The Program


Every generation has its challenges to face and ours is no different.  We face crucial social, political, military, economic and ecological challenges, some of which pose substantial threats to a healthy future for our humanity.  Our pages in history are being written now. What kind of people might it take for these pages to read that our generation seriously engaged the violence, intolerance and injustice present in its lifetime? 

We believe it is going to take young people who are:

  • Skilled in nonviolent leadership,
  • Highly motivated towards interfaith dialogue and cooperation
  • Aligned with their identity and purpose at this time in history,
  • Strong and committed to their spirituality,
  • Deeply grounded with skills in self care
  • Able to stand firm for the reality of nonviolence, tolerance and justice for our shared communities.     

THE NONVIOLENT INTERFAITH LEADERSHIP PROGRAM  is designed to cultivate these capacities in you.


Participants of the program will come together for a 5 day retreat in Melbourne at the beautiful Edmund Rice Retreat and Spirituality Centre ‘Amberley’ situated on a bend of the Yarra River in Lower Plenty. In an inspiring interfaith environment, participants will form a community of practice and together study the art of nonviolent leadership in ways that will deepen their leadership potential and expand their capacity to make vital contributions to their community and the world.A team of highly skilled, richly experienced and deeply spiritual facilitators will guide participants through a 5 day retreat

  • The Inner and Outer Journey of Nonviolent Leadership
  • The Tool-Kit For Nonviolent Leadership

Participants will receive intellectual, emotional and spiritual nourishment as they engage in a daily rhythm that will include time for: transformative course content, spiritual practices, journaling, artistic expression, shared meals, silence, small and large interfaith group sharing and the development of practical toolkits for nonviolent leadership.

A significant aspect  will be applied learning via a community project developed by each participant in his or her individual faith community.  Members of the project team will provide supervision and mentoring as required throughout this time.


Effective leadership can only emerge from, and be sustained by, a foundation of self-understanding. Without an awareness of the light and shadow that drive our unique personalities we unconsciously repeat the myth of redemptive violence that is dominant in our culture. (Brendan McKeague and George Trippe)




Course content will be shaped around a unique and integrated combination of both ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ topics including nonviolent leadership; spiritual formation; interfaith dialogue; identity, culture and belonging; self care and participation in society.  The program will provide skills for putting into practice the insights of living nonviolently.

Unit 1:  Gathering and Grounding in a Culture of Co-Learning – Sharing Stories

Participants will be given the opportunity to:

  • Share personal stories – What brings you to this place?
  • Share stories of connection within faith traditions – What sustains you in your faith?
  • Reflect on the experience of community
  • Begin to engage the experience of the community within

Unit 2:  Dominant Culture: Social and Personal Impacts

Participants will interactively explore:

  • The formation and maintenance of groups and subcultures within societyP1010817
  • How the cycles of violence are legitimised, validated and perpetuated
  • The pervasive nature of dominant culture for the individual
  • Characteristics of spiritualties that perpetuate violence
  • Key characteristics of nonviolent spiritualties

Unit 3:  Nonviolence in my Faith Tradition

Participants will be encouraged to:

  • Explore the connection between culture and faith
  • Engage in critical self-reflection on the interface of culture and faith
  • Think about strategic nonviolent alternatives for livingwith Sherene
  • Reflect on their faith traditions and
    • Self-understanding
    • An understanding of Others as neighbours
    • Experiences of Transformation
    • Consider project development:  How will I address extreme ideologies of violence?

Unit 4:  Practical Skills for Nonviolent Living

Participants will learn about and explore:

  • 5 skill sets for personal, interpersonal and social engagemP1010979ent in nonviolent communication
  • Individual principles which support nonviolent living and communication
  • Spiritual practices to sustain nonviolent living and communication

Unit 5:  Next steps for Personal and Project Development

Participants will be invited to:

  • Engage with a nonviolent self-organising process (Open Space Technology)
  • Begin to create projects designed to increase the capacity of their local communities to provide alternatives to violence
  • Begin to organise networks of support and ongoing learning with each other in preparation for the design of Module 2