• Irina's interview

    How did you get the idea to run a joint session?

    We didn't think in the first place to have a joint PM session, but we wanted to have some kind of a project together (SCI-Romania and CID Macedonia)- workcamp, training, youth exchange. We got this idea in the PM training from Novi Sad. Then, back at home in our branch we tried to put it into practice but it did not work as we wanted it to.

    So, for us to meet again and share a positive experience together, the people from CID Macedonia have invited me to run workshops for their Youth Festival in summer.

    What was the project you visited?

    I've visited the Kumanovo Youth Open Festival, a PVP workcamp, where I did not only run workshops as a PM, but also took part to the festival's promotion team. Like this, I was able to better bond with the entire group, and last but not least, I made some really good friends both from Macedonia and other countries.

    Can you describe the workshop you ran?

    I ran 2 workshops in Macedonia: one on "Peace on 3 levels" and the 2nd one on "Intercultural Dialogue". I especially wanted to do some activities on intercultural dialogue because 2008 was the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, as well as I already knew Kumanovo is a quite diverse town from the point of view of ethnicity.

    Both of my workshops have started with an energizer, so as to boost the energy of the group. I've used the "Human Knot" (my favorite energizer of all) and the "The Princes, the Knight and the Dragon". Then, I used to have discussions on the topic of the workshop, in the big group, as well as in smaller ones. I felt that the participants enjoyed the most the following things: the card game- "Five Tricks Tournament" for the Intercultural Learning workshop and the quotes on peace for the one on Peace on 3 levels, activities that from that moment on I am constantly using in my PM sessions.

    Did you meet any difficulty?

    I can't really point out any difficulty, any negative part of the workshops, because in my opinion there was none of that. I just felt that people enjoyed the sessions a lot, everybody put a lot of effort and energy in the activities and made the most of every minute spent together.

    What was the added value of having a joint session, what was special about doing a PM session out of your country?

    I think that this joint PM session brought both for me and the participants a lot of positive vibes, new knowledge and understanding of other people's points of view upon the debated topics. And this can only be a plus, a valuable asset for every moment that is to come in our lives.

    For me it was special that I could meet with my Macedonian friends again and spend quality time together. Moreover, I had the chance to run workshops in a very diverse ethnical society, which can only make my facilitator skills better and my experience as a PM more valuable.

    What was the best part of this experience?

    I can only say that every second of my experience in Macedonia was extraordinary, it filled me up with positive vibes; it gave me the chance to get to know some wonderful people. It just made me better, and I am not only talking from the point of view of a Peace Messenger, but from the point of view of a human being :)

  • Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict - alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence. (Dorothy Thompson)