In the late 1980s, Founding Director, LeeAnn McKenna stumbled into the work of peacemaking; it was not part of anyone’s plan. Doors opened – volunteer with Canada World Youth? Sure. Write some children’s curriculum on El Salvador? Sure. There’s a war going on in El Salvador; how about trying volunteer accompaniment? Sure. There’s a spot open on the Inter-church Committee on Latin America board; would you like to be a part of it? Sure.
Her involvement expanded to include human rights monitoring in Latin America and eventually other parts of the world, reporting to the member bodies of the Canadian Council of Churches, and doing advocacy at regular consultations with the Global Affairs Unit of External/Foreign Affairs, at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. Later on, the work became focussed on training people living in zones of conflict in the skills of economic literacy, conflict transformation, human rights, gender, mediation and nonviolent direct action.
Partera was chosen deliberately as a way to describe the evolving methodology. Partera, which is Spanish for midwife, casts our trainers in the role of midwife, a companion in a process of birthing a yearned-for future. Go to Our Method to read more about how the deliberately de-colonising approach creates fertile ground for the kind of change we want to see in the world.