Pursuing Peace through Demilitarization and Diplomacy
People throughout the Middle East share similar hopes and expectations for peace and security as we do. While we often associate the region with violence and conflict, more often than not diverse religious or sectarian communities live side-by-side peacefully. However, struggles for rights, democracy and self-determination are often met with violence, as many countries also are confronted by the persistence of post-colonial and cold-war control by Western powers, conflicts from within and without over land and resources, threats due to extensive militarization, and the rise of virulent religious and ideological fundamentalism.
That US presence and policy has contributed to conflict as much as peace in the region challenges the Church and other groups committed to seeking peace, justice and human rights for all. Through the Middle East Initiative Global Ministries will advocate with US leadership to prioritize diplomacy, democracy, and development in its Middle East policy, rather than ideological, military, or commercial interests that rely on dividing and exploiting people. We will engage with our partners and allies in non-violent efforts to stand up for rights of the poor and oppressed (Luke 4:18), and seek a just peace resolution to the Israeli occupation of Palestine as a key to peace and security throughout the region, if not globally.
Learn more about Peace and Demilitarization in the Middle East
- Study the resource Holy Discontentment: Advocacy and Action for Syria
- October 5, 2012 Ecumenical Letter on Military Aid
- U.S. State Department 2014 Human Rights Report on Israel and the Occupied Territories
- Interfaith Vienna Declaration (November 19, 2014)
What Can I Do for Peace and Demilitarization in the Middle East?
- Take Action on 3rd Thursday Action Alerts
- Take Action! Work to End the War in Syria
- Take Action! On Armenian Martyrs' Day, Urge Congress to Do More to Prevent Genocide
- Take Action! No More Military Aid to Israel without More Accountability
- Take Action! Close the Guantánamo Detention Site and End Indefinite Detention
- Witness for Justice: The Bells of Bethlehem
- Take Action! U.S. Support for Peace Efforts in Israel-Palestine
- Take Action! on Support for Diplomacy with Iran
- Take Action! on Human Rights and Military Aid to Israel
- Plan for the International Day of Peace, September 21
- Consider volunteering with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
Refugees, Migrants, and Communities in Conflict
While the world today is experiencing an unprecedented level of human migration, the reality of refugees in the Middle East has historic and contemporary dimensions. The ancient narratives of Middle Eastern religion and culture tell stories of people uprooted by faith, fighting and famine. Many of the partners and programs that defined Global Ministries’ early presence in the Middle East grew out of the work of the church among Armenians who fled the Genocide of 1915 and settled in Lebanon, Syria and further South and East of Anatolia. Generations of Palestinian refugees living in camps throughout Lebanon, Jordan and the West Bank continue to hold keys to homes they hope one day to return to when peace comes.
Today on both sides of the border between Syria and Iraq, millions of desperate families have been uprooted by successive waves of war and violence, and struggle to survive in bombed-out cities and over-crowded camps. Through the Middle East Initiative Global Ministries will provide support to partners making a difference in the lives of these refugees and internally displaced, from delivering aid to developing community programs. We will speak out for those on the margins, advocating for more international refugee assistance and clearer pathways to resettlement. And we will push for peace so that all those displaced by violence are treated humanely and justly, can resettle when necessary, and can return home when realistically possible.
Learn more about Refugees and Migrants in the Middle East
- UCC Disaster Ministries Update: Syrian Refugee Crisis Surrounds the Middle East
- A Refugee’s Story of Fleeing Unspeakable Conditions
- Disciples Syrian Refugee Crisis
- UCC Syrian Refugee Crisis Update
- Church World Service - Syrian Refugee Crisis: How you can Help
- Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe, Middle Eastern Christians in Europe
- International Organization for Migration (IOM), Middle East and North Africa Annual Report 2014
- International Organization for Migration (IOM), Migration Trends Across the Mediterranean (June 2015)
What Can I Do for Refugees and Migrants in the Middle East?
- Take Action! Call for Increased U.S. Support for Syrian Refugees
- Take Action! 75,000 Refugees are Stranded on the Syrian Border. They Need Your Help.
- National Refugee Call-In: Urge the U.S. to Lead by Example on Refugee Protection and Resettlement
- Take Action! Tell Congress & State Leaders to Welcome Syrian Refugees!
- Take Action! Call for Increased U.S. Support for Syrian Refugees
- Plan for World Refugee Day, June 20
Health, Wholeness, and the Environment
True security is not won through war but by addressing the needs of basic human security—health, livelihood, affordable food, clean and accessible water. In many Middle Eastern countries basic issues of poverty and the lack of development are exacerbated by the unequal distribution of wealth, the unjust control of resources, and the unresponsiveness of governments to the needs of the poor. In the dry, arid climates of the Middle East, which are especially affected by climate change, good land and water are valuable and highly contested natural resources, and those in power often control what they can.
The Middle East Initiative will highlight the work of Global Ministries partners throughout the region who care for the needs of the hungry, the thirsty, and the sick (Matt 25:35-40). We will call for robust international policies that support the work of local providers who address issues of both environmental sustainability and social and community development, so that there is enough food and water, and basic life-giving resources are accessible for all.
Learn more about Health and the Environment in the Middle East
What Can I Do for Health and the Environment in the Middle East?
Children and Education for the Future
Prospects for young people in many parts of the Middle East are currently very challenging. In Syria, one quarter of the over 4 million refugees and 12 million internally displaced people are children. This “Lost Generation” has been affected by homelessness, hunger, disease and violence. Many are orphaned and have gone without school for over two years. Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, more than half of the population is under 25, and the unemployment rate for 15-29 year-olds is nearly 30%. Whether at home or uprooted due to violence or lack or opportunities, this large group of young people is at-risk, especially in countries without sufficient resources or the necessary programs to care for and protect youth from being exploited, abused or conscripted into the army or radical militias.
In cooperation with local and international partners, and through advocacy efforts focused on children, the Middle East Initiative will address children and young people as a priority for protection in the midst of violence, poverty and exploitation, and as the seed for nurturing peace, non-violence, and reconciliation when provided education and opportunity.
Learn more about Children and Education in the Middle East
- Defense of Children International
- UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund)
- No Way to Treat a Child Campaign
- Children of Syria Campaign (UNICEF)
What Can I Do for Children and Education in the Middle East?