The recently concluded Conflict Transformation Through Empathetic Peace Education Program's Summer Academy in Prishtina has successfully brought together participants from Prishtina and Belgrade to engage in constructive dialogue and foster lasting friendships. The four-day event, organized by the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) and the Balkan Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), aimed to promote conflict transformation and empathetic peace education.
From May 14th to May 17th, the Summer Academy provided a platform for participants to enhance their skills in conflict resolution and negotiation techniques. Distinguished speakers and trainers, including renowned negotiation expert Mr. Wilbur Perlot, engaged the attendees in situational negotiation exercises, equipping them with valuable tools for resolving conflicts peacefully.
The program also included an insightful session titled "Mapping Needs: Me and Others" by Ms. Tamara Tomašević. This session aimed to develop participants' understanding of diverse perspectives and foster empathy, essential qualities for building bridges between conflicting parties.
Dea Fetiu, led formal debate training sessions that honed participants' abilities to present and argue their ideas effectively. These sessions encouraged critical thinking and offered practical strategies for engaging in constructive debates.
PhD Filip Ejdus, introduced an innovative element to the Summer Academy through a session titled "Let's Play - Negotiations and LEGO." This interactive exercise utilized LEGO bricks as a tool for simulating negotiations, allowing participants to explore different strategies and approaches to conflict resolution in a creative and engaging manner.
Another highlight of the Summer Academy was the simulation of a dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, led by PhD Lazar Marićević. Participants assumed the roles of key stakeholders and engaged in constructive discussions, replicating the complexities of real-world negotiations. This exercise offered a unique opportunity to experience the challenges and dynamics involved in resolving the longstanding conflict between the two parties.
Aside from the intensive training sessions, participants also had the chance to immerse themselves in the cultural life of Prishtina. Various cultural activities provided a platform for individuals from different backgrounds to connect on a personal level, further strengthening the bonds of friendship and understanding.
The Conflict Transformation Through Empathetic Peace Education Program's Summer Academy received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants. Many expressed gratitude for the opportunity to develop new skills, broaden their perspectives, and forge meaningful connections with individuals from different communities.
As the Summer Academy drew to a close, participants left with newfound insights, lasting friendships, and a renewed commitment to promote peace in their communities. It is hoped that the lessons learned and the connections made during the event will contribute to a more harmonious and empathetic future in the region.
This activity is supported by the U.S. Department of State.