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International Peacemakers

In an increasingly conflict-ridden and fragmented world, the God who grants peace and wholeness calls Christians to understand and address the root causes of violence and injustice so that we may share in mending the brokenness that exists in our world. Peacemaking is the human response to God’s gift of peace giving.

Dates for the 2016 Peacemakers

Peacemakers will be available for visits this year from September 23  to October 17.  Before and after their iteration they will gather in Louisville at the Presbyterian Mission Agency for orientation and debriefing.

Visits from International Peacemakers to hosting mid-councils and institutions generally last 3-5 days, excluding travel days.   Not all visits must or may include a weekend.  Midweek visits can be ideal for colleges, universities or theological institutions.

Mid-Councils (Presbyteries and Synods) as well as educational institutions can apply to host a peacemaker. Apply here by July 1. After July 1, a few peacemakers may still have availability, but it will be limited. 

Peacemakers for 2016

Visit the Meet the Peacemakers tab on this page (above) for photos and bios of all the peacemakers. This year they come to us from the following countries/regions

  • Colombia
  • Cuba
  • Ghana
  • Hungary
  • Iran
  • Israel/Palestine
  • Kenya
  • Niger
  • Syria

An overview of the program

In an increasingly conflict-ridden and fragmented world, the God who grants peace and wholeness calls Christians to understand and address the root causes of violence and injustice so that we may share in mending the brokenness that exists in our world. Peacemaking is the human response to God’s gift of peace giving.

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program makes it possible for leaders from our partner denominations and partner organizations around the world to visit the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) each year to interpret issues of peace and justice.  Since 1984 over 220 International Peacemakers from more than 57 countries have been hosted by Presbyterians.  These visits have informed Presbyterians, opened hearts and minds, touched lives, established relationships and inspired new ministries.  By sharing stories of their work and witness, they help us to understand peace and justice concerns around the world and they provide insights that can inspire us to greater faithfulness.  Their visits broaden our sense of God’s inclusive family and help equip us to build a culture of peace and nonviolence for all God’s children.

Areas of focus for our peacemakers

In their presentations, we ask our peacemakers to help the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) address some or all of the following five focus areas:

  • Address the root causes of poverty, particularly as it impacts women and children
  • Work for healing and reconciliation in cultures of violence and brokenness
  • Share the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ
  • Respond to natural and human-caused disasters
  • Embody and advocate for God’s vision of a just and peaceful world 

International Peacemakers: a partnership

Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and World Mission, International Peacemakers who require translation assistance are often accompanied by PC(USA) mission workers. This partnership allows Presbyterians to hear first hand from both a peacemaker and a mission worker who represents the PC(USA) in the region.  Together the peacemaker and mission co-worker share stories of connection and partnership between the PC(USA) and our ministry partners.

2015 International Peacemaker brochure in colorPlanning the visit

Hosts are asked to design an itinerary for the peacemaker’s visit that provides many opportunities for meaningful engagement between the peacemaker and various groups and gatherings.   Schedules should planned carefully and thoughtfully to make good use of the peacemaker’s time and talents without  it being overwhelming or exhausting.  Including a variety of groups and settings enriches the experience both for the peacemaker and the mid-council or institution.

Providing hospitality

Hosts of peacemakers provide hospitality for the peacemaker during the visit.  They arrange for the peacemaker’s lodging, meals and local transportation. Ordinarily a team of people from the mid-council or institution share the responsibility for the logistics of the visit.

Costs and travel

The hosting organization is asked to contribute $450 to help defray the cost of the program.  The Peacemaking Program covers all international and  domestic airline travel costs.  We will make travel arrangements, purchase tickets, provide honoraria and health insurance, and inform hosts of travel schedules. As soon as your peacemaker’s visit has been confirmed, instructions for making the payment of $450 will be sent to you.

Application and notification

The 2016 application form is here. Apply by July 1 for best availability.

Host orientation

All hosts, whether new to the program or experienced, are expected to take part in a mandatory webinar led by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

Visiting the PC(USA) between September 23 and October 17

The following individuals have been selected (many of them nominated by our partners) and agreed to serve as International Peacemakers this year:
Rev. Luis Fernando Sanmiguel


Rev. Luis Fernando Sanmiguel

Rev. Luis Fernando Sanmiguel

Rev. Luis Fernando Sanmiguel serves as pastor of the Community of Hope Presbyterian Church in Central Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia. He has engaged in peace work for 26 years,  taking part in a variety of social justice and human rights activities and movements and accompanying some of the most vulnerable rural communities.  Rev. Sanmiguel has participated in peace talks between the Colombian government and guerilla groups, among them the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). He is a part of the Commission for Social Oversight appointed by the Dialogue in Havana, Cuba. He has served as a pastoral accompanier to political prisoners in Villavicencio (FARC-EP), and in Medellin, Antioquia, (ELN). He belongs to the diaconate office of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia by the Central Presbytery. Rev. Sanmiguel helps leads a peace project in the Presbytery of Urabá, called “Urabá Territory of Peace” and in Bogotá he coordinates an interfaith movement called “Teusaquillo Territory of Peace.”

Dianet de la Caridad Martinez Valdes

Dianet de la Caridad Martinez Valdes

Dianet de la Caridad Martinez Valdes

Dianet de la Caridad Martínez Valdés holds a Bachelor of Art in English and French languages from the University of Las Villas in Santa Clara, Cuba.  She is a lifelong Presbyterian who says that the church nurtured in her an awareness of exclusion, discrimination, poverty and the desire to serve Christ and work for justice.  After years of involvement, she now serves as chairperson of the Student Christian Movement (SCM) of Cuba, an ecumenical organization of young people whose mission is to provide spaces for leadership training, critical reflection, and faithful service.   She is currently engaged in theological studies at the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas. Dianet is a member of the Presbyterian Church “John G. Hall” in Cardenas, where she serves as pianist, choir director, and music teacher for children and youth.

Dora Kaniszai-Nagy

Dora Kanizsai

Dora Kanizsai

Dóra Kanizsai-Nagy, from Budapest, Hungary, has a degree in international relations and began her career in think tanks, focusing on energy policy and democracy. Since 2008, she has served with the Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH) in various capacities – first as a project manager and later as the head of the RCH’s Refugee Ministry. In 2014 she co-founded the Kalunba Social Services Association, an NGO that now actively serves refugees in Budapest. Dóra and her team work towards helping their clientele in both the short and long term, providing services such as housing assistance, employment, schooling programs, language lessons, as well as community building opportunities. “Since the beginning, it has been vital for to me to actively search for the ways in which we can provide practical help for those turning to us. It is very important for me to show how the church can apply abstract theological values in a practical sense,” says Dóra, when describing her work. The refugee mission aims to provide concrete and practical help to the population that it serves so that their clients might lead more full, well rounded, and independent lives as productive and valuable members of society.

Rev. Rami Al Maqdasi

Rev. Rami Al Maqdasi

Rev. Rami Al Maqdasi

An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Syria and Lebanon where he was a pastor at the Syrian Church in Southern Damascus, Rami ‘s ministry has included serving as the Director of Syrian Refugees Ministry with Samaritans Purse, overseeing the distribution of food and clothing to refugees of war in Erbil, Iraq. In the past 10 years Rami worked with Operation Blessing, the Alliance Church in Syria and Iraq and Crisis Response International to provide translation services for refugees and people displaced by war and unrest in the region. He is a 2010 graduate of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt

Working part time at Wayside Presbyterian Church in Hamburg, NY, as their Pastoral Assistant, Rami also keeps busy with a grant that was awarded to him from the Presbyterian Church (USA). The grant, and Rami’s hard work, contribute to the support of refugees in the Buffalo area.

Areej Masoud

Areej Masoud

Areej Masoud

Areej Masoud is a native of Bethlehem, Palestine and currently works as the Communication and Administrative Officer for Kairos Palestine, where she liaisons, networks and oversees communications with churches, organizations and donors.   She has previously worked with Seeds of Hope in Jericho and as a religious studies teacher in 7-10 grades in Jerusalem.  She completed a Religious Studies and Psychology degree at Bethlehem University in 2013 and has done courses of study at Diaconal College in Denmark and in Greece through Georgetown University.  She speaks Arabic, English and a bit of French.  She has training in international human rights, international humanitarian law and conflict resolution. She has lead workshops and been a speaker on the Kairos Document in Norway and the United States. She is a member of the Palestinian Youth Ecumenical Movement (PYEM).

