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.
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.
Members of the Border Peace School visit the observation platform at the DMZ
South Korea: November 5-17, 2018
The Republic of Korea (South) is filled with majestic mountain ranges, plentiful rice fields, and a population of 50 million people. Many technological advances have brought Korea alongside many top economies in the world, but a continuous state of war casts a dark shadow over economic development. The Korean War began in 1950, and an armistice brought a ceasefire in 1953, but no peace treaty has brought an end to the war itself. Meet Korean peacemakers like our partners in the National Council of Churches in Korea seeking to build on the opportunity of the Olympic Truce of 2018 and decades of peacemaking work such as connecting to Christians in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK North) and what they might teach us about the nature of the conflict.
Rwanda: March 11-23, 2019
Check back. A description of this Travel Study Seminar will be posted soon.
Guatemala and Costa Rica Study Seminar
August 7-18, 2017
Peacemaking, Climate Justice and Faith in Central America
Central America countries have a fascinating relationship with peacemaking and climate concerns. From highly conflicted communities to historically peaceful places, from environmentally degraded areas to ones of great ecologic beauty, people of faith in Guatemala and Costa Rica have been responding to issues of peace and environmental justice issues for generations. Learn more
Madagascar Study Seminar
November 6-18, 2017
Creation Care and Reconciliation in Madagascar
Three times the size of Great Britain, Madagascar is a unique jewel of creation. More than 80% of its flora and fauna is found nowhere else on earth. Despite the richness of the island’s biodiversity and other natural resources, Madagascar remains one of the world’s poorest nations with 92% of its population living on less than $2/day. Political instability has also impeded development and contributed to social tensions. Learn more
Russia Travel Study Seminar
May 23 to June 4, 2016
Exploring the life, faith and ongoing challenges of the Christian church in Russia St. Petersburg, Moscow, Rostov, Smolensk and Davydovo
These are challenging times in the former Soviet Union, but times have always been challenging in this part of the world. Russia is a land with a tragic history that goes back for centuries. The character of the Russian people is shaped by what they have lived through over the course of generations. The character of Russian churches has also been shaped by the people’s suffering.
In the West, we looked on the Soviet Union as our enemy and felt threatened by the Communist ideology. What was it like from within? How did the church survive those 70 years of isolation and persecution? What do we have to learn from their experience? What does the witness of Russia’s faithful offer to our understanding of Jesus Christ?
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the church continues to rebuild and restore the vitality of its ministry. The last 25 years have been a time of tumultuous change and periods of instability. What does it take to rebuild? What was lost and what lessons can we learn from their efforts?
The present crisis in Ukraine has brought Russia into the spotlight, mostly in very negative terms. MostRussians, including Christians, have felt their country slide back into the historic role of outcast – feared and loathed by the rest of the world. What does a deeper understanding of Russia’s history offer to our understanding of the current situation? The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is in partnership with churches in Russia. The Congregational Twinning Program has made grass root connections over the past 20 years. Partnership is for both the easy times and the more challenging times. How has partnership in the last 20 years built bridges and restored relationships? What are the bonds that tie us together?
South Africa Travel Study Seminar
November 3-15, 2014
Twenty years toward justice, equality and a lasting peace in Johannesburg and Cape Town
12 Presbyterians traveled to South Africa November 3-15, 2014 to explore this still-transforming nation’s efforts to overcome the legacies of state-imposed racial and economic inequality and build a new nation marked by justice, equality and reconciliation. They met with past and present church and community leaders and learned more about South Africa’s ongoing struggles including the HIV and AIDS pandemic, land redistribution, educational reforms, and racial reconciliation.
Northern Ireland Travel Study Seminar
April 2 to 11, 2013
Reconciliation in the Celtic Context
The Travel Study Seminar to Northern Ireland focused on conflict transformation and Celtic spirituality. Meeting with historians, conflict mediators, and community leaders who have been instrumental and continue to be engaged in the ongoing work of peace and nonviolence in Northern Ireland.
Reflections from the Travel Study Seminar in Northern Ireland:
- Follow our group of 27 Peacemakers as we blog daily. Read
- Navan Centre, Lunch with the Deputy Mayor of Armgh, Tours of the Two St. Patrick’s Cathedrals, and a visit to First Presbyterian Church. Read
- An Up-Close look at Belfast’s “Peace Wall” and the Neighborhood it Divides Read
- Following the path of Patrick. Read
- Worshiping with Belfast Congregations. Read
- Exploring the traumatic aftermath of violence. Read
- Our visit to Derry/Londonderry the city of Bloody Sunday. Read
- Putting the pieces together with prayer discernment and small group conversation. Read
Philippines Travel Study Seminar
February 12 to 22, 2013
Human Trafficking and Environmental Devastation; February 12-22, 2013
The Travel Study Seminar to the Philippines focused on understanding the complex realities of poverty and how climate events has contributed to the rise in human trafficking modern day slavery in the Philippines. Meeting with workers, trafficked survivors, and church partners who continue to work for peace and human rights in the Philippines.