The project "Promoting direct and structural peace education in Iran" supports civil society actors in strengthening a culture of dialogue and peace through educational means. The project contributes to the creation of structures for peace education at schools and universities in Iran (development of curricula and learning modules) through the implementation of direct peace education initiatives such as workshops, qualification courses and exhibitions.
2015 - 2018
Setting Since the beginning of President Hassan Rohani's term in August 2013, Iran's foreign and domestic policy is undergoing a transformation. After the successful conclusion of the nuclear agreement in 2015 and the lifting of sanctions, a large part of the Iranian population hopes for domestic and foreign policy reforms. International encounters and exchanges of experiences as well as qualification courses and in the collaboration on common projects can be supportive of the transformation process. There is a very high demand for expertise in peace education and peace research in Iran. However, there are still no systematic qualification programmes or relevant training materials. Given that about half of the Iranian population is under 30 years of age, young people are a particularly important target group for the project and it is important to identify points of reference for peace educational approaches in the educational system.
As part of the project, we conduct peace education training and qualification courses, develop learning media and enable encounters for young people from Iran and neighbouring countries. The learning media and curricula are being developed in close cooperation with local partners as well as with the expertise of European and Iranian academics. Additionally, the project brings together multiplicators from different provinces of Iran and other countries, thereby supporting the local partner in establishing a national and regional network for peace.
Young Iranians are particularly open, curious and prepared to commit to peace and non-violence, as previous experiences show. Therefore, the project cooperates closely with young volunteers who plan and implement peace education events. Furthermore, it involves educators and researchers who work in educational institutions, as well as multiplicators from civil society. The project qualifies and brings key actors of the education system and civil society together and provides them with a space for dialogue on how to develop a culture of peace through education.
Local partner is the Tehran Peace Museum.
The project "Promotion of direct and structural peace education in Iran" is supported by the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) with funds provided by the German Federal Foreign Office.
The project year 2018 ends with a delegation visit of Allameh Tabataba’i University (ATU) to Germany. Following the invitation of Berghof Foundation, expert talks on teaching and research of peace and conflict studies at universities took place with the participation of Dr. Pouria Askary, Dr. Mandana Tishehyar and Yalda Khosravi from ATU’s Faculty of Law and Political Science and professors from the Universities of Tübingen, Augsburg and Marburg. In consideration of ATU’s efforts to develop Iran’s first master’s programme “Peace Studies”, the focus of the talks was on the exchange of curriculum design and the dialogue on potential scientific cooperation. The expert talks were completed by a guest lecture on peace work in Iran by the ATU-delegation for students of University of Tübingen.
Another item on the agenda of the expert talk was the topic of mediation. While in Iran’s urban centers the usage of legal arbitration is common, in rural areas traditional arbitration as a form of dispute resolution still is used as an alternative to court trials. ATU is planning to establish a Mediation Center for Research and Training, in order to professionalise and develop mediation as a method for resolving disputes outside of the court with the assistance of a neutral third party. Berghof Foundation is supporting this project and hosted an expert talk on mediation forms and training in Germany in cooperation with the mediation and training center CONSENSUS Campus.
Workshops on “Peace and Conflict“ at Universities: The Berghof Foundation (Prof. Uli Jäger and Isabella M. Bauer) facilitated two introductory workshops on peace and conflict at the universities Allameh Tabataba’i and Shahid Beheshti for a total of 34 students. The participants discussed their understanding of peace, were introduced to several concepts of peace studies and with the help of interactive methods worked out steps of a typical conflict escalation as well as strategies for conflict transformation. The workshops were open to students of all backgrounds and allowed for an interdisciplinary exchange on peace and conflict. They took place as part of the implementation process of a Master “Peace Studies” at Allameh Tabataba’i University.
