"The Spirit of Syria": Workshop on Solutions for Syria

"The Spirit of Syria": Workshop on Solutions for Syria
Velma Anne Ruth - Sun Nov 10, 2013 @ 07:22PM
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Speaker: Reverend Christopher Krefft, Unification Church 

Sponsor: Cosmic Gender Balance Institute

Host: Dr. Antonio Betancourt, Director of Peace & Security Affairs, Universal Peace Federation - DC Office

Moderator: Velma Anne Ruth, Executive Director, Middle East Democracy Federation

Representation of Participants: Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, UK, US, Russia, Colombia (est. 26 strategists)




Summary of Discussion 


Prologue on Format:


In order to give the participants ownership of the process, the conference began by dividing down into three groups, Group A, Group B and Group C. Each group was organized by a Lead Counsel, a woman who was picked for that role. The groups then chose a Chairperson. The Chairperson and the Lead Counsel worked together, creating gender-balanced groups for Syria. 


The groups drew lots, selecting among themselves the themes of Will (Group A), Emotion (Group B) and Intellect (Group C). Then they met in group discussion and came up with bullet points for reducing or ending the violence in Syria. In all the worksheets that follow, black signifies both genders, red signifies women, blue signifies men and green signifies growth. The groups marked the most important among their bullet points with asterisks. 


The following is a summary outline of the proposed platforms and steps towards solutions to the Syria conflict. 



Group Discussion I




A. Will:

*Pursue Goodness and stop the war

*International Conference in Geneva to support the self-determination of the Syrian people


B. Emotion:


*Care, charity and humility (i.e., humanitarian aid participation by worship communities)

Give gifts

Kindness, Honesty


C. Intellect











Priorities in Platform

Ending the Toll of Death



Pursue goodness and stop the war

International conference in Geneva to support self-determination of the Syrian people.




Care, Charity and Humility



Equality of women’s roles





Group Discussion II: Spiritual Considerations


God—a God of Balance

Priorities for Syria


• Ending the Toll of Death


• Improvement

Group A: Let us please ask God to show us the way

Group B: Help us to get together in Geneva

Group C: Inclusive diversity and Unity in representation


Note: “Improvement” was underlined in red




Group Discussion III: Concrete Action Items

What concrete actions does your group want to suggest for improving the situation in Syria?


Group A 

Concrete actions:

  1. Find credible mediators
  2. No-fly zones
  3. Talks with Russia, with the U.S., Iran, Turkey, the Kurds, the Sunnis
  4. Conference on Tartus
  5. Verify that weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed
  6. After that is done, the U.S. should be bolder
  7. All parties must compromise

The members of group A were asked to assess their points on this criterion: Is the action supporting improvement and/or ending death? All affirmed that they did.


Group B

Concrete actions:

  1. Agree on a peace treaty in Geneva; involve the United Nations as peace-keepers
  2. All foreign military groups out of Syria
  3. Help refugees in Turkey and Kurdistan/Iraq
  4. United Nations must give aid

The members of group B were asked to assess their points on this criterion: Is our proposal supporting peace, improvement, and the ending of death? All affirmed that they did.


Group C

Concrete actions:

  1. UN resolution for military protection of humanitarian aid and local negotiations
  2. Lobby to diversify sources for distribution of humanitarian aid
  3. Establish organizations for women’s representation for inclusion in negotiations
  4. Independently network between Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish, Druze, and Alawite groups

The members of group C were asked to assess their points on this criterion: Are our actions—the actions we ourselves propose—an improvement to what currently is? All affirmed that they did.








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