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Introduction

Dear friends,

War Resisters' International's 22nd triennial conference "Choosing Peace Together" was an extraordinary event which brought together friends from all over the world. 309 participants from 40 countries -- Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Britain, Canada, Chad, Chechnya, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kosovo/a, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Paraguay, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, State of Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Turkey, USA, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- attended.

As Marko Strpic has written in an Antiwar Campaign Croatia (ARK) report, "Maybe it was, at least for me, the most important to meet people. We established truly good connections." Surely many might share the same insight. It is so good to experience that there are some other people trying to do something in more and less hopeless places in the world.

It was very important for Antiwar Campaign Croatia, which hosted the Triennial, because it renewed commitment to nonviolence. The Triennial helped to refresh and restart work on promoting conscientious objection. The organising effort also helped the Zagreb ARK office grow and build its capacity to do more. Activities linked with the Triennial also increased the visibility of the Centre for Civic Initiatives Porec, helping them in promoting human rights and empowerment of women.

The Triennial contributed to the visibility of peace work. During the conference there were two reports on local and national TV, and it was well covered in the daily press. Interviews with Greg Payton and Vesna Terselic were published after the Triennial ended. Who knows what kind of shift may have been brought by the words of Greg Payton, a Vietnam veteran from the US as he addressed war veterans in Pula, Croatia during the Triennial. People from the region also attended a discussion on Civil Tolerance by Triennial participants Rob Fairmichael of Northern Ireland and Gajo Sekulic of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Vesna Terselic.

It was an important step in the articulation of peace politics for peace-minded people from different post-Yugoslav countries. And it was important for War Resisters' International as we strengthened our international network and re-energised those who attended. The Triennial Business Meeting adopted a WRI Strategic Plan which is being worked on now. Seeds planted at the Triennial are growing around the world.

We hope that this report encourages and inspires you. It is a record of our gathering which we can share and learn from.

Peace,

Vesna Terselic
Joanne Sheehan
ARK and WRI Executive