Lecture on “Peace Education“ at the School of International Relations: Prof. Uli Jäger gave a lecture on backgrounds, concepts and methods of peace education for future Iranian diplomats who are currently undergoing their diplomatic training. The 38 participants afterwards by using “Culture of Conflict”-cards tested out an interactive method so far unknown to them and discussed typical escalation steps and ways to prevent a conflict escalation in the plenary. The interactive methods used as part of the lecture were received very positively by the future diplomats.
Qualification Course „Mediation and Peace Education” Part 3: After the second part of “Mediation and Peace Education” in Tübingen, Germany, the participants came together again in Tehran for the final part of this year’s qualification course, facilitated by the Berghof Team (Prof. Uli Jäger, Isabella M. Bauer).
During the course of two days, they discussed steps for initiating a mediation process using practical examples, practiced mediation techniques, conducted exercises for reflecting their own role as mediators and discussed their next common projects. The group, which by now has developed a high motivation and strong common identity, has been meeting regularly between the courses in smaller, thematic groups in order to expand their knowledge und reflect on mediation experiences in their personal and professional environment. These meetings are being continued both in small groups and in the large group to strengthen the continuous and autonomous training of the civil society multiplicators as future mediators. This process is being supported through the exchange with people having a mediation background from allover Iran.
After the start of the workshop series “Mediation and Peace Education” in Tehran, the second part of the workshop has been proceeded under the direction of the Berghof Foundation team (Uli Jäger, Anne Kruck, Neda Pouryekta) in Tübingen. The main topic of the five-day workshop was mediation and its different areas of application in politics, economy, society, law and education. The invited experts were Christoph Besemer of Workshop for Non-Violent Action, Prof. Dr. Hanne-Margret Birckenbach of Justus Liebig University Gießen, Andrea Hartmann-Piraudeau of Consensus Campus, Lara Schmidt-Rüdt of the Arbitration Office Stuttgart and Mir Musbashir as well as Cassandra Schützko of Berghof Foundation. The professional diversity of the experts allowed a deeper insight in different conciliation approaches and techniques, which are used for conflict mediation at workplace, school, in neighbourhood community as well as for divorce cases. Practice and theory have been combined by case studies and exercises. Moreover, the participants developed mediation strategies for local disputes and conflicts (e.g. environmental conflicts, community and ethnical conflicts etc.) and discussed on how to apply the methods and techniques in Iran. The various professional background of the group was highly positive for an interdisciplinary working atmosphere.
Back in Iran the participants attempt applying elements of mediation within their private and professional environment. The outcomes and experiences will be analysed and reflected in the third part of the workshop that will take place in Teheran in October 2018. Besides, the workshop will focus on the next steps for strengthening a network of mediators in Iran.
Sixteen young Iranians from civil society and the education and judiciary sectors met in June in Tehran for the first of a three-part qualification course on “Mediation and Peace Education”. They are often confronted with possibly violent conflicts in their professional environment and are looking for new strategies and ways to contribute to their peaceful settlement. During the three-day course under the supervision of a trainer team (Berghof Foundation/ Tehran Peace Museum) they conducted conflict analyses, discussed peer and traditional mediation based on practical examples from Iran and through roleplays gained first insights into the tasks of a mediator.
During the second and third part of the course, which will be conducted in Germany (July) and in Iran (October), participants will expand their knowledge with the help of experts from different fields of mediation by testing out mediation methods and discussing steps for implementation. Additionally, they will continue to reflect their own attitudes as well as strengthen their personal skills for mediation. The long-term goal of the course is the establishment of a network of mediators in Iran.
Trainers from the Tehran Peace Museum introduced 14 young Iranians from different provinces to peace, violence, human rights and global citizenship as part of an Autumn School in Tehran. The three trainers, having previously been trained by Berghof, conducted the event independently, supported by Berghof materials and learning arrangements.
The Berghof project team additionally conducted two half-day events for students of the University Allameh Tabataba'i as part of Berghof's continuous support in establishing a Peace Studies program. The participants got an introduction to approaches and methods in peace education.
