Global Peace Workshop,
1-5 July, 2013 Trabzon, Turkey.70 activists & peace practitioners
By Aya Chebbi
We were over 70 youths and professionals from 47 different countries including countries such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine and Israel. During this 5-day workshop, as conflict, crisis and disaster academics, practitioners, consultants, activists and students, we looked beyond dominant theories relating to youth in conflict and explored the challenges of youth exclusion from peace-building activities and decision making. As such, the basis, rationale and formation process of young people’s relationships with societal structures and negotiation both through established and unconventional means, and how this impact on peace processes in contested and divided places were practically discussed and examined.
After the opening ceremony, we have been divided into three groups: “Peace by Established means”, “Peace by Virtual means” and “Peace by No means”. I have joined the workshop stream with the theme; “Peace by virtual means”. A facilitator from Nigeria led the workshop with contributions from professors in conflict management from the United Kingdom, Israel and Turkey. We focused on collective action of young people in maximizing the use of all existing virtual tools and distinguishing “good practice” of this medium from its “best practice”. We explored how youth can use technology as a tool for collective action and a means for achieving their peace-building and social change goals, particularly in zones of conflict, social and political contestation.
It was a great opportunity to share the Peace Revolution Model of “the Self-Development Program” using virtual means to contribute to sustainable peace. I have also brought to the discussion the role of meditation in peace-building, which is not always spiritual as some of the participants assume.
At the plenary session of the last day of the workshop, I presented with few team members the digital tools and techniques to use for peace work.