Below are reviews of To Trust Spark from those involved in peace activisim across Europe.
Miramida Centar Groznjan-Grisignana
QPSW representative 2002-2009 Croatia
“It is great to have To Trust a Spark with us. Why?”
For us involved, to have record about great work done, to recover energy nowadays when new filofascist-techno corporate government is attacking all civil achievements in Croatia, attacking a state itself and its foundation in antifascism and EU foundation values.
Tiny light in this government is minister of justice - participant of QPSW DwP programme. I never thought that work being done during my QPSW period is going to be so heavily attacked in future in EU Croatia. But I also learnt to find a fun and joy with Friends - so I see those attacks on freedom of media, civil society, state structures, culture - sign - they are threat. threat to new versions of fascism. To be honest, that's so rewarding - knowing that my, our, my friends' work is threat to fascism.
Book is document of very unique approach on many ways. It is book about faith in action, but it is not about religion. It is about working with people but not about helping them. It is about foreign intervention but foreigners became close friends in world where close neighbours are foreigners. It is about looking forward by cleaning things left backward. It is modest book about friendship, which influenced some of the key peace builders in our region for a lifetime.
TTAS is great book for our fellow friends in other regions troubled with violence and most beautiful things is that we - once victims in troubled west Balkan - are now, like a prism, reflecting forward Light we have received once. This book is about transformation from being supported to supporters, from students to teachers. It tells us that peace work is global feature, every single move however small in some tiny community, is impact to global peace. Yes it is.
Yes it is :)
Peace Activist; Facilitator of learning, of analysis and planning, of review and evaluation and of dialogue
This is a fascinating account of eighteen years of work by Quakers and their local partners, working together to repair and transform broken lives and relationships. Skilfully written by Anne Bennett, it draws on both records and interviews to tell its story of patience and hardship, courage and commitment. It is important not only for the inspiration it can give but for the honesty of its reflections, drawing sometimes, hard lessons from the difficulties encountered. Above all it affirms the value of faithful, long term accompaniment and the lasting influence of the spirit in which it is done.
Freelance consultant in international development working with civil society organisations.
I really enjoyed reading To Trust a Spark. It was fascinating to get an overview of the whole QPSW history in the Balkans and, although I attended the Umag meeting, the book filled in a lot gaps in my knowledge and understanding of the programme - how it evolved over time as it responded to the changing environment; what was done and the methodologies used. I do think the book is a significant contribution to our understanding of how best to promote peace and reconciliation. In addition to providing a pull-out section of collected learning from the programme’s 18 years, the whole book offers a wealth of information and examples confirming that effective peacebuilding, rooted in meaningful dialogue and exchange of personal experiences, is based in the development of deep, trustful relationships centred on shared human values which transcend more superficial social, political, or cultural differences.
Member of QPS post-Yugoslavia advisory group with Alan Pleydell 1991 -1998, taking part in frequent visits to the region for support and consultation; also helped with programme reviews and induction training. Currently, Senior Research Fellow at the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), University of Kent, Canterbury.
My role was a modest one, accompanying Alan Pleydell on many of his frequent visits to the region. We sought insights into situations and needs through listening to local people, seeking out relevant responses, networks and assistance where possible. Our support group held regular meetings in London to consider developments, communications and ways forward on critical issues as they arose. To this day I remain deeply moved and impressed by the courage and conviction of the people we met, who took on questions of violence, acute polarization, human rights and minority protection in the face of enormous adversity. I also helped in a small way with a participative review of work in Sarajevo, and with a later team induction session at Woodbrooke. ‘To Trust a Spark’ documents for us a developmental record of this shared peace building journey, of reflection and action; individual and collective small steps, through informed vision and the ‘mustard seed’ principle. It acknowledges many individuals who brought their personal skills and convictions to meet evolving challenges, in such a vital way.