Middle East Initiative Advocacy Opportunities

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.

Seeking Peace with Justice in Palestine and Israel
Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria

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What Can I Do for Peace and Demilitarization in the Middle East?

Support Partners and Projects addressing Justice, Peacemaking and Human Rights in the Middle East

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.

Syrian Crisis and the Churches' Response

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Support Partners and Projects addressing Refugees, Migrants and those Displaced by Conflict in the Middle East

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.

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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.

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