Founding The Coexistence Initiative

Angela Khaminwa

Program Officer for Outreach and Communication, The Coexistence Initiative

Sarah Peterson

Program Officer for Dialogue and Mainstreaming Coexistence, The Coexistence Initiative

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

A: The Coexistence Initiative was founded as a networking and facilitating organization. The idea behind the organization was that there were a lot of NGOs and individuals trying to bring groups all over the world towards an environment of coexistence. These included peace builders, and people working on different issues such as immigration and refugees, security, E-T-C.

Q: E-T-C?

A: Et cetera.

Q: Oh.

A: But there was no larger body that was coordinating these activities, so that was serving as a networking organization. TCI was founded not to kind of add more work to the thousands of other organizations but rather to help these organizations work together more effectively and to exchange information and function more efficiently. Over the years TCI's role in the peacebuilding world has changed to reflect shifts and trends. At the beginning of this year TCI started to focus more on strengthening the coexistence field and moving away from a broad perspective of peacebuilders with large to people working specifically on coexistence, that is, bringing together different groups to further understanding between the groups.

S: Initially TCI defined coexistence almost as a framework, a larger framework within which all of these other fields could thrive. It was an umbrella. It was also a baseline for human interaction. But because there were so many ways to interpret it, the term itself was fuzzy. Therefore part of the effort in January, 2003, correct me if I am wrong Angela, was to truly hone that vision for what coexistence is what it means when you are actually promoting coexistence worldwide, and how do you effectively mainstream something like that. That was the essential driving force behind the program areas.