as an organization since its very early days, having contributed to its growth for the first 7 years of its life. It is a professional organization, a family and a spirit that has supported, touched, influenced, trained and inspired so many people personally and professionally, from all corners of the world, just as much as all these people bear the merit of having inspired and contributed to the dedication of PATRIR staff, members and associates.
PATRIR certainly deserves the recognition of the World Vision Peace Prize!
The Institute for Eurodemocracy Glafcos Clerides, Cyprus would like to wholeheartedly support the nomination of Patrir for the Peace prize. We have worked with Patrir on conflict resolution projects in Cyprus and have had the best of experienceswith them.
President Institute for Eurodemocracy Glafcos Clerides, Cyprus
PATRIR was and is one of the most active and inspiring organizations within the European Network for Civil Peace Services. As one of the former coordinators of EN.CPS I know the organization for many years now and I experienced that the impact worldwide of PATRIR being a relatively small organization is incredibly big. With its dedicated staff and its enormous expertise PATRIR has had very much significance for the nonviolent struggle for peace and justice in many countries. That’s why I sincerely hope PATRIR will be awarded with the World Vision Peace Prize for its excellent work not only in Romania but in a great number of conflict areas around the globe.
Henk Zandvliet, former director of NEAG Alternatives to Violence, Netherlands.