‘Live Peace’ book launch: Young people can make a difference to world peace
Photo: Author Margaret Reeson with President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan.
Margaret Reeson’s new book ‘Live Peace’ tells the story of human rights advocate Joy Balazo who believes young people can make a difference to world peace. It traces the life and spiritual journey of Joy and the Uniting Church in Australia and the story of Young Ambassadors for Peace.
Joy was presented with the “World Methodist Peace Award” in 2012, recognition of her remarkable work for peace. Born in the Southern Philippine island of Mindanao, Joy became a strong voice for peace in the Asia Pacific region through her involvement with the Uniting Church.
Joy worked for over twenty years with UnitingWorld and its predecessors. It was through Young Ambassadors for Peace, a program established in 2001 by Joy, that she worked with local communities to establish eight peacemaking centres in Asia and the Pacific.
As a human rights worker in the Asia Pacific region, Joy was troubled by the conflict she was seeing. The program she established had a model of cross cultural workshops and networks to sow ‘seeds of peace’ among young people living on opposite sides of conflict. Joy has helped thousands of people work for peace in their communities.
Speaking at the recent Uniting World book launch for ‘Live Peace’ Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan said, ‘Peace and justice are everyone’s business. It was this Christian conviction that Joy holds, that she shared which captured my attention so long ago.’
Author Margaret Reeson, born in rural NSW, served as a missionary teacher then a Christian Education worker with youth and village women in the Highlands of PNG in the 1960’s. Margaret is married to former Uniting Church Moderator, Ron Reeson and was delighted to have the opportunity to write Joy’s story.
Mandy Tibbey lawyer and friend of Joy’s said, ‘Margaret and Joy are devoted Christians working in the community in many ways committed to human rights reflecting the spirit of the Church to being inclusive. They have developed friendships that span many countries, opened up possibilities, and sown seeds of peace despite many barriers. It is about grass roots peace in communities.’
At the launch Joy said, ‘The book is not just about me, it is about ‘peace mission’ which is all our responsibility. People have asked what is my secret, why was I able to do what I did? Peace is challenging, full of uncertainties, fears and also joys, but that is life, and life is peacemaking so really you have no choice, you have to live it.’
Talking about her ‘weapons’ used in her fight for peace in some of the world’s most troubled hot spots including the Highlands of PNG Joy said, ‘ I believe that going into the abyss is essentially a negative space. First must come acceptance and if you can change it then great, but if you can’t then accept it. With acceptance comes peace and with that comes enjoyment. Really enjoy what is there, not what your mind is saying about the situation. In many justice issues we recognise there is conflict and that something can be done about this. Where there is negativity there is a disconnect so we must go into peacemaking with positivity.’
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