The Peace Work Institute – within the YMCA Europe Rots for Reconciliation project was a series of 3 one-week-long residential training sessions. The first session was held in Istanbul October 2012), second in Yerevan (June 2013) and the last one in Strasbourg (December 2013). The aim of the Peace Work Institute predominantly was in line with the second outcome indicator of the Roots for Reconciliation project, which is: empowering youth opinion leaders coming from conflict-affected areas of Europe to act for change in their sending organisations and respective communities as multipliers of peace culture and cross-border dialogue.
The aim of the Peace Work Institute alumni Reunion was to be a relevant concluding activity within the scheme, where the results are evaluated and best practises shared. On the other hand, in our vision, this event have bridged the Peace Work Institute with the Roots for Reconciliation Outcome Evaluation and Impact Assessment process, serving as a planning workshop for it, as well as key data collection and focus group forum.
The whole Peace Work Institute was designed as an experiential learning scheme. The knowledge, skills and attitude gained by the participants at the residential sessions were put into practice through homework tasks and by the follow-up projects. During the session, variety of educational tools have been applied when delivering the training modules, including plenary inputs and discussion, small group discussions and exercises, games and role plays, personal reflections and individual work, evaluations, etc.
During the PWI Alumni Reunion session, the following activities were delivered:
1. The PWI and Tandem Grant projects evaluation workshop as integral part of the overall project outcome evaluation and impact assessment process. To achieve the best results, the preparatory team prepared homework for the participants prior to the session itself.
2. The presentation of the PWI curriculum, and the Safe Space approach. This was the main deliverable and heritage of our PWI pilot scheme to be transferred to the next PWI generations.
3. Workshops on Digital Activism Plan (with focus on social media as a powerful tool, promoting mutual- awareness and respect, peace culture and dialogue ) as a step forward for the new actions and activities of the graduates and as base for further actions of the next PWI generations.
This week helped to understand the feelings of different people (different nationalities) who are in the conflict situations. By building the cross – border communication we come to understandings of the realities and new ideas of cooperation’s between nations/countries/NGOs.
I’ve personally been inspired by the individual stories and YMCA movements activities. They give me motivations to deeper my involvement in the NGO sector and shine a light on the materialistic of commercial sphere I live in. The program and people in it inspired me to think about where I would like to focus my work on and reset my life goals.
Making a change isn’t that easy and it requires effort. And I worked from that model of reality. Being more informed about objective of the YMCA RfR, I managed to implement some of my new acquired skills in my organisation. I gave my suggestions to others and they found it interesting and applicable. I started to work on the topic of peace and I realised that making a change isn’t that easy and it will require effort.
YMCA gave me the opportunity to enter into a world surrounding with the words of peace, love, patient and solutions in the conflicts all the countries faced.