Thanks to the continued cooperation of the Chair of International Relations at FSU, Corridors - Dialogue Through Cooperation External link, and Sciences Po Paris the Corridors Summer School – Strengthening Peace Education Capacities in the Caucasus – was once again possible. From August 14-19, 23 young people from Georgia/Abkhazia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Lebanon, and Iraq traveled to Blossin, Germany to learn about peacebuilding, dialogue, conflict transformation, and inner peace. Throughout the week, participants reflected on the question: how can I contribute to the peace I want to see in my community?
During 90-minute training sessions, input from the trainers was paired with interactive activities and self-reflection. The week began with identifying individual understandings of peace and discussions on conflict in the Caucasus region as well as the lived experiences of participants. After the trainers had established a foundation for understanding conflict analysis, participants considered how conflict impacts their daily lives. Concepts of “peace” “conflict transformation” and “inner peace” were discussed in both theory and practice. Sessions on “people's power” and
“everyday peace indicators” challenged participants to think small and appreciate the impact of locally implemented grassroots initiatives.The group also bonded throughout the week during shared meals, and while hiking, boating, and playing games.
The tools provided during the various sessions were put into action during the final workshops. Participants brainstormed project ideas to be implemented in their local communities. Guided by the “Design for Wiser Action” framework, the self-organized groups were then tasked with developing their ideas into action plans. During this day-long process, the initiatives merged, transformed, and took various forms such as workshops, podcasts, and sport camps. While the farewell dinner marked the official end of this year's Summer School, the work is far from over. Participants are encouraged to implement their projects in their local communities with the guidance and support of the trainers and fellow participants.Identifying the root causes of conflicts and addressing these issues from the bottom up are crucial for sustainable conflict transformation. Providing young people with the capacities to implement peaceful change and address conflict within their local settings is a fundamental first step in this process.
The generous support of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in cooperation with the European Union program EU4Dialogue helped make this immersive learning experience possible. We would also like to thank the intercultural and multinational team of trainers who made the Summer School a practical example of dialogue through cooperation.