Why 'Petra'?


The word Petra is a perfect fit for the concept of resilience which is the reason Petra Peacebuilders exists.


In Greek, petros means a single stone; insecure, shifting, rolling. Petra, however, means a mass of connected rock, a solid, fused formation. As an organization, Petra Peacebuilders exists to form precisely such a community of individual stones who together become an immovable and enduring force of unshakable resilience in the face of today's worst global threats.

Petra is also a location in Jordan, a strong, fortress-like structure in a desert climate which apparently has a built-in watering system. The ancient watering system at Petra was apparently sufficient to keep an entire community thriving even in desert conditions.

Metaphorically speaking, this self-watering is exactly what Petra Peacebuilders produces in the peacebuilders we serve.


A certain reference from the life of Jesus of Nazareth and his disciple Peter (Petros) is also pertinent: After a particularly difficult and humbling experience, Peter was told by Jesus, "And after you've fallen, strengthen your brothers."

Petra Peacebuilders is comprised of experienced peacebuilders who know first-hand how tough the field is. We aren't superheroes; we've suffered hard personal challenges and we are honest with ourselves and with those in our circles about the hard realities of the field.

Our honesty about the realities due to having "fallen" actually puts us in the perfect position to strengthen those who are suffering from the same (very typical) symptoms related to trauma, burnout, depression, anxiety and other common plagues of the global humanitarian sector.

Here at Petra, we affirm that those people who are the best kind of peacebuilders—compassionate, self-sacrificing, and committed to reconciliation and/or social justice at great personal cost—are also the most likely to suffer the negative effects of this type of work. If this is true, then these people need a safe place to be themselves, with their tough issues at the forefront, where they can freely and openly process within a community where they are inherently understood. Petra Peacebuilders is a community where we are privileged to strengthen our sisters and brothers.