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9/11 reflections

response to war and statement of peace



Our Response to War and Statement of Peace

To our friends around the world,

We are deeply saddened and disappointed with this rush to war against Iraq. We feel sad that the US government was impatient in seeking peaceful and non-violent alternatives to the Iraq crisis. We are particularly concerned about the potential for loss of life for Iraqi civilians as well as members of the military called to duty in this conflict. The American public remains profoundly divided over this conflict, and the need for dialogue is as important as ever on all levels, from national governments to individuals. We challenge war and isolation by promoting respectful dialogue and intercultural learning amongst ALL people.

Summer camps remain one of the safest places in the USA, both in their geographical location and in the safe space that camp communities create for young people to learn and grow. We remain committed to our mission of building peace and international understanding through friendships and youth development. Multicultural camp communities teach tolerance and celebrate humanity; children, who are so deeply affected by war and conflict, need opportunities to explore these issues in a safe forum. When international counselors participate at camp, they bring new understanding to and broaden perspectives for the other young people with whom they interact. Likewise, international participants are positively influenced by new friends from the USA and other countries represented at camp. We will work harder than ever to build peace through international friendships this summer.

In our travels overseas in recent weeks and months, we have listened to the concerns of representatives, counselors, and parents regarding the conflict in Iraq and the uncertainty that war will bring. We appreciate your concern and want you to know that our priority is the safety and success of each individual ICEP participant. We are staying in contact with US Consulates overseas and the State Department, and at this time there is no indication that war will lead to any change in visa application procedures or policies. However, we will work closely with you if any aspect of our program needs to be modified in light of world events. If you and your families have concerns, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us. We look forward to your participation and the contribution you will make to creating global peace and understanding at camp this summer.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that…The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation"
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

In peace…

Spring 2003


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