From November 12 to 18, 2017, the second seminar of the Peace Work Institute took place in Berlin. In April, approximately 30 participants from about 15 (mostly) European countries had already met for the start of the project in Tiblisi, Georgia. (Read more about)
In the “Roots for Reconciliation” program initiated by YMCA Europe, young adults deal with the topic of “peace” in various contexts.
During the first session in April the topics ‘critical thinking’, ‘digital activism’ or ‘conflict analysis’ were discussed. To deepen this knowledge further related topics were discussed in the second session (e.g. ‘digital campaign work’). In addition, the ‘Do No Harm Approach’ was presented by Dr. Wolfgang Heinrich.
In the coming year, further events will be held on topics related to peace work, all designed by the participants. The time in Berlin was also used to work on these upcoming projects. There will be a camp dealing with the topic “art for peace” in Georgia and a session about “digital activism” in Budapest or Strasbourg. In addition, the seminar “Who am I and who are we?” is planned to deal with different perspectives on nationalistic trends in several countries. It is planned for September 2018 in Germany. Further information will be announced.
The participants also got to know the host city of Berlin in a broad perspective by visiting the Church of Reconciliation located in Bernauer Strasse, the associated documentation center, the Holocaust Memorial as well as the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. There were other activities enriching the program like a German-European evening, during which we were joined by some of the volunteers from YMCA Berlin. In addition, every day began with a short input called “message of the day” in which the participants presented inspirational stories, quotes and videos. As a special guest, Mike Will, President of YMCA Europe, accompanied the graduation evening and handed over the certificates of participation.
By Silke Bölts, YMCA Germany