Thursday, June 26, 2008

Welcome to Peace Bridges

Our Staff:

Mony, Daniel, David, Barry, Krisna, Reaksmey (back row); Sam Oun, Mealy, Somethea, Sophea, Chhunly, Lida, and Sokha (front)

Peace Bridges is committed to developing and delivering programs to help partner organizations and community peacebuilders engage conflict in creative and constructive ways. Our staff come from different continents and provinces, from different backgrounds and experiences, but we work together to build peace in our own lives and throughout Cambodia.

Together, we can help each other to not only equip those who are working with peace, but also to encourage and empower them.

Our Training & Mobilization Unit offers direct training to peacebuilders in both long term (Conflict Counseling & Mediation Training, 13 weeks) and short term consultancies. We then continue this work by: coordinating a Peace Alliance for alumni to review, learn new skills, and encourage each other; helping peacebuilders design and implement peace programs in their communities; and developing partnerships with organizations working for peace.

Our Administrative & Finance Unit provides the necessary support for a busy schedule that takes our staff across Cambodia, as well as by helping facilitate our training programs and developing their own skills.

Our English Services Unit works with key expatriate and English-speaking Khmer leaders in Cambodia in developing both conflict transformation skills and empowering Khmer peacebuilders, as well as by coordinating research for developing new programs.

Our Family Violence Project is helping Peace Bridges respond to the urgent needs of Cambodian families by empowering communities, equipping peacebuilders, and encouraging churches. A pilot program (6 units, January - June 2010) is being developed to equip peacebuilders to understand family conflict and violence, build family reconciliation processes, and plan community programs to support healthy family systems.

And our Organizational Leadership provides ongoing support and vision for embodying this important vision of peace. This includes our director, general services manager, staff mentor, and board of governance.

We also offer direct services through providing mediation for conflicting parties and conflict counseling for those involved in the stress of conflict.

For a more personal glimpse at our staff, please follow the links below.

Training & Mobilization Unit
Mr. Sar Sokhapong Daniel, Coordinator
Mr. Lang Reaksmey
Mr. So Sam Oun
Mrs. Keut ChhunLy

Administration & Finance Unit

Ms. Na Solida and Ms. Ros Chansophea

David Ketchum
Mrs. Ma Somethea, Coordinator
Mr. Pun Krisna
Mrs. Oum Mealy
David & Holly Ketchum
Barry Higgins, Director
Mr. Som Chanmony, General Services Manager
Mr. Nop Sokha, Staff Mentor and Partnership Coordinator
Board of Governance


Monday, June 23, 2008

Partnership & Mobilization Unit

Mr. Sar Sokhapong Daniel

What motivated me to work at Peace Bridges was seeing the impacts on my country from the experience of a long civil war. Even though the genocide is over, a lot of people are still affected, and the war has really impacted their attitudes and behaviors. They become angry and violent easily, and so a lot of families and schools live with violence. Even I suffered violence as I was growing up.

So when I saw those things I also observed that I could not change anything, because people expected to change things with violence. But violence cannot end violence, and so the situation became worse and nothing ever changed. Because I saw a lot of violence in families and communities, and against minority groups like the Cham people, I asked myself, "As a citizen living in a country with a lot of violence, what can I do to help?"

When I heard about peacebuilding training offered by Peace Bridges, I was very interested and applied. After I finished, I was even more motivated to see what I could do for society and how I could use my knowledge and skills bring healing. So when I learned Peace Bridges was going to employ a new position, I applied. I am now very happy that I can use my knowledge and skill to help the people in my country by providing peace education to the Christian churches, Buddhist monks, community groups, prison inmates and staff, and so on.

After the training and support I have provided, I can see the impact on people's lives. I can see their changed attitudes and that the training also benefits their families, workplaces, and communities. But the work is not finished and a lot of areas and groups still need peacebuilding work. For this reason, I still have a heart to continue my work and see peace extend across Cambodia.


Sar Sokhapong Daniel is Training & Mobilization Coordinator. In addition to coordinating Peace Bridges' long-term training (Part A: Training for Peace; Part B: Conciliation & Mediation Skills), this unit resource graduates so that they can use their knowledge and skills in their workplaces and beyond.


Mr. Lang Reaksmey

There are many people living with complicated problems that are very hard to understand - living with no hope, full of discouragement and conflict. I am no different in my need for hope, encouragement and peace in my life. Recognizing this need led me to Peace Bridges' training, which gave me the skills and vision that I am now excited to share with others.

I love helping build peace with families, churches, communities, Cambodia and all over the world. Finishing my year 4 studies at Phnom Penh Bible College and Peace Bridges' 1-year course of Conflict Counseling and Mediation helped me see my vision more clearly. And my wife, Chenda, is the best resource and encouragement for me for this task.

