Heidi Trautmann

Elephants for Peace Gathering for a peaceful World - August 25, 2020 via Zoom

By Heidi Trautmann

 Rose Marie Gnausch, the founder of Elephants for peace, issued an invitation for a first Online Gathering on ZOOM for followers, friends and active peacemakers, for those to whom peace is a basic need. It was also to honour some of the many fellow campaigners, the ones Rose Marie has worked with during the months of December 2019 through to March 2020 and to give them an chance to speak their mind. It was a very good opportunity to meet and give a face to the Flag Bearers, those who promote peace within their community with the elephant as a symbol for peace. Please find her letter of invitation at the bottom of my text with the list of speakers.

Speakers and guests from various countries such as Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Kenya, Portugal, America, Sweden, Germany, Cyprus and others showed up in the online meeting, with Rosemarie leading the conference and her husband Peter who assisted her, also with her were her close coworkers helping to get the technical details working.


Let me introduce Rose Marie Gnausch with my own words, on the basis of her peace activities I have been following for the last 12 years, so please click on the link above.  It all started in Cyprus in 2009, an island in the Mediterranean that has been divided for 46 years, when she sent her elephants created by children and people around the world to come and stand up for peace right at and across the border between the two brother states which cannot find to each other.

I recognized some faces from Cyprus among the 35 guests in the Zoom Meeting, there was Ute Woermann, former director of the Goethe Zentrum in Nicosia who helped organizing some events and there was Hassina Nafa, member of Faculty of Architecture at GAU and a close friend of Rose Marie who one day introduced her to me.

Rose Marie introduced the speakers and friends personally and explained the individual events where they all had met and worked together.

The emphasis of the online meeting was clearly on the serious situation in the Near East, the problems between Israel and Palestine. It was good to hear that there are organisations in Israel working for peace and understanding , facts that we hardly get to hear in the media.

There was a project running beginning of March in Bethlehem to which some artists and departments from Cyprus were prepared to participate with art works, when the Corona pandemic broke out and lockdowns were proclaimed, so Rose Marie had to leave the country without delay before being restricted from flying home altogether.

While they were working in this problematic zone, another Elephants for Peace event took place in Kenya and together with some members of the YOUNIB Team Rev. Father Serge Patrick Simo spoke of the experiences they had during the workshop in Kenya and how the initiative is welcome in his community.

It was very touching to listen to the speakers, their enthusiasm and strong wish to work for peace. One of the most important prerequisites is communication, to learn from each other and about each other and to finally find a common language in order to overcome differences.

Three religious representatives were giving the meeting a thoughtful frame, a Suffi, a Rabbi and a Christian, may they all find a way worldwide to reach out to each other and teach their communities how to practice peace by showing respect for each other.

Perhaps one or the other person reading about this initiative for peace finds it worthwhile to join, teachers or private persons, associations, charity and peace groups, whatever, at the end of the text you will find the website with the history and a way to contact.

Speaking for our situation in Cyprus, I am sure that we could well make use of another train of peace elephants bringing some good will to reopen ways of communication.


Rose Marie’s invitation:

Dear Friends of Elephants for Peace,   

In this current time of tremendous change, the symbol for a Benevolent Power at the service of all seems more urgent than ever.  The elephant standing for community, sharing responsibilities, protecting the weak ones by simply shielding them from danger, ensuring harmonious life with all species and Mother Nature, a lead symbol to redirect the way we think about one another. Elephants for Peace connects all benevolent people on planet earth through the image of the elephant. Reminding us that with this vision in our hearts and the image in our head the world will be a home to all.  


List of Speakers: 

Hosted by Elephants for Peace presented by Rose Marie Gnausch  

1-Blessings from RABBI OR ZOHAR and SHEIK ESREF EFENDI - Song by RABBI Or Zohar 

2-Welcome address by DOMINICUS ROHDE, President Schengen Peace Foundation, LUXEMBOURG, ARGENTINA 

3-CARLOS PALMA, Founder and President of Living Peace 

On our long-term collaboration and the First Congress for Young Peace Ambassadors in las Matas, "Crecer como constructores de paz

Las Rozas (Madrid, España), 13-15 dec 2019 



4-VIVIANE NAHKLE, principal- Carmel School, Haifa:  on her experiences of 3 Days of Elephants for Peace Celebration, January/ February 2020 in Carmel School    https://youtu.be/p45TaOXhi9A 

