|HALA ABOU ALI is from Freidees in the Chouf area (one of the displaced villages) and she was amongst the first who united the Druze and the Christians of the village after a long rift under the non-violence and non-sectarian umbrella.
In 1989, during the “War of Liberation”, only one rocket fell in Freidees and killed Hala’s 16-year-old brother and her father died of a broken heart 10 days after.
Later Hala was able to transform this loss and deep sorrow and pain into an energy that would lead her to start building “Non-violent House” in the region.
Please refer to Hala’s Biography
|As a singer, songwriter, and musician from Rwanda, JEAN PAUL SAMPUTU has established himself as one of the most prominent African artists on the world stage.
A winner of the prestigious Kora Award (the “African Grammy”) in 2003, Samputu travels the world as a cultural ambassador for Rwanda,
bringing to his audiences not only traditional African singing, dancing, and drumming, but also a message of peace and reconciliation.
A survivor of the genocide in Rwanda, Samputu takes us to the most positive place of humanity through his spirit and graciousness.
|When her father Sir Anthony Berry MP was killed in the IRA Brighton Bombing during the 1984 Tory Party Conference, JO BERRY was thrown into a conflict she knew very little about.
Since then she has visited Ireland many times and worked with victims and former combatants from all sides. In November 2000 she met Pat Magee, the man responsible for her father’s death.
This was when she realised that “no matter which side of the conflict you’re on, had we all lived each others lives, we could all have done what the other did”. Please refer to Jo’s Biography
|ASSAAD EMILE CHAFTARI, born in Beirut, and as a young man Assaad participated actively in the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) and became Deputy Intelligence Director.
After the War, through the work of Initiatives of Change, Assaad began a long “change of heart” journey. In February 2000, he wrote a public letter of repentance and openly
apologised to his victims during the War. Since then, he has worked relentlessly towards civil peace in Lebanon. His recent work includes filming a documentary entitled ‘You and I Knowing each other’s religion’.
He makes regular visits to schools, universities and NGOs to share his experiences and journey of change; giving talks for the media, and at national and international gatherings, conferences and other events.
|ZIAD SAAB was born in Bourj Hammoud, the Armenian district of Beirut. He was drawn into politics as he joined the Communist Party at an early age,
and took part in the civil war as a teenage fighter. Twice receiving military training in the Soviet Union, Ziad became one of the most influential
commanders in the Lebanese civil war. In 1990, after 15 years in the battlefield, Ziad was reintegrated into civil life.
Since then, he has worked in the Ministry of Displaced People, engaged in reconciliation efforts and most recently involved in the Permanent Peace Movement.
Ziad plays a key role in the organisation of the commemoration day of the Lebanese civil war and the International Day of Peace.
|PAT MAGEE at twenty years of age, joined the IRA (Irish Republican Army). In 1986 he was sentenced to Life imprisonment for his role in the bombing of the Grand Hotel, Brighton.
After his release in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement he met Jo Berry, whose father he killed.
They continue to meet, sharing platforms, conferences, interviews at which they share their experience of meeting the ‘other’, both convinced of the need for dialogue and inclusivity
as prerequisites for dealing with all political grievances. He has also engaged with ex British soldiers as well as ex Loyalists, finding much to learn and understand from these meetings.
He now sees violence as a weakness but holds with the truth that at that time there were no other choices open to his community.
|MOHIEDDINE CHEHAB is a former fighter in a Sunni Muslim militia during the Lebanese civil war. Like Assaad, Mohieddine also transformed himself from an ex-fighter to an activist and promoter of peace.
He was Mayor of a business district of Beirut, and a current member of Initiatives of Change, Lebanon. For the last ten years, Mohieddine and Assaad have been working together to speak at schools, universities,
NGOs, national and international events about their journey of transformation and the need for civil peace. He is committed to transforming memories of violence into stories of peace.