Twelve international peacemakers from around the world are visiting congregations, presbyteries and colleges of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Sept. 19-Oct.12.

They are sharing their stories and church-based ministries in their countries that seek peace, justice and pursue peace in the name of Jesus Christ. This year’s international peacemakers come from Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Palestine, the Philippines, Russia, South Sudan and Syria.

The International Peacemaker program is sponsored by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

George Abueed of Palestine is a Greek-Orthodox young adult working with the Settlements Department of the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ). He is a 2012 graduate of Bir Zeit University in Political Science and has post-graduate training in the Europe Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority.

What is the most important situation in your country that you will be addressing?

The most important issue will be water. We struggle daily with accessing our water resources and find it very difficult to survive under these conditions. We rarely have enough water to get through an entire month. We either learn to survive several days without or buy it from Israeli companies which can be very expensive.

How are faith communities trying to address this situation?

We are all facing the same problem and try to find unified solutions for both Christians and Muslims. Water is only part of the problem. Occupation is the root of our issue and we are trying to solve it peacefully.

What peacemaking lessons from your situation are you trying to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?

My purpose is to educate and speak to as many people as possible, encouraging them to keep an open mind about the harsh reality in which we live. By making people aware of our situation in Palestine, people can decide for themselves what is right and wrong. We need help in finding a solid solution.

What is the primary message you want to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians about your country?

Peace is possible if we work hard for it. It is important to understand that those who seek peace find it difficult to reach unless they have an appropriate atmosphere to live in. Peace can only be achieved when there is equality for everyone.

George Abueed will be visiting the presbyteries of Beaver-Butler Presbytery, Baltimore, East Iowa, North Central Iowa and Northern Waters.

Rick Jones is communications strategist for Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and a regular contributor to Presbyterian News Service