Teaching and learning peace - the peace education team of Berghof Foundation has, in cooperation with local partners, prepared a series of events that took place in September 2017 in Tehran. On invitation of the Berghof Foundation Prof. Hanne-Margret Birckenbach, University of Giessen, and Prof. Werner Wintersteiner, University of Klagenfurt, contributed to these events by giving lectures on Global Citizenship and the Logic of Peace.
Summerschool "Youth, Dialogue and Peacebuilding": 20 young participants from Iran and seven neighbouring countries came together for a regional Summerschool. Together, they developed visions for living peacefully together and worked on their peace skills. In interactive exercises and roleplays, they approached the topics peace, conflict, intercultural dialogue, Global Citizenship and Logic of Peace, and discussed conditions for a peaceful society.
Master program Peace Studies: The University Allameh Tabataba'i conducted a Roundtable as part of the development of a Master's programme in peace and conflict studies. Professors from the University of Tehran, University Shahid Beheshti, the School of International Relations of the Foreign Ministry and University Allameh Tabataba'i discussed together with the guests from Germany and Austria a draft prepared by the university. Afterwards, the draft will be adapted and developed further. ATU is reporting here and here about the event.
Workshop with students: During a half day workshop at the University Shahid Beheshti, 50 interested students got the chance to explore the topics Global Citizenship and Logic of Peace.
Thirteen former peace education course participants received a training of trainers in Tehran in April 2017. The training provided space to discuss course methods, group dynamics and the role of the trainer, as well as how to plan courses. The participants reflected their own experiences in conducting courses and gave each other advice.
From now on, they can use the Peace Education Manual which was published by Berghof and the Tehran Peace Museum in Persian and English. It covers the main topics peace and peace education, violence and nonviolence, conflict and conflict transformation as well as global citizenship. Each section includes worksheets and ideas for the course conception.
Berghof Foundation and the University Allameh Tabataba'i signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the 19th of April. This is the first agreement on peace educational cooperation with an Iranian University. It will enable further cooperation, including expert meetings and courses and trainings with University staff and students. Report and pictures (in Persian):
Peace Counts on Tour in Iran: Previously qualified trainers from the Tehran Peace Museum have conducted two workshops in Shiraz (14th of December) and Saravan (17th of December). The workshop in Shiraz took place at the University of Shiraz and was attended by students. In Saravan, students and lecturers of Islamic Azad University as well as lawyers and town officials took part. The poster about traditional mediation was especially well received by the group.
A novelty in the Tehran Peace Museum: 22 participants from Iranian schools, universities and the civil society have successfully completed the first course on peace education in Tehran. In four modules, the participants were introduced to basics of peace and peace education, violence and violence prevention, conflict and conflict transformation as well as global citizenship. As part of an excursion, they exchanged ideas for their own peacebuilding activities. The Tübingen Team of the Berghof Foundation and the local partner Tehran Peace Museum will incorporate the experiences made in the course into the existing curriculum developed together over the course of the year. The accompanying manual in English and Farsi will be published by the end of the year for future Iranian trainers.
How can peace education be implemented in Iran, and in which ways can international research in peace education and peace studies assist in that? For three days, six Iranian, German and Austrian scientists debated these questions together with volunteers of the Tehran Peace Museum and members of the Berghof Foundation. The participants discussed existing drafts for an introductory peace education course, exchanged plans for a future Peace Academy in Tehran and gave short presentations about their current research and the state of peace education in Iran. The European-Iranian exchange is of great value for the content of future workshops and the project itself: current topics of peace education can be contextualized easier and the network can be used for future (academic) cooperation as well.
The Peace Counts trainers of the Tehran Peace Museum conducted and will conduct several Peace Counts-activities with different target groups throughout the year:
Further activities in Tehran as well as other Iranian cities are currently being planned.
Over the course of the project, a curriculum and a manual for a basic course on peace education theory and practice have been developed in English and Farsi.