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The History of "Are We Together?"


"Are We Together?" was made possible through the vision and dedication of the beloved peace educator, Marg Huber. Marg developed and taught this course with members of the African Children’s Choir in Uganda from 2001-2003. They expanded into their own organization, Global Peace Hut, and continued teaching peace until 2008, when Marg returned to Canada.

Marg was instrumental in the relaunch of this course with CryPeace in 2021, and worked hard to see it return to her beloved Africa. When I met her former students in 2024, they remembered her fondly, and still practiced “the peace that Marg taught” in their daily lives.

Unfortunately, Marg passed away in 2023, finding her own eternal peace. We dedicate this curriculum to her with great love and gratitude for all of the peace that Marg shared with the world.


A Letter From Marg Huber, 2023

From Marg Huber, Director of Training, CryPeace (2021 - 2023)

President, Founder and Director of Training, Global Peace Hut (2003-2008)

Director of Conflict Resolution Initiatives, Music for Life (2001 – 2003)

Director, Centre for Conflict Resolution, Justice Institute of British Columbia
(1990 – 2001)

I first saw the African Children’s Choir in 1999 when I was coordinating a national conference on conflict resolution in Canada. At the time, they were in Vancouver on another engagement. Once I saw these children, I knew that they would be perfect for the conference’s opening ceremonies. At the conference the following year, I met Ray Barnett, Founder and CEO of Music for Life/The African Children’s Choir.

At that time, I was Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution Training in Vancouver. We invited the African Children’s Choir to open the conference as a tribute to children everywhere, as well as two senior and deeply respected Canadian family mediators who had died that year. The children in the choir were orphaned from several countries in central and eastern Africa; all had been victims or witnesses of extreme violence. Yet when they sang, they instantly touched the hearts of all 2,000 people present. They connected us to our humanity, which broke through our professionalism and united our hearts. The children sang with great joy, despite their deep trauma. They became joy and love. We all were very acquainted with the pain and heartbreak that accompanies conflict, and were deeply moved. That spirit permeated the conference until its closing ceremony.

This experience led Ray to invite me to Kampala, Uganda to teach the choir members how to resolve conflict collaboratively and build peace. I agreed on one condition: that we first assessed the cultural compatibility of western conflict resolution training for the Ugandan context. Ray had a vision of the war-orphaned children of the choir bringing peace and joy to troubled areas of the world, by singing from their hearts and spirits. He intuitively believed that they were natural peacebuilders, and he wanted me to teach them the “ways of a peacebuilder” – to resolve conflicts without violence. The initiative’s leaders from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan found the training very compatible with their values and beliefs, and the children who participated in the initial training were very enthusiastic. Ray offered me a job with the organization as Director of Conflict Resolution Initiatives.

Over the next five years, I provided training and discussion sessions for choir members, their teachers and community leaders in Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Kenya, teaching them how to resolve conflict in a good way and build peace. I also worked with all of the students in the several schools that the organization supported. Over the next few years, the response was so positive, and there was such a great interest in expanding the work to other schools (both private and public), that I left the Choir organization to start Global Peace Hut – a Canadian non-governmental organization dedicated to conflict resolution and peacebuilding in African schools. With our team of young Africans (older choir members in their early 20’s), we provided conflict resolution and peacebuilding training to over 7,000 children and teachers at schools recommended by the Ministry of Education, at no cost. We empowered people with the skills, approaches, attitudes, and values that would help them resolve conflicts in a good way, without violence. Their identity was lived by their slogan, “The real heroes are peacebuilders.” Global Peace Hut’s vision was “Living Peace.” We encouraged the students to define what peace meant to them. The young African facilitators from the choir continued to volunteer for this work because they loved it, were gaining valuable work experience, and were excited by the changes it brought to both students and schools.

This course evolved over several years, and came to incorporate wisdom learned from students, teachers, parents, caregivers, and interested community members from areas in and around Kampala. We worked at diverse schools: private and public, small and large, rural and urban, girls-only and mixed-gender, Muslim and secular, in well-off and impoverished areas. Over 7,000 students and their teachers, headmasters, parents and community members received our training, which was based on universal values rather than any particular faith. Our Ugandan training team also trained a number of Rwandan orphans from Kigali who wanted to start up the work in Rwanda with the support of the African Children’s Choir organization. Fundraising, primarily in Canada, covered the minimal expenses we incurred as a largely volunteer effort.

Writing this peacebuilding course was a learning journey for us all, as we had to confront ourselves, and each other, on every issue that a program of this nature inevitably raises in changing times. We were often reminded that it is not easy to be a peacebuilder. However, our journey would not have been possible without the help we received from many people who have, in different ways, contributed their wisdom, talents, time, support and resources, to not only make our dream of teaching children and youth to be peacebuilders a reality, but who sustained us through many difficult times along the way. We would not be where we are today without them.

Our heroes inspired us. They included:

  • Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Head of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in South Africa. Globally recognized as an icon of peaceful resistance to injustice, Archbishop Emeritus Tutu spearheaded the fight against apartheid. He often noted that the apartheid system, while devastating for South African blacks, was nearly as corrosive to the spiritual, physical and political development of the white population it was supposed to protect. His fundamental moral philosophy was, “You are either in favour of evil or you are in favour of good – either on the side of the oppressed or the side of the oppressor.” He prayed for the well-being of his opponents, even those who attacked him. He became a globe-trotting peace advocate, pushing for justice and freedom.

Recommended books: The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and our World, and No Future without Forgiveness.

  • Nelson Mandela, first black President of post-apartheid South Africa, and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Possessing a universal spirit of social justice, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his commitment to overthrowing apartheid. He emphasized forgiveness for the sake of peace, fostered national racial reconciliation, and was one of the founding founders of democracy and human rights in South Africa.

