• From one PM training seminar... to the next?

    From 16 to 22 May, 20 participants from SCI branches all over Europe met in Budapest for the 2010 edition of the Peace Messengers training "Voluntary Approach towards a Culture of Peace", organised by the Hungarian branch of SCI: Utilapu Halozat.

    The training aimed at increasing our knowledge in peace education and cultural diversity, letting us know about the Peace Messengers group, and providing us with tools to create and run workshops. This year a particular focus was set on "Migrations, Refugees and European borders". It took place in a forest on the hills of Buda, the perfect place to build a united group, relax in nature, do outdoor activities (under the rain!) and resist the tentation of going out too much in the city.

    From the very first contact I knew I would enjoy my time there. After a few ice-breakers and highly-needed name games, the group spirit was already there and we remained united all along the week. We soon started the serious work: a succession of energizers, games, lectures, practical exercises, artistic workshops, debates and debriefings... The activities were varied so as to keep us attentive, let us know a certain number of methods, and help us find which one we feel most comfortable with. Being comfortable will be essential when we run workshops in real situations. Most of us had expressed their fears about it.

    The Prep Team involved us a lot: we were encouraged to share ideas and bring in our own experience. A significant part of the contents had to come from us, the same way most of the contents of our future workshops will come from the participants.

    Apart from the variety of nationalities and countries of residence (many of us live abroad), we also had different backgrounds, experience, roles within SCI, and motivations for participating. Far from dividing us, this diversity turned out very valuable since everyone had something different to offer.

    The agenda was quite loaded and the timings rather tight. But we managed to stick to them. Surprisingly enough I never felt overwhelmed, tired or bored. I do not know if the secret to hard work is having good laughs but it certainly helped! A nice energy circulated within the group.

    On Wednesday the trainers had pity on us and took us to an excursion in the city centre. Two itineraries were proposed, each one guided by a volunteer. Those who wanted to go on their own could just go and join us again later. If Utilapu Halozat were a tour operator, "Guidance and Freedom" would be its motto. In the evening we discovered that in Hungary, as in many other places, the best food in town is the Middle-Eastern one!

    On Friday, we ran the workshops we had elaborated in small groups. What a surprise and what a relief: we did it well! Not only had we acquired new knowledge and new skills; we had also gained in self-confidence. Also I realised I had learnt about myself. And I think some of the concepts we talked about can be useful in everyday life. Last but not least, we were given the will to get involved with Peace Messengers in several ways in the future.

    We left the training with the will to meet each other again (which on Planet SCI is not as impossible as it may first sound). Some of us even wish to participate to the trainers' training and organise next year's Peace Messengers training. We do hope to transmit to the new generation all that we have received in Budapest. In the meantime, let's go bring the world our peace messages...

    SCI Belgium

  • It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. Alfred Adler