Hi, this is Rachel in Strasbourg at the third and final session of the Peace Work Institute. A programme ran by YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation programme. So we are coming to the end of the first full day, we, the planning team, have welcomed participants from 14 countries, launched the session into full swing and started to get down to work.


I arrived on Saturday and while the participants were arriving on Sunday, the planning team were busy making the final preparations to the programme. I think I speak for all of us, Dorina, Vardan, Rezi, Marius, Ankica and Ivana, were all really excited about the programme. It has been a long time planning with meetings in Prague (August, yes, at the festival) and Strasbourg (in September) with Skype meetings between now and September. But we are now here, and so are the participants so it is time to start reaping the rewards of all the work and, hopefully, have a successful session.

Today has gone to plan. We have had a lot of fun, interactive learning with a lot of laughter coming from the room! There is a point to the fun stuff, I promise. With later in the week some emotive conversations needed, it was felt that we needed to bring the group together…what better way to do it than with laughter hey? Plenty of fun and games with lots of different team games, introduction to the Council of Europe through a quiz followed by a self reflection exercise to share why we are here, why we do what we do, why we do peace work with others in our group. This self reflection was done with an exercise called River of Life, where the participants and facilitators will reflect on their life and identify the key points in their life that motivate them to do the work we are doing here; peace! It was powerful stuff, the energy in the room was, almost, electric. There was so much emotion put into the session that you could feel it in the air surrounding everyone.

As I sit in the European Center of Youth surrounded by participants, no, friends, talking, having a drink while other participants are off enjoying the city. I wait for 8pm to come so that I can have a skype meeting about the GLYN conference in January. It is a pleasure to be surrounded by so many like minded people, to feel at home in a country where none of us are from, to feel happy, to be at peace.

Author: Rachel Dyne

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