Yellow Brick Road (or how have we learned about peace from a country that has known much war)

“Many small people in small places, doing small things can change the world”, this phrase by Eduardo Galeano could describe the most essential thing of what we have discussed, reflected on and learned last April (from 11 to 20 April) at the Yellow Brick Road training course in Vlasenica (Bosnia). This course was the second phase of the programme “Peacebuilding frameworkcompatence in youthwork and NFE in Europe”.

In the Yellow Brick Road course we have reflected and developed skills around peacebuilding. We have understood, worked around specific concepts and their use. We have asked ourselves, “What is really peace? At the same time, we have also explored the contradictions that defining these concepts can bring us. We were stuck with questions such as: “Are all conflicts negative by essence? or “Does a territory without disturbances mean that it lives in peace or perhaps it lives in such a strong repression that fear does not allow the discomfort to become visible in the form of conflict? And finally, what is the grain of sand that can contribute to all of this? The phrase of Galeano that begins the article is surely the answer.

In Bosnia, and in this course, we have found the strength to take these actions forward – small grains of sand!

I have done all of this following the methodology of non-formal education. We worked in a small group, didn’t give truths for absolutes, and learned all of them from each other. Above all, we remarked the importance of non-judgment and empathy with each other.

This beautiful and enriching experience has been possible thanks to the organization that has been in charge of designing and carrying out this program, which is the SEEYN. An organization that includes countries of the former Yugoslavia and that have been working for many years in the field of peace-building since it is a subject that directly affects their territory, the Balkans. To the trainers, thank you very much for creating this training and let us live it!

I also want to thank the other participants from Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, Poland and Italy. We have also learned a lot from you and it has been a real pleasure to share these days.

…and if we have to point out a recipe for the first step to peace, perhaps we could quote a phrase that came out at the end of a session.

“How to make peace?

Get angry at injustice!”

Zuhair and Mar