I am grateful that I have been able to work for peace at Peace Bridges since 2007 as a facilitator providing peacebuilding and conflict prevention training to churches and NGOs in Cambodia.


Reaksmey helps provide training and mobilization in our long-term course and in short-term consultancies. In addition, Reaksmey serves as a member of the Church committee, Sunday School teacher, and preacher. Previous to working with Peace Bridges, he was as an assistant pastor and computer coordinator at Faith in Christ Church in Phnom Penh and a dormitory warden at Phnom Penh Bible College.


Mr. So Sam Oun

I have worked for Peace Bridges since 2007 as Client Services Associate. There are many ways to share peace in Cambodia, but one way I must follow everyday is within myself - to live peace, share peace and teach peace. Peace must start from me if I want to see peace in our churches, families and communities in the future.

In October 2007, I participated in the Conflict Counseling and Mediation course provided by Peace Bridges. Afterwards, I saw signs of transformation: my comfort zone was opening; my heart was healing; my attitude was changing. I remember that Mony said, "A trainer must live these lessons," and that is my hope and belief.

I have joy being a peace builder, chosen to work at Peace Bridges. Peace is important to me - to Live Peace.... Share Peace..... Teach Peace.


Sam Oun helps provide training and mobilization in our long-term course and in short-term consultancies. He is also the Administrative & Assistant Pastor at Solomon Church, Phnom Penh, and a student in the Intercultural Studies program at Antioch Institute.


Mrs. Kouet ChhunLy

“What is conflict?”

This is the question I keep asking myself. Since beginning my work with Peace Bridges in 2007, I have learned that conflict comes from the differences in one’s “ideas” or “purposes” that affect the ideas or purposes of others.

When it comes to the conflicts arising in Cambodian society, we can see how the many differences in ideas or purposes result in many conflicts. Even though Cambodians live in the Khmer tradition of nonviolence, the practice of this tradition varies from one place or region to another. Moreover, those differences are also the results of personal characteristics shaped by personal knowledge and education. If we do not know how to use, respect and value the above mentioned differences we may be lead to conflicts and break-ups. The conflicts may arise at any time that we do not know how to manage or cope with our differences.

Part of conflict management is simply the lesson that "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” However, we often have difficulty living up to this. The good news is that with the support of others and by being more self aware, attitudes can form in us that help us in the journey of life.

I am thankful for the promise of peace and hope to me and my family. I really wish the family and the Cambodian people peace and blessing for Cambodian’s future generations.


Chhunly helps provide training and mobilization in our long-term course and in short-term consultancies.



Administrative & Finance Unit

Miss Na Solida

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Miss Ros Chan Sophea

I have worked for Peace Bridges since 2007 as Associate Administrator and trainee peacebuilder to build networks for peace among youth.

Building peace is so important, including among youth. When I see parents solving their problems by shouting loudly at each other, my feeling is terror and consternation. Even for me, when I had a question I wanted to ask my parents, sometimes I was afraid. And when I heard strong voices, I was afraid and thought I would do something wrong.

But this has inspired me to want to live in a quiet place, a place where it is easy to speak with each other when a problem needs to be solved. When I came to work for Peace Bridges, I felt very happy because my heart has peace. I have opportunities to learn and practice peace education principles and conciliation, mediation, and listening skills. This not only helps me in my work, but I can use the lessons with my family without fear. All of this helps me to mature and develop my future, living at peace in my life and my family.

“Peace is my sunshine and peace makes me happy.”


In addition to working as Peace Bridges' Associate Administrator, Chan Sophea assists in training workshops for community peacebuilders.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Organizational Leadership

Mr. Som Chanmony, Director

For me, peacebuilding has been a journey of faith. I find my motivation for peacebuilding in the teachings of Jesus – loving those who are different than you, forgiving those who hurt you, and practicing nonviolence. As a peace trainer, it is very important to me that I live out the principals of peacemaking in my own life.

I believe that the work to transform violence is easier when it is grounded in what people believe. I have learned that all religions value peace, love, nonviolence, and human dignity. Therefore, a life of peacebuilding is not limited to the members of any religious group. We need to learn to separate faith and values and to appreciate the values of all religions. I love how peacebuilding involves crossing the boundaries of religion and class to build healthy relationships. In my own journey of peacebuilding, I have applied these ideals in my church, my work, and my family.

I am excited to play a part in the growth of peace in Cambodia as Peace Bridges director.

Mr. Som Chanmony came to Peace Bridges in 2003 as an Associate Administrator. Since then, he has worked as an Associate Training Coordinator, Training Coordinator, and General Service Manager. In August 2010, he became Peace Bridges’ Director. Chanmony is married with one son.


Mr. Barry Higgins, Advisor

“As a ‘peace and justice person’ living cross-culturally, I’m a strong advocate of being slow to make judgments of others. We need to work from the assumption that there is usually more than one interpretation of any event or conflict.

"The problem is that I sometimes do the opposite of what I advocate. I forget to take planks out of my own eye before inspecting dust in other people’s eyes.

"I’ve found that conflict counseling, mediation and peace education make me a better person - it's a good way to reduce blind-spots - and better communicator. That’s also why I’m happy to recommend getting some support from an organization like ours when relationships get a bit rocky - or, even better, before things are rocky!”

Barry Higgins (Bach. Theology; Post-Grad. Diplomas in Mediation and Family Therapy) was the founding director of Peace Bridges. He is married with 2 sons and has lived in Cambodia since 2001.

Prior to working in Cambodia, Barry worked more than 15 years as a Baptist minister and community development worker in Australia. This included working as a mediation consultant for family, community, church and business disputes.

Barry enjoys his family, jazz, swimming and reading a good thriller.


Mr. Nop Sokha, Staff Mentor and Partnership Coordinator

I coordinate our partnerships with community peacebuilders and organizations. I also provide Conflict Counseling & Mediation services, teach Peace Education courses, and train with the Peace Bridges' Training Team.

The Cambodian people and I have met so much physical and mental difficulty and our country still suffers from too many years of war. I remember a proverb, "Even fire, turned to ash, makes you black when you touch it.” With the Cambodian situation, we find it is difficult to escape from the ash or coke. The war that has the fighting zone was finished, but the war still continues in our life and in our mind every day by the issues that we face.

We can say that someone is at peace when he is at peace with his body, peace with his mind and peace with his faith. Those with injuries to their body from the war have many difficulties, but they also have many services in Cambodia. But for those whose have injuries to their mind or their heart face great challenges finding help, because these services are still small and not yet trusted. The mental problem of Cambodian people is still alive with us now.

In 2003, I participated in the ‘Conflict Counseling and Mediation’ course provided by Peace Bridges (formerly Christian Peace Building Services or CPBS). Not only did I learn new skills, but I also received healing for myself. Starting with this training, I have had the opportunity to provide this service to other people who need my help. For me ‘Peace Education’ is important because there are many lessons that can coach us to manage anger and support our mental health as we learn to respond to problems peacefully. These reasons encouraged me to work with Peace Bridges in 2004.

In addition to serving as the Staff Mentor & Partnership Coordinator, Mr. Nop Sokha is a member of Peace Bridges' Management Team and the EFC Executive Committee. He is an assistant Pastor at Light Life Free Methodist Church in Phnom Penh and has many years of experience working in government departments, companies and NGOs.


The Peace Bridges Board & Donors

Board history:

The board grew out of a unity task group formed by the Evangelical Fellowship of
Cambodia in 2002. It operated as a “collective” of concerned volunteers planning
and managing under the leadership of a chairperson, two advisors and eventually
with four paid staff. Approximately three years ago the board restructured with
appointment of a director and management team. As the management has started to demonstrate capacity to manage, the board is now beginning to consider ways of focusing more on higher level policy matters.

Key Donors:

We are very grateful for the generosity and support of our donors who sustain our work. Peace Bridges currently receives financial and/or human resources from the following organizations:


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Peaceful Families Unit

You can also read a summary of the Building Peaceful Families Program HERE

(or download a word.doc version HERE).

Mrs. Ma Somothea

I worked for Peace Bridges for more than 3 years as the Administration and Finance Unit Coordinator, and now I am happy to become the Family Violence Prevention Associate. In my new role, I am helping conduct research, make strategies, and develop our programs for helping families become more peaceful.

Working at Peace Bridges has helped prepare me for this job and for life. For example, I have found it hard when we work in the office to deal with interpersonal perception. Recognition of each other's perceptions or differences is a part of communicating better. Learning these skills in Peace Bridges' training courses has helped me to do my work more effectively and also bring peace to other people around me.

Every morning, when I wake up and see my daughter smile at me, I feel joyful for the new day. Her smile is so pure and peaceful, which is hard to see from adults. I know that she recognized that I am her mother, who gives her hugs and comfort. So she only experiences the love and smiles we give her. These bring her peace and make her smile to us, too.

A smile is one of the most important tools to inspire people from tiredness, but to be able smile we need to have peace in our heart and mind. Before bringing peace to our communities, we need to start from ourselves first.

“I just would like to see our communities have a peaceful smile of hope and confidence.”


Somethea coordinates the Peaceful Families Unit. She was married in 2006 to Mr. Svay Karony (who serves at Word of Life ministry as the office manager). They have one daughter.


Mr. Pun Krisna

[information not available]


Mrs. Oum Mealy

[information not available]