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WINTER 1999: v4i1 INDEX

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WINTER, 1999: Volume 4 Issue 1

International Nonviolence Training for Work in Areas of Protracted Conflict by Jill Sternberg

Each year the Center for Education and Networking in Nonviolent Action brings up to 20 people together from across the globe to participate in the international training 'Nonviolence in the Context of War or Armed Conflict.' First organized in 1995, in cooperation with the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, the training is designed to bring peace team participants and activists from conflict areas together to better understand the specific challenges of nonviolent work in situations of daily violence. An international team of activist trainers lead the 15-day program, and bring in outside experts to enhance the scope of the training. The English-language training is held in the Center for Education and Networking in Nonviolent Action, also known as Kurve Wustrow because of its location—on a bend in the main road in the town of Wustrow, Germany. In the four years the course has been offered, more than 70 people from 30 countries have participated.

The training attracts nonviolent activists involved in local campaigns, human rights work and education, and those interested in international peace teams or similar voluntary work. Some peace team organizations, such as Peace Brigades International (PBI) and the Balkan Peace Team (BPT) use the training to prepare their volunteers. The organizers try to invite several people from the same area or even the same organization to diminish the difficulty of sharing the experience and knowledge gained with those at home. The training provides an opportunity to get away from tense conflict situations and the stresses of living with daily violence. By bringing local activists and peace team volunteers together, everyone develops a deeper awareness of the different approaches to nonviolent organizing. Participants depart from the training with a sense of solidarity and connection to the rich world of nonviolent struggle that spans the globe.

The training methodology is primarily elicitive, as is the design process. Participants help shape the training to best meets their needs. The theory and practice of nonviolence is woven throughout the program. The participants choose to concentrate on some of the following topics, depending on their priorities: nonviolent direct action, conflict transformation, intercultural conflict, team work, political analysis, strategy development, dealing with direct violence, conflict intervention, working with refugees, human rights observation and reporting, and reconciliation. Interested participants are encouraged to work with the training team in the design of specific content within the focus areas, and have the opportunity to facilitate some sessions.

The training grew out of a desire to enhance the typical week to 10-day training some peace team organizations offer. It has evolved to serve nonviolent activists from across the globe. By bringing people intending to engage in fieldwork together with people they are likely to work with when they are in the field, both develop a better understanding of these distinct roles and approaches to conflict intervention. Peace team workers develop a greater awareness of the challenges of long-term living in conflict situations, from the physical to the psychological. People living day-to-day in conflict situations learn the similarities and differences across conflicts and fresh approaches to organizing. The role of a third party versus the local activist is examined, as are different forms of conflict intervention, from advocacy to solidarity work, from international campaigning through accompaniment to the nonpartisan observation. In analyzing a variety of conflicts, and the advantages of a variety of approaches, participants develop strategies to tackle and transform obstacles to peace and reconciliation at home. They discover new, creative approaches to be more effective in transforming conflict and confronting injustice. Everyone is encouraged to develop concrete action plans to apply new theory and tools upon returning home or to field.

Kurve Wustrow is located in the Wendland region of Germany, an area with a long history of nonviolent struggle against the nuclear power industry. The government has developed a temporary high level nuclear waste storage site here, with plans for a long-term facility. The local population, with thousands of Germans across the country, have been resisting the waste transportation and storage plans. Training participants learn about, and through, this local nonviolent struggle. This year’s training will be 3-8 July, at Kurve Wustrow in Germany. The training team includes Hagen Berndt, pedagogical director of Kurve with extensive experience in nonviolence training in Europe and Asia; Jill Sternberg, an international consultant in nonviolent conflict transformation and organizing with experience in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Latin America; Stella Tamang, a Nepalese activist and educator with extensive international experience; and Zoughbi Zoughbi, director of Wiam Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem, Palestine. Application deadline is March 1st. For more information and applications contact:

Center for Education and Networking in Nonviolent Action
Jill Sternberg
29 Dalewood Drive
Hartsdale NY 10530 USA
Tel: 914-428-7299 • Fax: 914-428-738
e-mail: jillberg@igc.apc.org


Jill Sternberg is a nonviolence trainer who has been active with Peace Brigades International’s North American Project and Balkan Peace Teams. She is a representative of PBI to FPTP, and was a member of the January1999 AGLI delegation.


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