PBI founding meeting began 40 years ago this evening

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Grindstone Island where PBI was founded.

The founding meeting of Peace Brigades International began 40 years ago this evening on Grindstone Island, which is situated about 100 kilometres southwest of Ottawa, Canada on unceded Algonquin, Anishinabek territory.

In his overview of the founding meeting, Daniel N. Clark notes that Hans Sinn chaired the first session of the consultation on the evening of Monday August 31, 1981.

On the morning of Tuesday September 1, Charlie Walker began the session with a reading from Martin Luther King, Jr. The discussion turned to the possible deployment of peace brigades in Guatemala and Mexico.

On Wednesday September 2, the discussion moved to the mission, characteristics, size, leadership style, discipline, partisanship, and roles of the organization.

On the final day at Grindstone, the Founding Declaration was adopted.

That Declaration, which is dated Friday September 4, 1981, states: “We are forming an organization with the capability to mobilize and provide trained units of volunteers. These units may be assigned to areas of high tension to avert violent outbreaks.”

As the vision of the organization continued to take shape, the concept of unarmed accompaniment came into being in April 1985 in Guatemala.

For more on the ongoing work of Peace Brigades International, our annual reviews from 1990 to present can be found here.

Photo: In September 2019, Brent Patterson met with Han Sinn who chaired the first session of the founding meeting of PBI on August 31, 1981.

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