The Foundation works in an International context providing dialogue and training programmes for young people and adults of all ages. Our skills and expertise see us delivering programmes on themes such as single and multiple identity conflict, gender based conflict, human rights, peace and sustainable peace–building, conflict analysis, skills for working with and in conflict and sustainable development.
The International Youth Programme, ‘Pathways to Peace’, saw 24 participants and 7 youth leaders from across the world joined together at the Peace Centre to embark upon an intense and dynamic journey of learning. Participants from England, Ireland, South Africa, the Basque Region of Spain and Palestine – Israel took part in a range of activities designed to stimulate discussion and debate on issues ranging from conflicts in participants’ home countries to those they had in common.
Themes and topics, including the ‘Global War on Terror’ and the exploration of ‘Forgiveness’, featured as part of the programme. Invited speakers and guest lecturers included Professor Paul Rodgers from Bradford University who spoke on the ‘Global War on Terror’ and, representing their own experiences of the ‘Global War on Terror’, Lutha Magloire – a soldier, Susan Verghese – a victim of 7/7 London, and Mohammed Ali Ghori – a young Muslim man whose friends became radicalised after the events of 7/7. Lutha, Susan and Mohammed were all former participants of the Foundation’s dialogue programme.
Other speakers included former Guantanamo Detainee, Moazzam Begg, and Camilla Carr and her partner Jon James (both of whom were kidnapped and detained in Chechenya where they had gone to work with children during the conflict) who visited and shared their story and held a question and after session in relation to Forgiveness.
Throughout the week the young adults aged 18-26 years of age undertook a packed programme of activities ranging from field visits, games exploring behaviour in conflict, to dialogue sessions focussed on the historical or political aspects of their own particular conflict.
Programme content was structured to enable participants to increase their own awareness and understanding and to provide tools, models and theory to assist them in analysing and transforming their own situations of conflict.
Whilst the framework of the programme was carefully planned, content was often changed to adapt to the needs of the group, an approach that is central to any successful Foundation programme.
“I strongly feel that this programme has been a once in a lifetime experience. I have found it challenging to listen to difficult points with regards to some dicussions – but I have listened nonetheless.”
“..I have never learnt so much in one week in all my life. Thank you again for all you have one and I hope to repay you by being an active voice in my own community, county and country.”
“I really got a lot from this programme…Hearing about the conflicts of others and sharing opinions and ideas with others, makes you aware of what is happening around you. I think what happened in the programme, whether it was a game, discussion or lecture, gave me a chance to participate in paving the peace road and planting the seed of hope again for my family, colleagues, friends and Jewish neighbours. It’s difficult, but we must forgive to make our dreams become true.”
“What I have learnt, is that I will never again judge a people because of what few have inflicted upon my people or person.”
“I have talked about this programme non-stop….. I would strongly recommend it to anyone brave enough to have their views and opinions challenged and to anyone willing to be coaxed out of their comfort zone even if just a little.”
“I will start with the change within myself and take my learning to those who suround me. I will try to change the mentality of the people in my community by explaining the ways I now think and what I have learnt from the programme.”