detail - Foundation Office Syria and Iraq
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Against this backdrop, the Al-Haq Organization for Human Rights, with the financial support of the Syria/Iraq Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), organized training workshops on peacebuilding and social cohesion for young social and political activists in the Kirkuk governorate. From July to November of 2018, five workshops with 25 participants each were held in order to raise awareness on the importance of mediation in conflict solutions. During the three-day workshops a total of 125 young activists from different ethnic and religious backgrounds were introduced to the different steps of conflict mediation.
To strengthen the participants’ ability as mediators, the young people were taught about the preparation phase of mediation, as well as the different techniques of it, such as informative listening. Moreover, they learned how to approach the different actors of a conflict and how to handle their various interests and needs as well as how to face the different types of conflict through allocating certain roles to the mediator.
Besides these theoretical lessons a large part of the training was based on roleplay, making the participants take on different perspectives each time. These exercises prepared them for future practical work when they should be able to consider the point of view of each party involved in the conflict, in order to establish a respectful climate. At the end of each workshop, they also handled a real conflict case together with the trainer, which became a great source of reference for them to return to in their future work.
The training emphasized the importance of the involvement of youth in conflict resolution and successful social coexistence, as these young activists are the main hope of spreading a culture of peace within their society. For the young activists these workshops were a great opportunity to get more involved in the peacebuilding mechanism. In the long run, the governorate of Kirkuk as a society of mixed ethnic and religious communities should aim at becoming an example of peaceful coexistence for other areas in Iraq.