• War is sooo yesterday! Let's make peace the hottest trend this season.

    In May, this year's Peace Messengers beginner's training was hosted by Utilapu and took place in Budapest with prep team and trainers from Hungary, France and Austria.

    The participants practised facilitation, learned how to create and run their own workshops, discussed about peace in general and in their own countries, and fought the cold and rainy weather by creating a warm and creative atmosphere.

    On the first day of the seminar the participants got an introduction into peace and also shared their ideas on peace in their life - to connect to the rather huge, complex and abstract looking term "peace".

    The silent discussions, stimulated by peace quotes, were quite controversial, and created some nice new peace quotes as well:

    "A war is a means for reaching peace"

    -> "No, peace is a mean for war exclusion", "No, war only leads to more war or at least more conflicts", "the theory is different from what they are thinking", "Bombing for peace is like screaming for silence", "a war leads nowhere but it doesn't begin spontaneously, there is always a reason", "war is a mean for the weapon industry to make big money" -> "certainly, but not in a peace way :-( "War is sooooo yesterday, But some of the people are still out-of-fashion" -> "It depends on what kind of war you are thinking about, some conflicts cannot be overcome or escaped" -> "why? People have a mouth to talk & two ears to listen!", "preliminary condition in some cases???" -> "No! And it is not even possible to discuss. Peace is the aim, but at the same time peace needs to be a way", "yes!!", "no!".

    "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at this goal"

    -> "for what?" -> Peaceful World, "Peace is the way!", "Let's make peace the hottest trend this season." , "but sometimes it really seems far away and then different strategies to reach it -> depending on different situations and experiences", "peace should be a state of existence, not a goal", "like happiness, internal harmony... sounds very zen :-)", "tell me something about the goal", "what is peace anyway?!" -> "An answer: something which does not keep you away from your soul".

    "Real and lasting peace can only come out of education"

    -> "Who defines education? Who educates?" -> "life and experience", "Practising that education cut theory, without practice it is not efficient", "not only", "if it is education about how to live happy & healthy without harming anyone & this education is accessible for everyone: yes!" → "unfortunately not accessible to everyone and not everyone is interested in education", "education is important but not only formal education. You should work with others structures not only with your head", "education is necessary and is a good way to start...but we need so much more beside it" → "but it is a far road on which you go in small steps!", "we have to be aware of all aspects of peace", "for sure, but education from school, family, friends and society, all of them involved and working together. Formal and informal education."

    "If you think you are too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room"

    -> "I agree that even 'small people' can disturb to express their disagreement but I would prefer a quote that explains how 'small people' can build a better World", "silence is not an option", "it is a question of perspective" -> "everything is!", the mosquito just leads to me not being peaceful!" -> "see, it is so simple getting angry & frustrated!" -> "but you are aware it is existing!", "I am tall anyway!", "Lots of small things can be BIG!" -> "Doing small things with a great love and commitment means doing BIG THINGS!" -> "I agree!", "I agree coz' people make conflict and people can make an impact to peace!", "every look and gestures make. And may be we should start in our own LITTLE LIFE and not in the real war conflict areas in the World" -> "also just one word can make an impact!", "we should be careful with our words because we can hurt others even not noticing it", "mosquitoes do not do anything relevant / important and are so easy to avoid" -> "and thinking that mosquitoes are part of our World, does it make them irrelevant and unimportant?", "I do not like the example with the mosquito -> it is kind of 'unpeaceful' because we usually kill them to get rid of them and it is not a peaceful way" -> "catch it & throw it out of the window".

    "Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discomfort, find harmony. In the middle of difficulties lie opportunities".

    -> "It is what I call experiencing life...", It is always a good time for doing good things and acting in a peaceful way!" -> "Not necessarily opportunity to do good(?)", "it is a problem to find the middle", I agree! -> "reflecting is necessary to see the opportunities" -> "Well the thing is if we are able to see the opportunity" -> "yes, I agree, because sometimes we can miss this opportunity. So how to find out?", "it can be difficult but not impossible!", "I always try. I think it is the good way".

    A main topic of the seminar was migration and refugees. On the second day of the seminar there was a workshop about refugees and European borders, with a focus on the transit route Libya - Italy (Lampedusa). The participants learned more about this topic in the course of a simulation game which was based on a refugee role game by the UNHCR, but adapted to the real story of a refugee from Cameroon who was travelling for over a year in order to get into Europe.

    Of course, there was also time to explore Budapest. Bogi and Timi acted as tourist guides on the fourth day of the seminar and helped the participants to discover the wonders of Hungary's capital.

    The fifth day was methodology-day - a step-by-step introduction on how to build a workshop was given and in the afternoon, the participants had time to create their own one-hour-sessions in groups of three and four. For some it took not more than two hours to prepare everything - some used half of the night. The results were amazing anyway and were presented on the sixth day: every group ran their workshop with the rest of the new peace messengers (and some guests who came for the camp leader training that started the following day) participating, discussing and giving (constructive ;-) ) feedback.

    The topics introduced in the workshops showed all the variety of the term "peace" itself and ranged from discrimination, non-violent communication, gender, intercultural understanding, identity and gender to migration. All kinds of methods and materials were used and also produced - as, for example, a board-game about refugees and migration.

    After this intense and stimulating time together it was hard to say good-bye, but ideas were shared, future actions were planned and - friends were made.

  • Peace is that state in which fear of any kind is unknown. (John Buchan)