Rev. Gladys Lariba Mahama

Rev. Gladys Lariba Mahama

Rev. Gladys Lariba Mahama

Rev. Gladys Lariba Mahama comes from the Upper East Region of Ghana where she serves as minister-In-charge of the Fumbisi congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Upper Presbytery. Her ministry with women has been focused on an association for widows (Asungtaba)  and a project working for the reintegration of women identified as “witches” back into their families (the Go Home Project).  She is currently serving as the board chairperson for the Nalerigu Cooperative Credit Union and as coordinator for women’s ministry in Upper Presbytery.  She is a widow with four children.

Arda Aghazarian


Arda Aghazarian

Arda Aghazarian is a Fulbright Scholar, enrolled as a graduate student in Communication at Villanova University, Pennsylvania. Born and raised in Jerusalem, Arda studied Literature at Birzeit University (Palestinian Territories) after the Second Uprising (“Intifiada”), a phase which brought forth difficult questions and a visual understanding of the Palestine/Israel conflict. She has also taken various courses in film and civic journalism, and worked as producer and presenter at RAM FM radio station.

In 2007, Arda was elected in Kenya as the first young woman from the Middle East to be represented at the World YWCA Board, a global movement that reaches more than 25 million women and girls in over 120 countries. She has since then developed an interest in human and women’s rights and worked at the YWCA of Palestine on projects that empower young women to take on decision-making roles. She has played an active role in conferences (including the YWCA World Council in Switzerland, the Sthree Mela Conference in Sri Lanka, the Y-Global activities in Norway, the affiliation of the YWCA of Armenia, and the UN-CSW in the USA) showcasing the need for the participation and protection of women in conflict areas. She has delivered numerous sessions on narrative and identity in Palestine/Israel and has served as International Delegate Speaker, International Peacemaker, and Global Leader in Residence with the PCUSA in the U.S. (2011, 2012) as well as with World Vision and PIEN in Australia (2014).
In the last two years, Arda has focused her energy on freelance projects, which included co-producing short documentaries on social justice related issues. With her love of writing and filmmaking, she is currently pursuing her Master’s in the USA.

Veronica Muchiri


Veronica Muchiri

Veronica Muchiri serves as the organizer and secretary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) National Women’s Guild, an organization of approximately 120,000 members in the East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Guild, whose motto is “empowered Christian women transforming society,” works to empower women and girls, strengthen fam ilies, develop mentors and coaches, strengthen women’s health programs, address environmental concerns and engage women as agents of peace, healing and reconciliation. Following election violence in 2007, the Guild organized to provide support and relief to victims. Seed money was provided to women whose homes and businesses were burned. The Guild also provided peace building seminars and facilitated meetings between Kikuyu and Kalenjin women, leading the women to urge their husbands and sons never to fight again. Ms. Muchiri holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Africa International University. In 2010, Ms. Muchiri received the Peace Ambassador in Kenya Award from the United States International University in Kenya for her peace work among women of different ethnic communities. In 2013, she was honored with the Presidential award of Order of Grand Warrior of Kenya for her role in empowering and advocating for the welfare of women and girls. Ms. Muchiri and her husband Clement have 5 children and 1 grandchild.


Issaka Moussa

Issaka Moussa

Issaka Moussa  serves as secretary for global partnerships of the Evangelical Church in Niger (EERN), the oldest and the largest denomination in Niger. By profession, he is a magistrate (currently honorable justice in his country). As a lawyer, he holds a master’s degree in “citizenship, human rights and humanitarian action” obtained at the public university of Dakar (Senegal). Before being elected by Niger civil society to hold his current position, he held the position of the high officer in charge of writing the Niger country reports on human rights implementation due to the treaty bodies – the United Nations and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. In the church, he held the position of national leader of the youth for ten years and elder in his local church of Boukoki II Niamey for many years. He is the chairperson of the “Prison fellowship Internal” branch of Niger since 2008.   He has a wife and three children – a son of 12 years and two girls of 10 and 8 years old.

