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"The Art of Conflict Transformation" - Training Course in the Netherlands

Sa. 22nd of August, Day of Arrival

Impression of today by Arian (Albania)

"It is always interesting to get to know people. But there are different levels of knowing. What I mean: People at this training go easily along with each other. It fulfils the mission of this training. However there are still borders. We were talking about stereotypes this afternoon. One very severe one is missing: People of a whole country are stereotyped as well. For instance, an Albanian single young person is supposed to smuggle into Europe. You have to prove your commitment to those who issue the visa.

The YiA programme is offering young people to learn more about the Mosaik of countries in Europe. Experiencing this, I see a contradiction between the ideals of YiA and the current European foreign policy."



So. 23rd of August, Group Building

The day before some special groups were formed to create a comfortable environment for us, participants. So the Morning Team (Jasper) shared a poem to let us think a little bit of the unforeseen things in life.

Am I suspicious enough of what I think of me, my goals or other people?

Prejudices and stereotypes dominate my picture of other people when I meet them the first time. Why is that?

We thought, played, discussed and planned the whole day trying to figure out how conflicts arise, how we work as a team and how much we are influenced by our surroundings.

But this was not all. We also experienced that we can find so many similarities among people from different countries. The concept of “intercultural learning” helped us figuring it out while having a private chat with a person from another country. So many surprises.

We will keep the experiences we made as an enrichment from this day of the seminar.

Let us wait for tomorrow. I am looking forward for sure.

(by Susanne, Germany)

 

 

 

Mo. 24th of August, Conflict De-escalation/Understanding Conflict

Today for some it was a bit hard to stand up. The intercultural night left some traces. I think nobody will leave the Netherlands not knowing how to pronounce "Gert" the right way. The language class by professora Eve really helped it to speak this Dutchy "G" what remembers more on an agressive dog. I was very wondering how our fellows from the Balkans easily can go along with each other. At least it appears this way. They take it with humor. It is just politicians and leaders but not the people. It is really one of the deepest impressions I have that we are all usual young people. Everybody with common needs, desires and perceptions how the world of tomorrow should look like.

We got some input by an expert working in the conflict zone Congo. It is not always easy to establish sustainably a peaceful trustable environment to solve conflicts. Sometimes even the NGO works in the field doubts. To deep is the pain in people's hearts and so large is the anger about what happened. To bring all the parties on one table, to invite villagers as much as possible from revealing tribes to start communication. Even though victims just scream out their pain to each other. At least they had the possibility to speak out as a first step to step back from the stairs of escalation of conflicts.

Especially when we were devided into groups to map conflicts and to portrait possible ways to resolve conflicts, interpersonal conflicts raised. Actually the way to achieve the goal of finding solutions itself was in some cases full of conflicts where methods of de-escalation could have been tried out.

For me personally the scene of a movie was really touchy I couldn't nearly hold back tears. It was really intense to see the mime and body language of the actors.

Roland Bege (German Participant)

Interview with Artan (Kosovo) was caught him waiting for the sunset to start to eat (Ramadan)

Roland: Tell me something you want to share with your fellows. What you liked.

Artan: [In the last workshop conflict discussion/transformation] it felt very good. We were a group of five from different countries. Sometimes you gain some insights of things we have not been aware before when you talk with people with different perspectives, with different level of involvement into a conflict. They ask simple questions about the conflict so you by yourself realize something about it and bring it down to a basic level.

Roland: What do you think about the Congo presentation?

Artan: You can distinguish parts of the conflict in general with other ones. You can relate them.

Roland: In relation to the Balkan region, were you are from?

Artan: Folk groups live excluded from each other. At the same time the people want to have a better life. However, at the end it is a business thing for more power. Civilians very easily jump into the footsteps of their leaders. At the end it is not profitable for themselves.

Roland: Well, it might be also a matter of information. If they just get the “information” of only one side in the media. I mean propaganda. They might not have another choice. How did the conflict in Congo touch you?

Artan: 5 Million dead people in ten years are a lot. It is double the population of Kosovo.

Roland: When you heard this number, what did you feel?

Artan: It is just a number at the first stage. You do not feel their fate. There is so much pain to face the number, so you block the feeling that might come. There is no family where there has been killed nobody. The people left are suffering. It might come to 100 Million people. That makes you think about human nature.

Roland: Is there something you want to add?

Artan: I am impressed how easily I can joke with the Slovenian girls. We have so much in common. I think there is so much similar in the Balkan countries. Parts of people’s identity should not be suppressed. Otherwise societies might face different repercussions from not speaking freely about it.

Roland: Thank you.

Artan: No. Thank you.

Tue. 25th of August, Approaches to Conflict

Interview with Kerstin (Germany from gKJHG "Roter Baum" mbH)

I caught her sitting on the stairs in the lobby checking emails.

Roland: What did you like at this training?

Kerstin: It was a nice, exiting method [in couples, one was blind analysing the personal item of the opposite person just listening]. You were completely by your alone not knowing and seeing the opposite person while touching and analysing his personal object. Without any influence from the outside. I just felt the game. I realized how many prejudices I have about the other person while just analysing something personal. I tried to put myself into the other person. I described rather intensively. Afterwards it was somehow deflating to listen to the real story behind.

Roland: How was it, when your object got analysed?

Kerstin: I felt really well understood.

Roland: What do you think about this training, about the people?

Kerstin: It is a great opportunity to meet people from so many countries with different perceptions. And seeing how similar we all are in Europe in the way we recognize and interpretate situations. There are different needs which in some sense are the same. The differences in its extent are comparable to a city like Dresden where I am from. The interpersonal interactions play an important role. Intercultural conflicts are hardly visible.

Roland: What have you personally gained so far?

Kerstin: I like it to be here. I enjoy it. For myself, each self-reflection helps to grow on personal level which is also useful for my work. Non-formal learning works!

Roland: How does self-reflection change your perception?

Kerstin: The discussion about a personal conflict confirmed me to be on the right track. I will face conflicts straighter. It would have helped much more in the past to solve interpersonal conflicts.

Roland: Thank you for you time.

Kerstin: Welcome.


© 2008 Youth for Exchange and Unity