Christian Wolo Bethelson

About Christian Bethleson

Former Liberian Rebel General Christian Wolo Bethelson has found a way to live with the traumatic impact of war and to reconcile with his enemies. He is convinced of the power of mindfulness to transform even the most difficult mind states. He is now a passionate peace builder mentoring former child soldiers, and helping communities to cultivate peace.

Areas of interest

  • Mindfulness
  • Peace Building and Reconciliation
  • Community Empowerment
  • Organic Farming

More Info

Christian Wolo Bethelson spent 27 years in the Liberian National Army and was chosen as one of President Samuel Doe’s personal bodyguards. When Charles Taylor took power, Bethelson was imprisoned and tortured. When he was released, he joined the LURD rebel forces and fought under the name of General Leopard.

After the 14-year civil war ended, like many ex-combatants, the shame he suffered and the rejection from his society caused him great distress. Out of work and with no other alternatives, he decided to offer his services to fight in neighboring Ivory Coast. He was on his way there when he happened to meet members of the newly formed NGO, Everyday Gandhis, who invited Bethelson to join their peace building efforts. He has firmly dedicated his life to peace and is now a passionate peacebuilder mentoring former child soldiers, some of whom he commanded during the war.

Bethelson has found a way to live with the traumatic impact of war and to reconcile with his enemies. He is convinced of the power of mindfulness to transform even the most difficult mind states.

Bethelson will be coming to Cardiff with Harper Karmon. Harper is a social worker, community organiser, peacebuilder and General Manager of the Peace Hut Alliance for Conflict Transformation with Alliance for the Earth – which has (so far) constructed three peace huts in three counties in Liberia. The work centres around peace and reconciliation, but also public health initiatives. Both Harper and Christian were active in the Ebola Crisis.

Harper travels all over Liberia mobilising communities in peace building and organising trainings to empower women, and teach former combatants the skills of conflict resolution inside the Peace Huts. During the war, Harper was a proud supporter of the Liberian Women’s Mass Action for Peace (headed by Nobel peace prize winner, Leymah Gbowee) and stood firmly with them, praying and fasting for the country and demanding a cease fire and mediation between the warring factions. As a filmmaker, he documented their activities in the sun and rain, day after day.

Harper is a trained nurse with an interest in the environment who majored in Forestry Management at the University of Liberia. He became a trainer in peace building, conflict transformation and reconciliation for the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Program (THRP) where he also served as head of the social workers on a special psychosocial intervention project for Ivorian Refugees in Nimba County. Both Harper and Christian live with their families in Monrovia, where they work together with the formidable Annie Nushan on Peace Hut Alliance.

This is a wonderful opportunity to hear about how mindfulness is working together with public health and community empowerment to practically improve the lives of people impacted by violence, poverty and war.

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