Tamar Wasoian


Tamar Wasoian

Dr. Tamar Wasoian is an Armenian educator and theologian from Syria. She began her seminary education at Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon. After completing her education she was appointed as the Youth Worker and became responsible for Sunday Schools in the Armenian Evangelical Church in Syria. As the Republic of Armenian declared its independence from the Soviet Union, the Armenian Missionary Association started its mission work in the Armenian homelands. Called to ministry in her homelands, she joined the church team and was in charge of the Christian Education ministry in the Republic of Armenia and Mountainous Garapagh. In 2001 she joined the McCormick Theological Seminary to complete her MTS degree after which she returned to teach and minister in Armenia. Tamar then pursued her Doctoral degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Religious Education and Congregational Studies. She currently lives in Chicago and teaches both at McCormick Theological Seminary and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  Armenian history, communal traditions, faith and identity are at the core of Tamar’s fields of interests and expertise. She is actively involved with the Armenian community and she is on the steering committee of Syria Lebanon Partnership Network of the Presbyterian Churches (USA), and the Middle East Task Force. Tamar is a descendent of Armenian Genocide survivors. Her grandparents escaped the 1915-1918 killings of the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrian Christians in Asia Minor by Ottoman Turkey and were relocated in Aleppo. Unfortunately while Armenians are commemorating the centennial of the Genocide, the Syrian Armenian community is reliving the horrors of the pogroms all over again. Tamar will be speaking about the Armenian presence in Syria, the haunting memories of a past unacknowledged Genocide and the current survival story of her people in Syria.

2016 Peacemakers Brochure

This two-sided bulletin insert provides photos and brief bios of all of the 2016 International Peacemakers. It is useful when interpreting the International Peacemaker Program and will be available to presbyteries, congregations and institutions hosting our peacemakers.  It will be produced later in the year and can be reproduced in color or black and white. Check back in late summer 2016.


2016 International Peacemakers Itineration

Our 2016 International Peacemakers are making 39 visits across the Presbyterian Church (USA) in September and October. If you’d like more information about a particular visit, please click on that link. An email box will open to a local host who can respond to your inquiry.

Luis Fernando Sanmiguel – COLOMBIA

Sept 23-28 | San Fernando Presbytery
Sept 28-Oct 3 | Presbytery of Grand Canyon
Oct 3-10 | Presbytery of East Tennessee
Oct 10-17 | Winnebago Presbytery
Oct 19-20 | Mid-Kentucky Presbytery

Dianet Martinez – CUBA

Sept 23-29 | Albany Presbytery
Sept 29-Oct 3 | Detroit Presbytery
Oct 3 – 7 | Mid-South Presbytery
Oct 7-13 | Homestead Presbytery
Oct 13-17 | Missouri River Valley Presbytery
Oct 19-24 | South Louisiana Presbytery

Gladys Lariba – GHANA

Sept 23-26 | Presbytery of the James
Sept 26-30 | Milwaukee Presbytery
Sept 30-Oct 6 | Presbytery of Chicago
Oct 6-11 | Detroit Presbytery/Synod of the Covenant
Oct 11-17 | Presbytery of Lake Erie
Oct 19-24 | Foothills Presbytery

Dóra Kaniszai-Nagy – HUNGARY

Sept 23-28 | Beaver Butler Presbytery
Sept 28-Oct 5 | Presbytery of Cincinnati
Oct 5-10 | Presbytery of Charlotte
Oct 10-17 | Presbytery of Santa Fe
Oct 19-24 | Presbytery of Plains and Peaks

Rami al Maqdasi – IRAQ

Sept 28-Oct 3 | National Capital Presbytery
Oct 13-17 | Presbytery of Greater Atlanta

Veronica Njoki Muchiri – KENYA

Sept 23-28 | Inland Northwest Presbytery
Sept 28-Oct 5 | Presbytery of West Virginia
Oct 5-11 | Detroit Presbytery
Oct 11-17 | Sacramento Presbytery

Issaka Moussa – NIGER

Sept 23-28 | Philadelphia Presbytery
Sept 28-Oct 4 | Pittsburgh Presbytery
Oct 4-10 | Des Moines Presbytery
Oct 10-17 | Presbytery of the James

Agreej Murad Masoud – PALESTINE

Sept 23-28 | Genesee Valley Presbytery
Sept 28-Oct 3 | Muskingum Valley Presbytery
Oct 3-7 | Synod of Mid-Atlantic/Mary Baldwin College
Oct 7-12 | Eastern Oregon Presbytery
Oct 12-17 | Grand Canyon Presbytery

Arda Aghazarian – PALESTINE

Oct 12-17 | Greater Atlanta Presbytery

Tamar Wasoian – SYRIA and ARMENIA

Sept 23-25 | East Iowa Presbytery
Sept 29-Oct 2 | Mission Presbytery
Oct 6-9 | Des Moines Presbytery

Peacemaking Program Contacts

Coordinator, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
Administrative Assistant, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program