Friday, December 5, 2008

Queer Peace International

Queer Peace International is a consortium of Queer (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, questioning, straight allies) individuals who are concerned with building peace and reconciliation in Queer communities around the world. Already representing Queers from 40 countries, QPI continues to outreach and network itself.

You must be the change you want to see in the world
- Mahatma Gandhi

Queer Peace International is a Canadian Non-Governmental Organization that stands to empower grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations in developing countries to educate their communities on LGBT issues and concerns, as well as learn the necessary skills to advocate for their rights.

Queer Peace International is committed to promoting peace, diversity and equality of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified) population through facilitating research, training, and outreach projects in developing countries. We specifically address in our work the education, social and health needs of LGBT individuals through international development programming.

Queer Peace International envisions equal and fair access and treatment of all minorities, focusing predominantly, but not exclusively, on lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and trans-identified persons in the education, health and social sectors of society. As international investment in each of these sectors continues to outreach and define itself, Queer citizens deserve to access resources that encourage human development, and which are currently available to other marginalized groups.

Queer Peace International brings together Queer voices from multiple spectrums of the globe to help build sustainable change, conciliation, and peace. Its members come from an array of communities, cultures and identities. We work in solidarity with all minorities and women to further guarantee inclusiveness in social change. Everyone can join and access Queer Peace International and be a part of the relevance it possesses.

For examples on how we work on our mission statement, please visit the news section of the website.


Queer Peace International’s founder Robert Mizzi

You can not gain peace by avoiding life.
- Virginia Woolf

July 1997 in rural, southern Japan, Queer Peace International’s founder Robert Mizzi received a teaching position with a small Board of Education. While in his quaint town, he realized that there were barriers towards progressing Japan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement. Aiming to promote cross-cultural dialogue, Robert created “Q-shu Retreats” that brought together Japanese and non-Japanese LGBT people to discuss the ‘living to hide/hiding to live’ state of being for LGBT people in Japan. The emphasis was on cross-cultural sharing and learning, which many walked away with. This sparked Robert’s journey of assisting, where he is invited to do so, in creating safe and productive spaces for queers around the world.

Robert has witnessed many things queers in the developed world take for granted. He has had gay men tell him that they did not know what HIV was, and that they were at risk. He has spoken with lesbians whose focus remains on getting a good job so that they can escape their families and not placed into an arranged, heterosexual marriage. He has met with small groups of LGBT people trying to reconcile their sexuality with their Muslim and Catholic faiths. These are just a few examples of one person’s experiences in various contexts that might illustrate why development assistance might be useful.

When Robert moved back to Canada after a 7-year journey uncovering, addressing and learning about LGBT issues in international cooperation, he created “Queer Peace International” in October 2004 initially as a listserv to keep those interested in relevant topic areas remain connected. The concept grew rapidly, and programming and policy initiatives began to take shape. Effectively, QPI’s formation began filling a long-standing gap in international cooperation.

Now, two years later, QPI has made substantial progress that goes beyond building a solid and resource-rich listserv. There have been substantial partnerships made towards initiatives such as building democratic LGBT leadership in Kosovo, training physicians on LGBT issues in Tajikistan, and sending LGBT books to Nigeria. These initiatives are grassroots, and, as always, come from the local population first. As QPI continues to expand, we welcome new partnerships to continue ‘filling the gap’ in international cooperation. There are several international advisors to QPI to ensure our work continues to be relevant, poignant and localized. We also welcome volunteers, allies, and individuals to join our membership.

Robert is currently the founder and executive director of QPI. He can be reached through the ‘contact us’ section on this website. He is currently working on his Ph.D. at York University, Canada. The board of directors joins Robert on the leadership of QPI. You can learn about them in the “About Us” section.

We hope you have found this information useful and meaningful to your interests. Learning is a right that takes many forms, and in every country, a queer spirit emerges, seeking to learn.
Peace out.

No comments: