"We have trained 20 multipliers who can now integrate peace education contents and methods into their schools, universities and communities in Northeast India", concluded Leban Serto, local Peace Counts coordinator, at the final press conference in Shillong on 25 October 2014. Teachers, student representatives, church leaders and social workers from five Northeast Indian states took part in the five-day Academy. The remote region is marked by ethnic tensions, land disputes and struggle for political participation. Violent conflicts between armed groups and a significant military presence are part of daily life. The Peace Counts Academy gathered people who want to promote a culture of peace in this conflict region. The Academy concept built on the training of trainers implemented in 2013. It offered spaces for joint reflection and for in-depth studies of the contents and methods of Peace Counts.
At the core of the Academy are reports about successful civil peace initiatives all over the world. They are used as a source of inspiration in the form of exhibitions and audiovisual media. Based on this, the participants developed their vision of a peaceful future, analysed typical conflict dynamics, devised strategies for de-escalation, discovered the potential of young peace-builders and learnt how they may convince others of refraining from violence. The Academy was facilitated by Berghof Foundation staff members, Anne Romund and Jasna Bastic.
The Academy was also a place for people to meet. "We have seen here, that we can work together despite our different tribal affiliations. I wish to share this experience with others", said a participant from Manipur. The participants are motivated by the Academy and qualified to work in their own contexts. In the upcoming weeks, they will carry out peace education workshops or street football projects in their schools, universities and communities in an effort to promote the institutional integration of peace education.
The Academy is part of the project "Peace Counts on Tour 2014" which is supported by the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) with financial means of the German Federal Foreign Office.
Local press coverage of the Peace Counts Academy: