Conflict constitutes an inherent part of human experience, and therefore, being able to tackle it peacefully and constructively is an essential skill calling for a lifelong practice. Home to an exceptionally diverse population, Geneva presents a unique context to advance and develop peace education practices in a region of experienced tranquillity, showcasing the relevance of peace education within all contexts worldwide with the purpose of stimulating its replication and diffusion more broadly.
These considerations have inspired UNITAR and Aegis Trust to join forces in a unique methodological solution for adult peace education training, including young adults. This year, we are taking Geneva Peace Week out of conventional locations and mobilizing the whole spectrum of willing and capable actors to promote peace education in various formats around the city. By “mobilizing” we mean not only instilling the necessary momentum but also – and importantly – providing our partners with some starting capacities and inspiration for an impactful change.
The broader far-reaching vision behind the Initiative is an aspiration to encourage a city-wide dialogue around the issues of diversity, tolerance, conflicting memories and identities, inclusivity, and solidarity, among else. Based upon participatory approaches and design thinking, the methodology proposed by UNITAR helps achieve the following aims:
- identify pressing issues related to peaceful co-existence, conflict resolution and integration, which are specific for the Geneva community;
- re-consider diversity with the aim to start regarding it not as a problem but as a solution for these and other issues;
- promote system thinking and knowledge sharing;
- ensure multiplication of knowledge and skills in the area of peace education;
- create a multi-sector coalition/network of relevant actors from the education system, academia, civil society and business, among else.
UNITAR’s core aspiration is to use the Peace Week 2018 as an enabler for the subsequent on-going practice of promoting and developing peace education in a synchronized and collaborative manner. In prospect, the message conveyed by this concerted local effort is expected to resonate within other locations/communities outside Geneva and ultimately Switzerland.
The “Capital of Peace” initiative is conceived to unfold in 3 phases:
1. UNITAR-Aegis Trust-facilitated whole-day interactive workshops with nominated members of interested institutions (in English) – 3 & 4 October, 2018 – International Environmental House 2 (Chemin de Balexert 7 – 9), rooms Inn and Tessin, ground floor
Designed and delivered in the format of training of trainers (ToT), the workshops focused on the personal skills needed for and methods of mainstreaming conflict sensitivity, prevention and management within various institutional settings and contexts. The approach prioritized the focus on the exploration of the immediate individual surrounding, including the closest social groups of family, friends and colleagues, as well as of the inner personal dynamics. In the course of these one-day trainings, participants also learnt how to act as multipliers and share their knowledge in an effective, pedagogically advanced and innovative fashion. The audience included personnel of international, national and local governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions; high schools students and their teachers; and the academic community.
2. Independent trainings facilitated by partnering institutions – participants in the UNITAR workshops of the 1st phase – October 2018 – various locations
Equipped with knowledge and the necessary printed and digital material, participats were invited to:
- Deliver at least one two-hour peace education training at the location and for the audience of their own choice: colleagues, other institutional bodies, educational institutions etc. – wherever they perceive there is a need for this.
- Visit the exhibition “Education for Peace: Preventing Genocide at Its Roots” as part of the training.
This exercise is intended to both practice the newly gained skills and set up the process of multiplication of knowledge and peacefulness in our community.
3. Closing debriefing session & discussion – 9 November, 2018, 14.30h-15.45h – Palais des Nations, room XI (build.A, 3rd floor)
Relying on the package of materials produced during the 1st and specifically the 2nd phases, UNITAR will use the opportunity provided by Geneva Peace Week to address a broader public in order to raise awareness about the existent challenges, the associated demand for peace education and the ways to meet it. to meet it. The format will include a summary of the Exhibition 'Education for Peace: Preventing Genocide at Its Roots', the Training of Trainers workshops as well as a debrief from those who multiplied those workshops. It will also include an open discussion on challenges and possibilities of peace education as well as an interactive and experiential activity taken from the peace education material. To access the Palais des Nations on the day, please register here.*
*One registration allows participants to attend all the events listed on the official Geneva Peace Week programme.