People living in conflict regions often find it hard to envision a peaceful future. In protracted conflicts, peaceful solutions seem out of reach and individual options to take action appear minimal. In such circumstances, fostering hope by highlighting individuals’ potentials for and success stories in creating constructive change is crucial.
Peace Counts on Tour brings good-practice examples of global peacebuilding and accounts of successful peacebuilders into educational settings to inspire joint learning. Examples of such good practice cover many topics: community peace work, intercultural education, dialogue models for conflict parties, peace zones in conflict regions, conflict resolution training in prisons, sports and conflict resolution, renouncing violence and reintegrating into the community, traditional forms of mediation, safe spaces for basic education, revealing wartime brutality, youth empowerment through music, rapprochement of perpetrators and survivors, interreligious dialogue, women empowerment, youth work in divided societies. The workshop methodology centres on learning from biographies and visualisation, and strongly focuses on participants and dialogue.
With a travelling exhibition, we aim to impart (some of) the following learning objectives: the participants feel inspired by the good-practice examples of peacebuilding. They have learned from these role models that it is possible to build peace and that it takes their own individual engagement to make their vision of peace come true. The participants see the added value of the pedagogic methods applied in the workshops and integrate these approaches into their own working environment. They reuse or adapt the educational materials (such as CD-ROMs, posters, picture cards) distributed during the training in their own work.
The key actors for Peace Counts on Tour are mostly multipliers working in the educational, media or peacebuilding sector. The groups are defined in close consultation with local partner organisations in the respective countries. Workshops have been implemented with youth leaders, teachers, community workers, members of women’s organisations, students, peer-mediators, NGO staff, and others.
Since 2007, the Peace Counts training programme has travelled to countries on four continents: Sri Lanka, Macedonia, Ivory Coast, the Philippines, Russia, India, Colombia, Jordan, Afghanistan and the South Caucasus.
The Berghof Foundation is open to requests from former participants and is interested in establishing sustainable cooperation with them. The rich experiences participants and facilitators bring along from different conflict regions consistently offer opportunities for mutual learning.
The Peace Counts Network includes the Berghof Foundation, the Culture Counts Foundation and the Zeitenspiegel Agency.
Some of our local and regional partners are
Peace Counts on Tour is supported by the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) with funds provided by the German Federal Foreign Office.
Peace Counts will continue in 2016 as part of the project "Peace Education in Iran". After having successfully completed exhibitions and workshops in the Tehran Peace Museum in the past two years, the Peace Counts exhibition will this year travel to other Iranian cities that are part of the network "Mayors for Peace". The Tehran Peace Museum hosts the secretariat of the network and coordinates a team of young volunteers who had been trained by Berghof Foundation in recent years. This team will now accompany the Peace Counts exhibition and offer local workshops.
From 26th to 30th of October 2015 four project partners from Northeast India came together at the Georg Zundel house of Berghof Foundation in Tübingen, Germany to exchange experiences and talks on cooperation. With German students they discussed the role of peace education in their conflict prone region. In Berlin they spoke with representatives of zivik/ifa and Bread for the World. Moreover, they learned about how Germany dealt with its violent past while visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial. The meeting resulted in new project proposals, which will be further elaborated over the coming months. Especially, the idea of a Peace Counts Webinar Series was met with great interest by project partners.
After the settlement in the nuclear issue people in Teheran look hopefully to the future and show a keen interest in international cooperation. Uli Jäger and Anne Romund of the Berghof Foundation sensed this during their project trip to the Iranian capital. It was the second visit within the scope of the project "Peace Counts on Tour". As local partner organisation the Tehran Peace Museum offered workshops with young volunteers of the museum, teaching staff, NGO members as well as with war veterans and victims of chemical weapons of the Iran-Iraq-war. They want to bring the Peace Counts exhibition on peacebuilders, which was previously translated into Persian, also to other Iranian cities. The trained volunteers independently coordinate the events and conduct workshops with further target groups.
In cooperation with Berghof Foundation and Iranian universities the Peace Museum plans to establish a peace academy with its own premises. Regular workshops and dialogue events should create a space for constructive discussions of war and peace. As a pilot project a course on the theory and practice of peace education should be jointly developed.
The Armenian participants were amazed. A Georgian and an Abkhaz jointly facilitating a Peace Counts training? Contact between Georgians and Abkhaz is usually rare in the conflict prone South Caucasus. The training-of-trainers that took place from 5th to 7th June 2015 at the organisation "Peace Dialogue" in the Armenian city of Vanadzor, under the supervision of both Dagmar Nolden and Andrea Zemskove-Züge from Berghof-Foundation, demonstrated the opposite. Such cross border teams could be a model for civil society work in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the attendees thought. NGO staff members, social workers and a psychologist came to the training from various parts of Armenia. Based on the international Peace Counts poster exhibition on peacebuilders, the group discussed typical conflict dynamics, developed their visions of peace and organised a "Peace Counts storytelling competition".
