The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program sponsors travel study seminars to different parts of the world to provide Presbyterians with the opportunity to learn firsthand from our partners about efforts for peace, justice and reconciliation in contexts of conflict, injustice and oppression. Participants return from these travel study seminars informed and transformed by their experiences, ready to share stories and bear witness to all that they have seen and heard.
Travel study seminars are planned in partnership with World Mission staff and mission co-workers and in cooperation with our partner denominations and organizations.
The following video offers reflections from participants and leaders of the 2018 Travel Study Seminar to South Korea:
Participants in the Peacemaking Program’s Travel Study Seminars will be:
- Inspired by experiences in cross-cultural and global contexts that are addressing peace and justice issues
- Equipped to bear witness to all that they have seen and heard and to strengthen their peacemaking witness
- Connected to partners engaged directly in peacemaking and justice work.
A flyer has been developed that promotes all of the Travel Study Seminars in 2019-2020. Please consider downloading and printing the flyer for promotion of the many seminars being offered by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.
Central American Migrant Trails: February 17-28, 2020
Exploring the Journeys to and from the United States and Why We Must Act
Dominating the news cycle have been stories of migrant children who have been separated from their parents upon arrival to the US. We are horrified by this policy and know that our immigration system needs major reforms. This travel study seminar aims to help concerned Presbyterians better understand the immigration context we are facing in the US with our Central American brothers and sisters and why they take the risk of embarking on this dangerous journey north with children in tow. We will also explore other potential and actual consequences of US policies, such as mass deportation, and how that is impacting the lives of the returned migrants, their families, communities and nations. The trip will include intentional space for reflection that can lead us to action towards our nation’s need for comprehensive immigration reform. The seminar will include visits with ecumenical partners in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. There is an option to extend the seminar on the US/Mexico border to learn about how our US church people are addressing these issues in their particular regions. The extension dates are February 28 – March 3.
Applications closed on November 1, 2019. Applications after that date will be placed on a waitlist.
The U.S. Southern Border: Friday, February 28 – Tuesday, March 3, 2020
What is Happening and How Presbyterians Can Respond
This domestic travel study seminar will immediately follow the Central American Migrant Trails study seminar in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. This portion will begin and end in Los Angeles, California. We’ll travel from Los Angeles to Tijuana, Mexico to visit a migrant shelter and have interactions with important actors offering humanitarian and legal services to asylum seekers being forced to wait in Mexico. We will stay overnight in Tijuana, Mexico and on Sunday will attend a binational worship experience right on the border. Monday will be a full day, hosted by Pacific Presbytery, in meetings and conversations to further understand the context and gain tools and insight to discern ways we can get involved, offer support, accompaniment and much needed advocacy. This seminar is sponsored jointly by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, World Mission and Pacific Presbytery. It may be attended independently or added to the end of the Central America travel study seminar.
Philippines and Hong Kong:May 1-15, 2020
Root Causes and Current Challenges of Forced Migration and Labor Trafficking
Since 1974, the Philippine government systematized its labor export program, in response to increasing unemployment and underemployment and social unrest. Several tribes of indigenous peoples of the Philippines struggle to protect their ancestral domains which yield a variety of natural resources. The militarized conflict over these lands, reflect the ambition to extract at all costs, without consideration for the survival and livelihood of these peoples and leads many to overseas employment. Philippines is the third largest country in the world to receive remittances. Almost 7000 workers per day, leave the Philippines to work in land-based and sea-based jobs. The labor force of Hong Kong domestic workers consists mostly of Indonesian and Filipina women. Accompanied by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) through their ecumenical, regional and international partner organizations, these migrant workers organize, mobilize and receive pastoral care and support, amid these historical and current challenges.
Applications are due by February 1, 2020. After that date, applications will be considered as space remains available.
Puerto Rico: November 16-23, 2020
In the Aftermath of Maria – The Political, Social and Racial Dynamics Revealed by the Hurricane and How the Church Is Responding to Them
The word “’apocalypse” is often used to describe a catastrophic or world changing event, like Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, causing devastation across the island. But in the bible, especially the book of Revelation, the word apocalypse means something else: apo (un) kalypto (covered or hidden) points toward what is uncovered, revealed, by catastrophic challenges. As Puerto Rico’s people began the long struggle toward recovery, much was uncovered. In the months that followed, the strength of the churches, the resilience of the island’s people, and the common will to rebuild was evident. Evident also were the effects of trauma exacerbated by the chronic challenges of food insecurity, structural racism, a challenged infrastructure, and an unjust debt burden hampering not only the island’s recovery but its ongoing ability to thrive. In this travel study seminar we will enjoy the beauty of the island and her people, hear from Puerto Ricans engaged in long term disaster recovery, policy advocacy and sustainable development. We will see how the Presbyterian Church and its three presbyteries in the Synod of Boriquen are working in partnership to support vulnerable communities; welcome mainland volunteers to participate in rebuilding and better understanding; engage in creative partnerships to strengthen Puerto Rico’s food sustainability, access to power and clean water; and invite all of us to challenge the structures, laws, and colonial practices that have harmed Puerto Rico in the past.
Native Lands of the Southwest:
The American Southwest: April 20-29, 2021
The Doctrine of Discovery and its Legacy Today
The lands of the American Southwest have been the home of Indigenous peoples for centuries. First contact with Europeans came in 1539, and a clash of cultures ensued. The expansion of European empires into the Americas had the blessing of the Church from the very beginning. A series of 15th-century papal edicts known collectively as the Doctrine of Discovery gave Christian European governments the religious and legal justification to claim lands occupied by Indigenous peoples and to convert, enslave, or kill the inhabitants. The Doctrine also provided the basis for the 19th-century concept of Manifest Destiny that Euro-Americans were destined to expand westward and take possession of the North American continent “from sea to shining sea.”
In 2016 the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, and in 2018 the 223rd General Assembly urged sessions, mid-councils, seminaries, PW groups, and other organizations to confess their complicity and repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery as well.
This Peacemaking Travel Study Seminar will journey from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Phoenix, Arizona, giving participants the opportunity to:
- appreciate the rich history, cultures, and resilience of Indigenous peoples in the Southwest;
- learn about the impact the Doctrine of Discovery has had on Indigenous peoples in the past and continues to have today; and
- explore peacemaking issues such as land and water rights, intergenerational trauma, poverty and addiction, border town conflicts, environmental racism, the health effects of uranium mining, and the impact of boarding schools.
Applications are due by January 15, 2021. After that date, applications will be considered as space remains available.