5-FAIZA VIDA ALHUSSEIN, ALSAMA NGO, Feb. 2020 Shafer-Amer   experiences with the Peace Elephants in Atef Khateb, Shfa-Amer High School  

6- AIDA AWAD Head and CO-Founder of Waldorfkindergarden Shfa-Amer    

7- DIAB AKEY is director of the Waldorfschool Elshams in Shafa-Amer 

8- GEORGE RANTISI, Manager of  Annahda Women’s Association, Center for special needs, Ramallah 

9- NAJAH HAMAD, Non-violent communication Beith Sahour workshop with Elephants for Peace. Najah Hamad is a teacher in the local school and cooperates with the Red Crescent and the Local Women Council.  

I chose the powerful symbol of the elephant as my activity to inspire our society because we are in need of friendly strength, to be like elephants take care of each other in groups and in cooperation”.  Najah Hamad  

10- REV. FATHER SERGE PATRICK SIMO, priest and the YOUNIB team, Kenya, Feb.2020 on their experiences with the Elephants for Peace workshop   

11- CARLOS PALMA on our next steps and the Elephant Peace Dice  

12- REV. FATHER SERGE PATRICK SIMO Blessing Closing Prayer 


I am looking forward to a wonderful meeting,  

Rose Marie Gnausch 




Detailed introduction of our speakers: 

Music and Blessing: 

RABBI OR ZOHAR is a musician and teacher of Judaism and Kabbalah, and a Reform Jewish entrepreneurial activist. With his wife Felizia they are producing a new album as a response to the New times entitled “End of Wonders”  https://www.orandfelizamusic.com 

While in Galilei, William Nahkle and Rose Marie Gnausch went to visit the Rabbi Or in Hararit, Galilei,  spending many hours around the theme of a future collaboration.  



Sheikh Eşref Efendi is a Sufi-Master speaking on issues of faith as an official representative of Islam, authorized by the Honorable Naqshbandiyya Sufi Order. He travels to numerous countries where he delivers speeches at events and conferences. Romania, Finland, Canada, Brazil, Latin America and India have been important destinations in recent years, where he talked about the everyday practical interpretation of Islam and ways to global peace which always inspires the audience.  

His Sufi Way to Peace initiative regularly organizes charity fundraisers for those in need and travels to poor regions to meet and give hope to local people. Since 2015, Sheikh Eşref Efendi lives in Eigeltingen-Reute at Lake Constance in Germany, where he practices Sufism in his Sufi Centre "Sufiland“ with his community in daily life. He offers people his advice and guidance, regardless of their religious and cultural background. 



Words of Welcome:  

DOMINICUS H. ROHDE is  President of the Schengen Peace Foundation and the Founder of the World Peace Forum. Born in Germany, Dominicus was raised in Germany, France, and the USA. As a University student, he studied at Barcelona, Luxembourg, Oxford, Beijing, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Paris, and Bristol. He lives in Argentina and works worldwide.  

Since 2007 the Schengen Peace Foundation organizes the World Peace Forum, which gathers scholars, peace activists, executives, journalists, students, religious leaders, and politicians, as well as any citizen having an interest in participating. The Schengen Peace Foundation was initiated in 2005 as a not-for-profit charity approved by his Majesty Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg on Oct 19th, 2007.  The Foundation contributes to the construction of a more peaceful world by promoting peace, tolerance and understanding through multicultural dialogue with the help of discussions, publications, exhibits and workshops, internet platforms, encounters, exchange and education programs as well as studies about peace.  

DR. CARLOS PALMA Living Peace founder and General Coordinator of Living Peace International a project of Peace Education involving 1300 schools and Associations in 160 countries creating small and large peace projects to apply in collaboration with 70 International Peace Organizations. 

Living Peace began in 2011 in Egypt thanks to Carlos Palma, a Uruguayan teacher who, having experienced wars and conflicts in the Middle East for 25 years, wanted to find a concrete answer to the longing for peace. Therefore, Carlos Palma suggested to his students to begin each day rolling the “Dice of Peace” and to do the Time Out at noon. The mood in his class improved quickly: children began to help each other; teachers did not play favorites and sometimes they even apologized for their mistakes. This positive school climate improved everybody’s learning experience. Soon after, the whole school began using both the “Dice of Peace” and the “Time Out”. Sixty large dice and a strong desire to change education models and to open a dialog with everyone have changed the school. 