Still on the spot, and with fresh motivation and their heads full of new ideas, the participants organised an exhibition venue in Vanadzor, where the Peace Counts exhibition will be open to the public. In August trilateral teams will travel to Nagorno-Karabakh to conduct their own Peace Counts workshops. The Armenian NGO "Peace Dialogue" as a new partner organisation of the Berghof Foundation coordinates the local activities.
"We just completed an amazing event on culture of peace and reconciliation for Karbis and Rengma women, two former hostile tribes, in the conflict prone region Karbi Anglong in the Northeast Indian state of Assam," tells Leban Serto, local coordinator for the project Peace Counts on Tour of Berghof Foundation. Like last year, the local trainer team independently conducts Peace Counts Workshops for different target groups in several federal states of Northeast India. In early May they organized a big streetfootball tournament in Wokha. Eight mixed teams participated in the tournament and played for goals as well as fair play points. About two weeks later a trainer team qualified a group of social workers from Guwahati. The month ended with a second event in Karbi Anglong with more than 300 participating community members. Since the beginning of the year 2015 various organisations increasingly demand Peace Counts workshops.
Local Press Coverage on the Peace Event in Wokha:
On May 8th 2015, 70 years after the end of World War II in Europe, the exhibition "Peace Counts - Peacebuilders Around the World" had its ceremonious opening at Marktkirche, Essen. The exhibition shows people who engage for non-violence in conflict regions.
The week before students from ten schools participated in workshops twice a day. In this "Peace Counts School" project young people have the chance to slip into the role of the peacebuilders portrayed in the exhibition. Stefanie Rücker, Nadine Ritzi and Dagmar Nolden (Programme "Peace Education and Global Learning") facilitated the workshops where the students developed their own vision of peace.
Some of the students were refugees coming from the regions shown in the exhibition. A young man who fled Afghanistan three years ago, said: "I really like, that the exhibition shows good things from Afghanistan. Usually in Germany we only hear bad things about my country." Programme director Uli Jäger gave a speech at the inauguration and Uli Reinhard - a journalist from our partner agency Zeitenspiegel - gave a lecture on peace journalism.
"Peace Counts School" offers schools in Germany the opportunity to rent the exhibition and conducting workshops for students. The exhibition in Essen is open for public until May 15th 2015.
At the end of November high-ranking representatives from politics and society attended the ceremonious opening of the Peace Counts Exhibition in the Tehran Peace Museum. Since then, the exhibition, specifically directed at school classes and multipliers, is open for visitors. In the context of the exhibition the Museum`s volunteers offer peace education workshops for interested groups. They were trained during a multi-day workshop facilitated by the Berghof Foundation prior to the Exhibition's opening. Furthermore, events with survivors of the chemical weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq war, who are committed to peace, took place.
Students, lecturers, war veterans and representatives of NGOs from Georgia, Abkhazia and Armenia took part in the four-day Peace Counts Academy in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The Academy is primarily directed at the local Peace Counts trainer teams that have been independently conducting Peace Counts workshops in their regions of origin since 2013. Besides providing a room for people to meet and exchange experiences, the focus lay on an in-depth study of contents and methods in the field of peace education. The participants discussed how to reach out to new target groups and devised concepts and methods for future local Peace Counts workshops beyond conflict lines and national borders.
Teachers, student representatives, church leaders and social workers from five states in Northeast India took part in the five-day Academy. Most of them had been qualified as Peace Counts trainers in the previous year and have been independently conducting Peace Counts Workshops in educational institutions and communities ever since. They exchanged their experiences as trainers, deepened their knowledge on peace education, discovered the potential of regional peace projects and discussed strategies of violence prevention. Additionally, the Academy provided spaces for encounter. The participants experienced that cooperation is possible despite different tribal affiliations.
Local multipliers have been conducting one-day Peace Counts Workshops in Northeast India since the end of July 2014. Target groups for the first three workshops were local leaders from various villages in the conflict region, and students of the Martin Luther Christian University in Shillong. Seven additional workshops will be held until the end of September. The multipliers had participated in last year's one-week Training of Trainers organised by the Berghof Foundation.
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, offers a neutral space to gather Georgian, Abkhaz and South Ossetian people, for whom it is very difficult to meet on their own territories. Here, the Berghof Foundation organised a Peace Counts training workshop for them. Peace Counts was an opportunity to exchange their visions of a peaceful future and to reflect on their own potential as peacebuilders.
Berghof Foundation gathered educational experts from several Northeast Indian states for a meeting in Guwahati, Northeast India. The main purpose was to explore possibilities of incorporating Peace Counts into the formal education curriculum and the training of community leaders in Northeast India. After the meeting there was a five day training of trainers with university students and lecturers as well as religious leaders and peace activists, who all worked with the contents, methods and materials provided by Peace Counts.