The International Day of Peace, or World Peace Day, is celebrated across the world on Sept. 21. Mennonite Mission Network strives to follow Jesus' call to be peacemakers throughout ministries and partnerships across the world.
The Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI), a partner organization of Mission Network, has been a part of that global peacebuilding for over a decade, and is celebrating the milestone through the release of a ten-year retrospective book.
Non-profit organizations often forget to record their own history. Board members and staff have more work than they can handle and remembering the past does not seem as important as planning current and future projects.
The NARPI administration team originally wanted to write a book chronicling the first three years of the organization. Then, it was expanded to the first five years. Soon, the scope of the book became the first ten years!
And now, thanks to the work of many people, it has been done!
Our Peacebuilding Story: The First Ten Years of Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (2011-2020) tells the story of the first decade of NARPI which brings together peacemakers from mainland China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan and the far eastern regions of Russia annually for peacebuilding training and networking.
Through the generous support of donors, we printed 1,000 copies of the book with full-color illustrations. These copies will be given — not sold — to the participants, facilitators, local hosting teams, volunteers and donors who have helped write NARPI's history.
Jae Young Lee unboxes a bundle of printed copies of Our Peacebuilding Story: The First Ten Years of Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (2011-2020). Photo by Karen Spicher.
When we started the book project in 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we hoped to finish and print the book before the 2021 NARPI Summer Peacebuilding Training in Mongolia, which was then postponed. As the pandemic continued, the book project also dragged on.
Sorting through thousands of photos of in-person trainings, while living in the reality of pandemic restrictions, was eye-opening. We realized what a precious gift the NARPI Summer Peacebuilding Training was. Eating together! Singing together! Sharing life for two weeks without masks or hand sanitizer!
We hope the book will not only remind those connected with NARPI of the past, but also provide creative energy to continue into our unknown future together. By publishing our peacebuilding organizational strategy and history, we also hope to encourage other regions in conflict to foster peaceful coexistence.
This book does not tell the stories of the past two years of NARPI. Those stories, we hope, will be a part of another book someday. I believe that next book will tell even more of the beautiful shared experiences of this ever-growing regional family of peacebuilders, experiences that somehow grow more precious over time.
For more information and to request your digital copy of Our Peacebuilding Story, contact Karen Spicher.