Training Local Leaders - The Academy for Intercultural Dialogue
Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights in partnership with Foundation Wings of Hope Germany, participated in the Academy for Intercultural Dialogue. Twenty-five young people between 18 and 26 years old from, Kurdistan-Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Germany participated in intercultural dialogue and reconciliation workshops in Ruhpolding, Germany.
Running part and parcel as part of Jiyan Foundation’s programing with the Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue, the Academy for Intercultural Dialogue trains youth in becoming multipliers for peace, tolerance, and reconciliation. It offers a framework for finding avenues out of the trauma and violence they have grown up in, offering solutions that go beyond the political, ethnic, and religious conflicts in their home countries. Over the course of two weeks Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Atheists work on strategies that build civil and democratic discourse to overcome hate, intolerance, violence, and injustice. This year five participants of Jiyan Foundation’s Youth Network joined the academy to take these skills and knowledge home to become multipliers in their own communities.
In workshops and seminars participants learn about the impact individual and collective trauma have on their communities, investigate themselves in relation to their own culture, explore other cultures, and work on concepts of transitional justice and remembrance.
In interreligious impulse workshops, participants discuss interreligious similarities, find common ground, and explore the larger purpose of their faith in relation to one another. Every day participants experience cultural diversity. For many participants, this is the first time in their lives that they build friendships that cross ehtnic and religious boundaries.
At this year’s Academy for Intercultural Dialogue trainers placed special emphasis on understanding collective trauma. Violence, natural disasters, and war are examples of events which can produce collective trauma shared within communities. These events can shatter feelings of security, and redefine a community for years to come.
This year participants from Kurdistan-Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Germany shared in their experiences coming from societies that have experienced traumatic events and, in many cases, still live present in these conflicts. By understanding the mechanics of collective memory and the impact traumatic events can have on their communities, participants in the academy are better situated to address hate, intolerance, violence and injustice in their homelands.
Jiyan Foundation will continue to work with members of the academy in Kurdistan-Iraq through our Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue by taking these lessons and applying them to civil society projects throughout Iraq. As multipliers for peace, the members of Jiyan Foundation’s Youth Network who participated in this year’s academy will have the opportunity to lead local Youth groups in numerous projects over the next few years. Jiyan Foundation’s members of the Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue are already working on local projects to promote democracy, combat disinformation, and support women in becoming civil society leaders.
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The Youth Network for Peace and Dialogue is a project of the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights and Wings of Hope Germany. Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights supports survivors of human rights violations, promotes democratic values, and protects fundamental freedoms in Iraq, Kurdistan-Iraq, and Northern Syria. Wings of Hope Germany supports people who made traumatic experiences, especially children and young people, their families, and their support systems out of the trauma of violence. The main two pillars of their work are psychosocial support and peace & dialogue work. The project is funded by MISEREOR and the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN).