Leah Wang lives and works in Nanchong, Sichuan Province, China. In 2005-2006 she participated in MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program. While in the U.S., she heard a young man do a presentation about Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and its ministry in Palestine. She learned that CPT workers accompany young Palestinian children as they go to school to keep them safe from the very real possibility of violence from Israeli settlers. The experience impressed upon her that peace is more than simply “no war” – it is also the presence of justice and human rights.
Wang returned home with a new way of understanding her own country. She saw a country developing at such a swift pace that it was wreaking havoc on the social fabric of communities and contributing to domestic violence, school violence and structural violence. She recognized the militaristic culture that Northeast Asia shares. And she saw a great need for peacebuilding and peace education.
Together with a friend, Wang founded a local organization called Peace in China (PIC). Its first project was to promote a peace camp for youth from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). Because of historical grievances and misleading media and education, young people in Northeast Asia carry burdens of hurt and hatred for each other. Yet, since 2009, the camp has helped to break down prejudices and stereotypes for 280 young people.
Wang states, “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing stereotypes shattered, hatred become love, distance shortened, misunderstanding melted, fears overcome, new friendships made and the commitment of peace growing in young hearts.”
A Christian and follower of Jesus, Wang is passionate about guiding children in the way of peace. She says that nurturing children with love and justice will influence the rest of their lives.
Wang has big dreams for her country. In addition to organizing the Northeast Asia youth peace camp, she hopes to introduce restorative justice principles in the schools, as well as in family life. She plans to initiate anti-bullying workshops in the schools and to establish a peacebuilding network in China. Down the road, she hopes to write a book on peacebuilding practice for the Chinese cultural context.
MCC has gathered stories of Women Peacebuilders as part of our annual Peace Sunday Packet. The complete 2016 Peace Sunday Packet can be viewed here.