Living Peace has since grown steadily thanks to the creative contribution of all the people who have joined it and become active members. Today this project is promoted by AMU (action for a united world) an NGO and involves more than one million students from different religions and cultures. 

 http://livingpeaceinternational.org/en/the-project/living-peace-international  html 



VIVIANE NAHKLE, principal- Carmel School, Haifa 

Promoting Peace in the Middle East on a daily working a true Living Peace Ambassador  

Recipient of Ambassadeurs de la Paix, Swiss France, 2019 



FAIZA VIDA ALHUSSEIN is a former English teacher at Atef Khateh Highschool in Shfa-Amer. She holds a BA in English and Fine Arts, studied Waldorf education and Curative education.  

The Alsama Project brings the anthroposophical spirit into Gaza and the West Bank through curative education and therapeutic programs for people with different abilities. Alsama Project runs a specialized daycare center that provides curative education and therapies for people with different abilities since 2014 in Jenin. 

Alsama Founder Faiza Vida Alhusseini started this project for poor people with special needs who are not granted basic human rights such as basic health care and inclusion in the Palestine social system. 

This project aims to eliminate the stigma towards people with different abilities by providing specialized education that will enable them to be active contributors in society. With the care they experienced in Alsama, they started walking again and doing meaningful work. 

The small garden tended by the farmers at Alsama provides vegetables for people under their care. Mission 

-To help adults with different abilities reach their full potential. 

-To provide a safe, inviting home where each human being is unique and has a right to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life regardless of disability, race, and religious background. 

-To enhance the curriculum through an anthroposophical approach that offers opportunities for differently abled individuals to participate in social activities, cultural programs, and sports. 

-To incorporate the value of work through candle-making, soap production, and crafts. 

-To showcase their work to the local community by selling their products in local markets and bazaars. 

They also envision to have a cultural and professional exchange among educators and volunteers from nearby communities and abroad, all aimed at raising consciousness that is based on human dignity, moral integrity, and basic human rights. 

Video on Alsama: 




AIDA AWAD  Head  of the Waldorfkindergarden  Elshams  Shfa-Amer. The Kindergarden has 100 children.  She is member of the Inter-Sufi Initiative group for Kindergardens.  Aida Awad had been a Kindergarden teacher in Jaffa before taking position in Shaf Amer. She was a teacher forArabic  in Matsuba Hebrew School.  http://waldrof2.ravpage.co.il/shafaamer 


DIAB AKEY  is director of the first Arabic Waldorfschool Elshams in Israel he supports the peace activities and was present during the Elephants for Peace workshop. The Waldorfschool has currently 241 children and 26 teachers. 


GEORGE RANTISI  Manager of the Annahda Women’s Association, Center for special needs, Ramallah. The center has a professional wood and print workshop where the former students can work and earn a living. The workshop produces beautiful toys in wood and many other educational items. For our visit, the students had produced a hundred cut out elephants.  


NAJAH HAMAD, Non-violent communication Beith Sahour workshop with Elephants for Peace. Najah Hamad is a teacher in the local school and cooperates with the Red Crescent and the Local Women Council of young women in their 20ties. “I chose the powerful symbol of the elephant as my activity to inspire our society because we are in need of friendly strength, to be like elephants take care of each other in groups and in cooperation”.  




In his own words, email received Feb. 22, 2020 

These drawings were done by Street children (Street children are poor and homeless children who live on the streets. Many of them were rescued from streets; for some their parents were found dead because of being murdered and for many other reasons). The YOUNIB (YOUTH NETWORK FOR INTERRELIGIOUS BROTHERHOOD) has organized several activities to bring them to rehabilitation centers where they can be well educated like other children and to have a chance to have a home where they can feel loved. 

Responding positively to the initiative entitled “Elephants for peace” and promoted by Elephants for Peace and Living Peace International, an activity was organized with street children in rehabilitation center in Nairobi-Kayole. In line with Elephant for peace and living peace international, the goals were to have a deeper understanding of the values typical of peace; to work to build peace; Show that we wish for peace in our highly problematic and controversial global context; to Improve our teamwork ability and respect for each other; to develop creativity; to develop friendly relationships among people. 

In the photos found in the gallery, we can see how the little ones despite their painful backgrounds came joyfully together to draw elephants which are a symbol of peace, a mix of strength and peace. Each child drew and decorated an elephant according to his/her ability, to his/her age, respecting each other; and all this under the guidance of the YOUNIB ANIMATORS. The result of this was so amazing. 

