Founded in 2007, Shalom Educating for Peace (SEP) is dedicated to building and sustaining positive peace through education. The name 'Shalom' is derived from their vision of moving communities towards positive and holistic peace through the five components of Shalom. These include reconciling different sections of society, righting grievances, damage and injustices, calming fears, and helping the community prosper.
SEP's objectives include educating for peace, researching for peace and cultivating a culture of non-violence within Rwanda. SEP considers peace as a way of life and is committed to nonviolent means of resolving and transforming daily conflicts into personal and social justice.
This organisational ethos has been developed by Prof. Geoff Harris, the recognised mentor of the organisation's founders. Some the concepts of peace that guide SEP include the following:
• Differentiating between positive and negative peace. Negative peace refers to the absence of direct violence but positive peace refers to the presence of ‘shalom’.
• Nonviolence. Following the teachings of Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr., it aims to act with nonviolence in response to conflict and challenges.
• Compassionate communication. As described by Marshall Rosenberg, Shalom seeks to practise compassionate communication within the organisation and all those it interacts with.
• Holistic approach. Shalom works with the whole community, on every level, bringing peace to young people, educators, parents, leaders and other community groups in a variety of ways.
• Walking alongside communities. Shalom believes community members know how to bring about peace in their own communities. Its role is not to tell communities what to do, but to facilitate their own peace process.