Development and Peace organized its last Orientation Assembly in Otterburne, Manitoba, from June 11 to 14. In total, nearly 200 people, including delegates from every province in the country, partners from the North and South, young people, members of the National Council, employees, and volunteers gathered to reflect upon and discuss the organization’s broad guidelines for the years to come. The assembly was held in a festive atmosphere, a reminder that Development and Peace will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017.
In order to lay the groundwork for the discussions, various speakers shared their points of view and expertise on the very essence of solidarity both here and in the countries of the Global South and also on the role that an organization such as Development and Peace must play along with the issues we must address. Among them, Most Rev. Fulgence Muteba Mugalu, Bishop of Kilwa-Kasenga and General Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Nayla Tabbara of the Adyan Foundation in Lebanon; Humberto Ortiz, General Secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action of Peru; Michel Roy, General Secretary of Caritas Internationalis; Jean Letitia Saldanha of CIDSE; Jennifer Henry, Executive Director of Kairos; Julia Sanchez, Director of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation; Most Rev. Pedro Barreto, Archbishop of the City of Huancayo in Peru; and Lisa Raven and François Paradis of Returning to Spirit. Also in attendance were Marlene Pavletic (Catholic Women’s League of Canada); Jim Cornelius (Canadian Foodgrains Bank); and Patrick Fletcher (Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops).
The discussions were guided by various problems and challenges, including the following: How do we best exert our influence within the Church and in Canada? How can we increase the impact of our advocacy and social justice work? What are the new challenges and opportunities of our international programs? How can we achieve diversification and financial autonomy? What is the best governance structure that would serve our mission most effectively? A report drafted by the overview committee of the Orientation Assembly will soon be available.
In addition, a large delegation of 24 Development and Peace youth members contributed to the discussions. Dynamic young members of local groups in Manitoba shared their experience within the movement and their dreams for the future of Development and Peace.
Alongside these discussions, participants had the opportunity to experience moments of reflection, gathering and celebration. A number of activities incorporated elements of Indigenous culture, so visible and important in Manitoba. Lisa Raven and François Paradis shared their experience at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Participants were also able to participate in purification and consciousness-raising exercises, in a march for reconciliation, and other equally rewarding activities.
We invite you to discover the pictures of the event below: