Building a Culture of Peace at Centennial College

InterChange GTA is excited to announce that we are now running a 4 module, 12 hour certificate program to the Centre for Organizational Learning and Teaching at Centennial College on Community-Based Peacebuilding.

This pilot project is running from April through June 2012 and will bring the following 4 workshops to staff at Centennial College:

Module 1: Everyone can be a Peacebuilder, facilitated by Anne Goodman and members of InterChange. This is a creative participatory introduction to InterChange, peacebuilding and peace literacy. This workshop uses the metaphor of a picnic to explore our unique roles as peacebuilders and to help spread the Culture of Peace.

Module 2: Deliberative Dialogue Processes for Learning & Peacebuilding
facilitated by Melissa Abramovitz. This workshop is designed to introduce community leaders to the possibilities of deliberative dialogue processes in their community settings as a means of transforming conflict. Using a Circle process, participants will learn to recognize the difference between deliberative dialogue and other forms of communication as they explore the building blocks of ‘good dialogue’. Participants will have the opportunity to experience a dialogue process as they collaborate in developing strategies for creating time and space for deliberative dialogue in the classroom.

Module 3: Engaging Conflict and Transforming Relationships through Dialogue Circles facilitated by Melissa Abramovitz. Circles have the power to change our perspectives. Simply experiencing the physical structure of the circle, the flow of listening and speaking, the depth of experience and wisdom of its participants creates a space where transformation can emerge. By its nature, circles provide a container where even conflict can be engaged and issues of diversity explored safely through dialogue. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce participants to the Circle experience. Participants will learn about the key elements and structure of the circle, how circles enable dialogue, and what it feels like to experience dialogue over a contentious topic.

Module 4: Everyone has a “Peace” of the Puzzle,  facilitated by Anne Goodman and members of InterChange; Using a creative, arts-based approach, this final  module takes us on a self-reflective journey. This session allows us to explore our own unique roles and contributions as peacebuilders, integrating the concepts and approaches learned from this program.

In conflict areas all over the world, thousands of people and organizations are working with great determination and against formidable odds to build bridges between communities in conflict and to lay the foundations for a durable peace. This important and often neglected topic is the focus of our initiative.
Community-based peacebuilding takes place at a local level and strives towards the creation of lasting peace. These efforts may take many shapes. Community-based peacebuilders may: strive to build democracy and help to develop attitudes of inclusion, tolerance, and justice; work to change the attitudes of the majority population toward the minority populations; promote cultural awareness; educate the media about the importance of cultural promotion rather than emphasizing cultural differences; or coordinate events for cultural sharing and understanding.  Community-based peacebuilders address not only issues of inter-cultural and inter-state militarized conflict but are also able to address latent issues that carry the potential for escalation.  By transforming such latent conflicts before they escalate, peacebuilders enhance the possibility of building a more sustained democratically based and peaceful society.

We hope that this workshop series will be the first of many with Centennial College. Stay tuned!