Barry Fennell: Pandemic, People, and Peace

Barry Fennell: Pandemic, People, and Peace

Sun 21 Jun 2020 by Evan Short

This week I had the opportunity to be part of an online conversation and conference through Zoom. As we are all aware especially as a result of Covid-19 the impact upon our own face-to-face meetings, group discussions and facilitated workshops has been huge. Like many other organisations Co-operation Ireland and I have been able to utilise Zoom enabling us to continue our contact with people.

This has been crucial. Zoom certainly allows us to virtually interact with people as face-to-face, at the moment, is not possible. This makes telecommunicating seem much more human, as it helps you feel connected even though you are at home. Zoom has become an essential tool for me in being able to keep in touch and connected with others especially my work with youth groups.

On Tuesday 16th June I was able to connect much further than before. I was one of ten speakers from around the globe invited by Global Peace Foundation, Brazil to take part in an online conference. I along with others had the opportunity to speak and share about responses to the worldwide pandemic that is impacting so many of us. I was delighted to be part of a ‘global’ conversation with a diverse mix of speakers from Brazil, Paraguay, USA, India, Nigeria and Kenya. All of the speakers spoke very openly and indeed passionately about their respective community and country responses to Covid-19.

I had the opportunity to share my own thoughts centred around three “P’s” – pandemic, people and peace as well as the recommendations from an organisational point of view about post-lockdown and recovery. The key outcomes from the online conference were that we can together get through this. During the online event it was great to hear from Rev John Hayab from Kaduna State in Nigeria who is involved in local peacebuilding and development work. We have done some work with Reverend Hayab as part of sharing our learning and experience of peace building and practical co-operation to others.

Everyone that spoke referred to keeping people safe, helping those that are vulnerable, community activism, and maintaining relationships. I was glad to have been a part of a very worthwhile conversation and to learn from others.