If you asked people about Berlin, you would probably hear about “concrete walls”, the TV tower and Alexa, the famous shopping centre. In reality, Berlin is more than the TV tower and the Wall. They both represent the time when the lack of peace and freedom of innocent people was an essential part of everyday life. It was a time of struggle for human rights and tearing down the Wall was a venture of the people looking for freedom and dignity. For that reason, Berlin was chosen as the location where the 2nd Peace Work Institute session was held, including 30 young people from 15 European countries who got inspired and empowered for peace work in their communities.
Peace Work Institute – session 2, was held from 12 November until 18 November 2017. During that week, various sessions and workshops have been conducted in order to build a network of young people who are going to promote peace culture and make change in their communities. Participants attended a presentation about the “Do no harm” framework, which is widely recognized as an effective tool for analysing the impact of assistance on conflict.
Moreover, the participants even applied the knowledge they acquired during the project planning which was done in three tandem groups. Each of the groups developed a project on a different topic, applying the “Do no harm” approach. All of the participants agreed on the importance of this experience, mostly because they were given an opportunity to be creative, share their opinions and ideas and simply to be listened to. Finally, it felt wonderful to see the outcomes of the effort the participants invested, which are going to be realised during 2018. The participants were also involved in various carefully chosen games and other activities. Amazingly, each of them found its way to inspire participants in order to embrace this new way of thinking, where peace has a main role.
Although the sessions itself were well-structured, informative and inspiring, the most valuable thing about this project were the people who participated, starting from the organizers, the guests who made a huge contribution and the participants. It is probably due to this spectacular feeling you have when you have another opportunity to see the same group of people you enjoyed working with last time. What is more, Berlin itself added some new sentiments, with its meaning and everything it represents – hope, because walls can be torn down and bridges can be built, both in people’s minds and hearts.
By Josipa Erdesi – Croatia