May God bless us all so that we may all be peacemakers and peacekeepers. The smile on the face of these kids was an expression of gratitude to LIVING PEACE INTERNATIONAL AND ELEPHANT FOR PEACE. 

Thank you so much! 


For the YOUNIB 

Rev. Father Serge Patrick Simo, priest 




Meetings in 2020 for future collaboration took place with:  

a- Rabbi Or Zohar, Hararit While in Galilei, William Nahkle and Rose Marie Gnausch went to visit the Rabbi Or in Hararit, spending many hours around the theme of a future collaboration in Hararit 


b-Roots visit of Ina Darmstaedter and Rose Marie Gnausch presenting and discussing future initiatives 


c- at Ein Bustan with Gal Mosen:  meeting of William Nahkle and Rose Marie Gnausch with Administrative Manager and Gal Mosen, photographer 

Ein Bustan is a Jewish-Arab non-profit organization for social change that works in the field of bilingual and multicultural education, based on the principles of Waldorf education. The association's goal is to bring people together and to serve as a bridge between the Arab and Jewish neighboring populations, to build together a society based on shared life and peace. The organization was established in 2005 by Jewish and Arab parents from neighboring communities in the Lower Galilee, and it provides an opportunity for the children of both peoples to get to know, respect and interact with one another from an early age. “We share our languages and cultures and regard our differences as a resource and an opportunity for enrichment and learning, and not as a source of conflict.” The members of Ein Bustan's association share a social vision in which Jews and Arabs live together in equality, peace, and mutual understanding. Creating such a reality is achieved by sharing each other's languages and cultures, and regarding the differences between us as a resource and an opportunity for enrichment and learning rather than as a source of conflict. 

36011 Maayan Babustan, POB 206, Kiryat Tivon 36011 ISRAEL Ph.972-53-3657027 (Adi) www.ein-bustan.org info@ein-bustan.org https://www.facebook.com/EinBustan 


d- Zelda Harris, journalist, Tel Aviv our biggest support in Tel Aviv and wonderful host!  


f-George Rantisi discussion on further collaboration on the production of the wood and print workshop 


g-Suzan Sahori Executive Director,  Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans  www.bethlehemfairtrade.org   info@bethlehemfairtrade.org 

Our wonderful host in Beith Sahour and enormous support for the peace festival in preparation with Ina Darmstaedter 


h- INA DARMSTAEDTER invited Elephants for Peace to join the Peace Festival in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Ina has prepared for years a Peace Event in Jerusalem, which was planned for March 8, 2020. Due to the current situation the Event was postponed. During my stay in Beith Sahour Ina introduced me to many peace makers of the region and many inspiring preparatory meetings took place. In our current Conference Gathering for a Peaceful World Najadh Hamad is one of them. Ina Darmstaedter and Suzan Sahori have worked for many years preparing the postponed Peace Events.   


Elephants for Peace: Gathering of a Peaceful World is organized and chaired by: 

ROSE MARIE GNAUSCH founder of Elephants for Peace. She is an artist and art historian born into West Germany with a family split in half through the Iron Curtain. In her childhood she could experience how easy it is to divide people and families and to reunite a long and hurdle some way. She studied Fine Arts in France and Art History in New York City.  She works and collaborates as an artist and art historian worldwide. www.gnausch.net 


“Elephants for Peace” is a global participatory art movement 

Envisioned in Berlin in 2002 to empower the individual to believe in peaceful power. Despite its majestic size and power, the elephant leads, and rules yet shares and cares for the Other.  


By changing the inner image of a world ruled by fight or flight we can introduce another reality into the existing one. It helps to realize that the peaceful majority exists and then does remove many obstacles in our life and creates a meaningful live of caring and sharing for all.  






Elephants for Peace 2008-2018 

Elephants for Peace.Born in Berlin in 2002, implemented in Cyprus 2009 is a participatory art movement for Peace. It unites Power with Peace and reveals the ...www.youtube.com 



Elephants for Peace Community e.V. (NGO) 

President: Rose Marie Gnausch. Vice: Andrea Horstmann. Treasurer: Joachim Richter.  

Mail: participate@elephantsforpeace.com- www.elephantsforpeace.com 

Donation account: Sparkasse Mittelmosel IBAN: DE84 5875 1230 0032 2935 99 BIC: MALADE51BKS  







Screen image of the Zoom Meeting
Screen image of the Zoom Meeting

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