September 15-23, 2017 in The Netherlands
Participating countries: Egypt, Palestine (OPT), Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Romania, Germany, The Netherlands.
Towards a Nonviolent World’s Learning Peace is a program for youth workers to acquire knowledge, insights and professional skills in nonviolent conflict transformation and peacebuilding, by non-formal participatory learning processes. The ‘power’ of this training is that it both explores violence (the problems) and nonviolence (many creative solutions).
Participants will learn what we call “Empathy Activism“: meaning activism that is guided by empathy, the ability to sense people’s feelings and understand their actions. This is a crucial skill neglected in our education and society and increasingly undermined by groups of people that blame and insult each other publicly, including politicians. Instead of ‘freedom of expression’, and being ‘right’, we want to focus on how we phrase ourselves, what is needed to understand each other and to disagree respectfully, as well as work together to overcome oppression. We hope the participants become ‘Empathy Activists’, and change their attitude towards the supposed ‘effectiveness’ and ‘necessity’ of violence, becoming more compassionate, sensitive and skilled to transform conflicts and actively engage themselves in local and international contexts.
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
We seek to empower youth workers by knowledge, skills and insights, so they can prevent escalation of violence, transform conflicts and engage in peaceful interactions and relations, creating a support network of like-minded friends. This aim is achieved by our objectives:
1. To increase knowledge, awareness and activism on violence and nonviolence, peacebuilding and conflict transformation, by actively engaging them with several relevant key ideas and models,
2. To develop skills through practicing innovative conflict transformation, effective communication, role-plays of nonviolent actions, analysing and strategizing.
3. To provide the necessary input and inter-cultural setting to impact youth worker’s beliefs and behaviours, so they can respond to challenges they face in their work, preventing violent escalation, and extremism of any type, constructively transforming conflict, and building peaceful relationships.
4. To lay the foundation of professionalism and international collaboration in the field of youth work, by networking, collaborating across cultural or ideological differences, and exchanging a diverse range of expertise and best practices.
We chose to work with youth workers (age: 21 years and older), by which we understand social workers, group leaders, teachers, trainers, facilitators, activists etc., who can impact youth directly, or indirectly through policy, advocacy, lobbying, or research. This is an important target group, because we believe they are key-actors in reaching the younger generation and multiplying the knowledge and skills they will acquire during the activity.
We select participants together with the Partner Organizations in the participating countries. Preferably people are connected to these organizations, so that we can build a sustainable network, but exceptions can be made. The application form was closed on the 1st of August.
Knowledge: participants will have a deeper understanding of violence and nonviolence, peacebuilding and conflict transformation. More specifically, they will learn about the Violence and Peace Triangles, the impact of privilege in terms of class, gender, ethnicity, communication models/principles, several research results from nonviolent regime changes and civic participation campaigns, violent extremism, empathy and meditation. Examples of nonviolent social movements, as well as examples of how the Erasmus+ programme can nurture a positive, nonviolent engagement in a highly volatile, diverse and changing society.
Skills: participants will gain the following key skills: AWARENESS; by providing instruments for self reflection on their ways of dealing with conflict and beliefs about violence and nonviolence (e.g. justifications and disbelieves) CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION; by engaging them in empathy experiments, providing practice in intercultural and interreligious dialogue, Non-Violent Communication and other models and role-plays of nonviolent actions. ANALYSIS: by offering tools to analyze violence and conflict and develop nonviolent strategies to address them. CIVIC COMPETENCES and INITIATIVE: by actively engaging others for social change and learning about strategy.
Attitude: by giving the input described above and the time to practice, participants develop an increased ability and inclination to act with EMPATHY, COMPASSION, and (cultural) SENSITIVITY (being aware of and respecting cultural differences, and recognizing the commonalities), a tendency to engage in respectful DIALOGUE, a positive attitude towards joint PROBLEM-SOLVING, and motivation to become ACTIVE CITIZENS.
During the program we facilitate networking, cooperation and exchange of a diverse range of expertise and best practices, creating a synergy of knowledge. Participants built a professional network, that will enable future international collaboration and further professional development.
The program (still subjected to changes) can be downloaded from here.