Physical and Virtual Libraries for Peacebuilding
To individuals working to transform conflicts in their own societies, gaining access to even the most basic information can be a challenge. In too many countries, everything from accurate histories of those societies in conflict, to practical training manuals on negotiations, to texts on constitutional law, can be out of reach, even in the age of the internet.
For much of the past decade, a core element of our assistance to peacebuilders in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Lebanon has been helping them gain access to information both by donating and developing new libraries containing books and training manuals in native and foreign languages, as well as developing online resources that can be shared through virtual private networks.
In Lebanon, we have helped the Common Space Initiative develop its library with texts in Arabic, French and English covering Lebanese history, comparative religions, peacebuilding, negotiations theory and practice, international law, Middle East politics and transitional justice, among other topics. These books are part of a growing library that includes publications which the Common Space itself has generated, available not only to the stakeholders in initiatives which the Common Space directly supports, but to all who visit the Common Space’s central office.
The physical library is augmented by curated online resources across many fields of peacebuilding, which the Peace Appeal has constructed over the last decade and which the research staff of the Common Space continues to augment as part of their knowledge sharing efforts. These resources will remain available to the Lebanese for years to come, as collections have in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Educating the Next Generation of Peacemakers
The Peace Appeal continues its longstanding collaboration with the Sweden-based “Dream of the Good” – an innovative in-school peace, health and wellness program operating in several Scandinavian countries and expanding internationally. The “Dream” works with students, teachers, parents and administrators in offering 4 simple meditation and mindfulness methods that can easily be incorporated into classrooms and school settings. To date, over 10,000 teachers have been trained in various methods of peace education and the Swedish Parliament is considering a national program to include peace education in all schools and major political institutions. Research documenting the “Dream's” work with children and adults in school settings, from pre-school through secondary school, point to significant improvement in student well-being, reduced absenteeism among teachers, improved stress levels, and reduction in violent and aggressive behaviors.
For further information on the Dream of the Good's programs and curriculum, please see their website (in English, Norwegian and Swedish).
Media as a Tool in Conflict Transformation
The media plays a critical role in how parties in conflict view one another, understand their respective situations, and ultimately work to either further the goals of peace or inflame conflict. The principals of the Peace Appeal have a long history of promoting media as a tool for conflict resolution, beginning with the work of the Media Peace Centre in South Africa throughout the 1990's, and continuing to this day in the design and production of online and broadcast content, as well as educational curricula for young people around the globe.
Working in collaboration with partners in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, the Peace Appeal has developed educational curricula and broadcast media content for children and adults that promote values of tolerance and respect for diversity, and which encourage dialogue and promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Balkan Peace Media Projects:
The Peace Appeal has authored and co-produced a number of media projects to support reconciliation and tolerance in partnership with local broadcasters and production companies in Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia. These include a "Truth and Reconciliation" radio and television series, a soap opera television project for reconstruction and healing, a joint animation project for Balkan children and support of media coverage exposing the human trafficking networks in the region.
Working with the Tallberg Foundation (an independent non-profit organization formed in 1980 to enhance understanding of transformational leadership, values and institutional change) the Peace Appeal joined the project team for the Talberg Forum's 2005 workshop entitled, "How on Earth Can We Live Together? Exploring Frameworks for Sustainable Global Interdependence," which brought together 450 leaders from 73 nations throughout the world. This two year project will continue in South Africa.
In conjunction Young Asia Television and the Academy for Educational Development, the Peace Appeal advised and supported the production of the award-winning television drama series, "Take This Road". This multi-part series profiled the lives of three families, one Sihalese, one Tamil and one Muslim, living in the war-torn city of Jaffna.
Productions and joint initiatives by Peace Appeal, Media Peace Centre and partners:
1. Youth Network Television (YNTV - South Africa/international) -- see
also www.chattheplanet.org by NextNext Entertainment
2. Nogalo (Animation Series with HRT and CWPNM/NYU in Croatia/Bosnia)
3. Laundry Service (TV Soap with CWPNM/NYU in Bosnia)
4. Take This Road (TV Drama with YATV and AED in Sri Lanka)
5. Africa: Search for Common Ground (Documentary series with SFCG and
Ubuntu TV in Africa)
6. African Renaissance (Documentary series with TVE and Ubuntu TV in Africa)
7. Video Dialogues (Film Dialogue Series with Ubuntu TV and partners)