This year’s International Summer School will focus on “Peacebuilding & Human Rights Protection,” including training for conflict resolution, mediation, and human rights protection in the context of shrinking spaces for civil society and churches.
Peter Prove, WCC director for international affairs, shared a special greeting.
“Once again this year, the World Council of Churches is honored to partner with the United Evangelical Mission and the other cosponsors of this summer school, especially so in this year in which we mark the 75th anniversary both of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the World Council of Churches itself,” said Prove. “Now, many of you participants, coming from situations affected by conflict and injustice, will already know very well how inextricably connected violence and the violation of human rights are.”
Proved noted that it is essentially impossible to achieve a sustainable peace without ensuring respect for human dignity and rights.
“It is therefore illogical and impracticable to address peace-building and human rights separately or in isolation from each other,” he said. “However, as the framing of this summer school’s theme recognizes, the churches and civil society in general face new and growing challenges to this work for peace and human rights.”
The space for such work is shrinking, Prove noted.
“The task that you have committed yourselves to in your own contexts has only become more challenging because of these tendencies in our political systems, in our societies, and, yes, even in our churches,” he concluded. “I therefore pray that, through this program, you will gain knowledge, expertise, support, and strength for this important ministry, and that God will richly bless and empower you for it.”