An international ecumenical churches' delegation led by the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia, has visited Nicaragua to support work for peace and justice in one of the world's poorest countries.
The trip, from 2-5 November 2008, combined a visit by the general secretary to WCC member churches in Nicaragua with an ecumenical solidarity visit within the framework of the Living Letters initiative of the Decade to Overcome Violence. It included events in the capital city Managua, Puerto Cabezas on the Atlantic coast, and Granada.
Nicaragua is trying to recover from years of war and underdevelopment. A series of corrupt regimes tied to international business interests succeeded the Sandinista government that overthrew the former Somoza dictatorship, when the FSLN was voted out of power in 1990.
Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was re-elected president in late 2006, on a considerably modified social democratic programme.
Dr Kobia and the ecumenical delegation participated in a Theological Forum on ecumenism and overcoming violence in Central America, and in ecumenical celebrations and meetings with church leaders, ecumenical organizations and representatives of civil society and government.
On Tuesday evening, 4 November, Dr Kobia was presented with the Martin Luther King Order of Peace award by the Martin Luther King Institute at the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua. The Institute, which this year celebrates its 15th anniversary, played an active role in the process that led to the United Nations General Assembly proclaiming 2009 the International Year of Reconciliation.
The ecumenical delegation travelled to Nicaragua as a Living Letters delegation to communicate solidarity from the WCC community, which includes 349 churches throughout the world. The visit of the Living Letters delegation takes place in the context of the Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010 and in preparation for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, in Jamaica, May 2011.
In Britain, the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (NSC) is continuing its efforts to support the process of social change in Nicaragua, and it is seeking both further members and more funds for its work. See: http://www.nicaraguasc.org.uk/