Bev Polzin, Alternatives to Violence Project

Nine of us travelled on from Yearly Meeting 2012 to Guildford Grammar School, to participate in the Asia West-Pacific Gathering of AVP.

There we joined a number of others, including four from overseas (Singapore, Aotearoa/New Zealand, USA and Indonesia) for a memorable, well-organised and very fruitful Gathering, brought together by AVP-WA.

A number of AVP-ers from Perth were there, including several young Muslim women, who had recently completed the AVP program and were using it in their professional lives, and were keen for further AVP experience. Others of us came from Darwin (3), Victoria (3), Tasmania (1), Queensland (2), and NSW (5). Over the week some 55 facilitators attended.

The program itself covered six days and we were encouraged to offer workshops on subjects, which we wanted to share. Sessions included Aboriginal AVP, AVP youth, What is AVP? Starting an AVP group, Sharing AVP collective wisdom, AVP and the journal process, My Transforming Power Story, Refugee facilitation, Taster Workshop and Role Play Workshop, Trauma Healing and Developmental Play. There were at least two options for each session.

One of the choices was a whole day’s workshop on the topic of “Shame”, facilitated by NSW AVP, and another a two-and a half day workshop on “Trauma and Healing” facilitated by Nadine Hoover who has used the subject of this workshop in Aceh, Indonesia, with marked results.

Each session used the AVP process of a set agenda, including ‘light and livelies’ or ‘lifts’. We learned new exercises, shared experiences and insights and discovered new ways of enriching our AVP workshops. We connected or re-connected with each other through these workshops and in conversation.

There were also meetings about AVP Australia, AVP Asia West Pacific Region, AVP International and Friends Peace Team for Asia West Pacific.

Many of our number went to the Acacia Prison where the inmate facilitators had developed a program to share, and this was a real highlight of the Gathering. Inmate facilitators were delighted to welcome people from so far afield and talked to them about the way in which AVP had developed there. The prison authorities added their welcome and appreciation of the difference AVP makes in the prison culture.

The next AVP Australia National Gathering will be held at Silver Wattle in January 2013.

Well done, AVP-WA, for the care and energy you put into developing this program for our week together.

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