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25 juli 2018

Letter of invitation

From the first Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival (GMP) at Conrad Grebel University College (Waterloo, 2016), we have learned how valuable it is to meet as Mennonites/Anabaptists to share our experiences, capacities and struggles with peacebuilding, our theology pertaining to peace, peace practices, understandings regarding `just peace´ in different contexts and to engage peace art expressions. “[P]rior to the conference there had been no gathering that brought together academics and practitioners to engage in dialogue and information-sharing on the theory, theology, and practice of Anabaptist/Mennonite peacebuilding around the world”1, observed the GMP final report.

From this experience of creating a space for interaction of academics, church workers, practitioners, artists, among others, we have recognized the importance to provide some continuity. Therefore, we will host a Second Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference (2nd GMP) at “Mennorode”, Elspeet (The Netherlands), 27-30 June 2019.

Different organizations are involved in developing the gathering: Algemene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit (ADS, Mennonite Church in The Netherlands), Doopsgezind Seminarium (Mennonite Seminary Amsterdam with its Amsterdam Center for Religion and Peace & Justice Studies), and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU University Amsterdam). Others have expressed interest to support and come on board as we proceed. This is most welcome, since 2nd GMP shall be a shared space for all of us.

In addition to the hosting organizations, the proposed 2nd GMP is the result of a close dialogue with the emerging Global Anabaptist Peace Network (GAPN), in connection with the Peace Commission of Mennonite World Conference (MWC). At the 2016 GMP, an ad hoc committee made a crucial step toward the long-held goal of a Global Anabaptist Peace Network with a proposal for its creation. Since then conversations continued to help in the development and materialization of GAPN, including the first steering committee meeting in Kenya in April 2018. It is envisioned that the 2nd GMP could be an opportunity to officially launch the GAPN. Having also discussed the matter at April meetings in Kenya, the MWC Peace Commission endorses this Second Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival.

Throughout 2018, we will communicate and publish more details about 2nd GMP, such as the dates and deadlines for submissions of presentations and workshops, logistic information, etc. It would be great to welcome as many of you as possible in June 2019 at Mennorode! For more information, please contact andrespachecolozano@mwc-cmm.org

Local organizing committee
Andrés Pacheco-Lozano (VU University Amsterdam and GAPN) – chair
Fernando Enns (VU University Amsterdam and University of Hamburg),
Vera Kok (Mennonite Church in The Netherlands and Mennonite Seminary Amsterdam),
Alex Noord (Mennonite Seminary Amsterdam),
Daan Savert (Student-Researcher VU University Amsterdam)
Henk Stenvers (Mennonite Church in The Netherlands),
Fulco van Hulst (VU University Amsterdam and Mennonite Seminary)

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