From June 10-12, several Pax Christi sections gathered in Berlin, Germany for this year’s Pax Christi International (PXI) Annual General Meeting (AGM). Sections represented included Pax Christi UK, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, Austria, New Zealand, Flanders, Netherlands (Pax Christi IKV), Peru and USA. Bishop Marc Stenger, bishop president of Pax Christi France, also attended. The meetings were presided over by co-presidents Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa and Marie Dennis of Washington, D.C., and PXI Secretary General Jose Henriquez.
This year’s AGM focused on renewing and strengthening structures for 2013-2016 – sessions were held on effective campaign strategies; use of social media; the economic roots of violence; and drones and automated weapon systems. A special session was held on the question of Syria, with participants simply sharing information they have received from grassroots partners and discussing options for possible responses.
Most Pax Christi sections in Europe have special events planned for 2014 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I – for instance, Pax Christi Flanders will host a bike tour for peace, and will hold vigils on dates that correspond with significant events during the war.
Elections were held for the executive committee – Bishop Dowling and Marie Dennis were re-elected as co-presidents, and Fr. Jan Peters, SJ, was re-elected as international treasurer. Newly elected executive committee members include Mustafa Ali (Kenya, Global Network of Religions for Children); Sr. Filo Hirota (Japan, Mercedarian Missionaries of Berriz); Wiltrud Rosch-Metzler (Germany, Pax Christi Germany); Fr. Neles Tebay (West Papua, Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology); Antal Balog (Croatia, Evangelical Theological Seminary); Cristiana Calabrese (Italy, Pax Christi Italy); Ann Farr (Great Britain, Pax Christi UK); Carmen Artigas (Uruguay, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean); and Rania Murra (Palestine, Educational Arab Institute).
Next year’s AGM will be held June 9-11 in Sarajevo, the city where World War I began, and will immediately follow a large peace gathering, From a World of War and Violence to a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence, which will be held June 6-9.