Recommended book: Long Walk to Freedom.

  • Mahatma Ghandi, an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist, employed non-violent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British rule. Gandhi's non-violent civil disobedience inspired future world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and movements for civil rights and freedom around the world.
  • His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the spiritual leader of Tibet and Nobel Peace Prize winner. A simple Buddhist monk and a man of peace, the Dalai Lama consistently advocates policies of non-violence, even in the face of extreme aggression. He was the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems.

Recommended books: The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living; The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World (co-authored with Desmond Tutu), and The Wisdom of Forgiveness: Intimate Conversations and Journeys.

  • Dr. Manase Lomole Waya, PhD, Philosophy; Former Deputy Governor and Minister of Education, Central Equatoria, South Sudan, and former Chairperson of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) for UN humanitarian assistance for South Sudan. He recognized the enormous possibilities for rebuilding community through our peacebuilding training, even while South Sudan was still at war with Sudan.
  • Gisimba Damas Mutezintare, Gisimba Memorial Centre – award-winning head of an orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda that hid over 400 people during the genocide. After the genocide, the memorial centre supported over 1,000 orphaned children. Mr. Mutezintare now runs the orphanage as a prominent primary school in Kigali.
  • Canadian General Romeo D’Allaire, Force Commander for the UN Peacekeeping Force for Rwanda during the genocide of 1994. General D'Allaire sheltered and saved 300,000 Tutsis in the genocide, is an anti-apartheid leader and a strong, courageous advocate for international peace, justice, non-violence and human rights.

Recommended book: Shake Hands with the Devil.

Our core training team consisted of:

  • Abraham Kiyingi, Elvis Sewankambo, Jeremiah Zziwa, Esther Bulyaba, Henry Guweddeko and Francis Kalonyu Akonyu, whom I trained to be trainers, then to deliver the conflict resolution and peacebuilding curriculum to students. They worked with all of the children in the schools that we supported, while I worked with the teachers, deputies and headmasters. They also collected Ugandan folk stories from grannies and aunties from their childhood years for role plays and dramatizations, which we incorporated into the curriculum as learning tools. Since the “real heroes are peacebuilders,” these facilitators are indeed heroes.

Our supporters were many, and included:

  • Ray Barnett, who made all this work possible by his vision of what the choir children could offer to the world. Ray took the courageous step to introduce the peacebuilding and conflict resolution work within the Choir organization’s many operations in East Africa.

Recommended book: Don’t Tell Me it Can’t Be Done: An Autobiography.

  • Mrs. Robina Lubwama (“Mummy Robina”) of Ambassadors of Hope, African Children’s Choir. I am ever grateful to her for being one of the first people to recognize the value of the work and support it, and for taking care of me while I was in Kampala.
  • Dr. Deusdedit Nkurunziza, Founding Head and Professor of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Makerere University, Kampala and Catholic theologian. I am grateful for our many conversations about conflict resolution in Kampala, and for his gracious sharing of his expertise and experience.
  • Mrs. Catherine Mugerwa from the Ministry of Education, Uganda, who helped advance interest in the training program and connected us to the teachers and schools where we trained. The Ministry invited me to teach at the Teachers College, but ironically, the budget for the program was diverted to finance the war in northern Uganda.
  • Dr. Darling Gracia Villena-Mata, PhD, trauma specialist, author, lecturer throughout the U.S., consultant, and colleague. She taught us so much about the many faces of trauma, and used her experience as an immigrant from Chile to America to highlight the effects of trauma on relationships and learning. The trauma material in the appendix of the curriculum is shared with her permission.

Recommended book: Walking Between Winds: A Passage through Trauma into Healing.

I am grateful to the many friends and colleagues in the global peacebuilding field who followed this work with great interest, to the most wonderful training team at the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s Centre for Conflict Resolution, and to my local mediation colleagues in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Lastly, I can’t say enough about the children in all the schools where we taught peacebuilding and conflict resolution. The children at the African Children’s Choir always greeted and gifted us with song. They were the reason we did this work; they are the real peacebuilders of tomorrow. These children have told us so many wonderful stories about how they have become peacebuilders, and have much to teach others. They inspired us every day. When it seemed like we had undertaken a formidable task, we remembered them and how they embodied the saying, “The real heroes are peacebuilders,” and carried on. They defined “peace” as they had come to know it.

Unfortunately, Global Peace Hut was unable to continue after 2008 because of human and financial resource limitations compared with the ever-expanding demand. As a small organization, we did not have a wide base of educational and organizational resources to draw upon. Sponsoring university and business courses for several young African leaders was not enough, and health constraints made it difficult for me to remain in Africa, so we dissolved Global Peace Hut (Canada).

We founded Global Peace Hut - Uganda, but without the networks and experience of dealing with administrative responsibilities while continuing training, the team could not keep up. The young African facilitators also wanted to build their own families, and had other family members to support. They reminded me that the life expectancy in Uganda was only 40 years. So, the facilitators moved on to other pursuits, and Global Peace Hut - Uganda disbanded. The schools where the program was taught continued to build peace on their own.

Over a decade later, Carole St. Laurent, the founder of CryPeace from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, heard about our work through a mutual colleague. Carole was interested in developing peace training and approached me about collaborating. Global Peace Hut’s program is as relevant in many ways as when it was last taught. The universal values of peacebuilding are timeless. Joining CryPeace will enable the work to resume and grow, and new partnerships to form.

We look forward to training more students to be peacebuilders together: to raising a generation for peace. Modern technology and online access will provide new opportunities for sharing this work more widely, while contextualizing it for new locations. I am excited about the possibilities.


Learn how Marg started her peace journey: