Aaghaz-e-Dosti conducts 4th Peace Building Workshop in Youth Tech Hub Centre, Delhi
Keeping up with the tradition of promoting peace and understanding between the common people of India and Pakistan, Aaghaz-e-Dosti conducts peace building workshops in schools, colleges and alternative learning spaces in India and Pakistan.
Peace building has become integral in order to sustain the society in the new world order. Inter country relations have become dynamic and we need to develop some essential skills to adapt with this dynamism. Some of these skills are assertiveness, active listening, non-violent resistance, empathy, open-mindedness, self awareness etc. Traditional education may not be able to provide such skills. We aimed to initiate this skill development process at the grass roots. The future of our country lies with our youth; we need to invest deeply in them if we dream of a stable and harmonious society. The youth bring more advanced cognitive capabilities to conflict analysis and skill-building, seek deeper social connections outside their family networks, and are therefore capable of greater responsibility and leadership roles. If pursued correctly, they also gain a sense of agency, leadership, and can develop a lasting commitment to building a better society.
With this vision, Aaghaz-e-Dosti conducted its fourth workshop on 17th September 2016 at the Youth Tech Hub, Karol Bagh branch.
Conveners of Aaghaz-e-Dosti Ravi Nitesh and Devika Mittal conducted the workshops along with members of the Delhi chapter Yashika Pahwa. The session started with a quick introduction of the Aaghaz-e-Dosti team, which was followed by an ice-breaking session. The session began with the participants introducing themselves to the group, and sharing the name of a place that they would like to visit. This helped the participants to shed their initial inhibitions as they actively shared their dream destinations.
This was followed by a formal introduction by Devika Mittal about the aim of the workshop. She then discussed the basics of peace and conflict resolution. She asked the participants what they understand about peace. The participants shared their understandings of peace from a personal, everyday context. Peace was regarded as silence, the ability to work in peace, happiness, satisfaction and so on.
Ravi Nitesh then enlightened the participants about the roots of the Indo-Pak conflict; he highlighted the historical aspects and dynamics of this conflict. While initially, most participants did not have much knowledge on how the Indo-Pak conflict affects everyone but through a discussion facilitated by Ravi, the participants reflected on how this conflict has been impacting our country and society directly and indirectly. A young school student said that peace is important because conflict even shapes child psychology. Another person highlighted the huge defense investment and the need to divert them to more urgent and basic needs of our country. Ravi Nitesh helped the participants view the whole issue from perspective different from what is portrayed in mainstream media.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti focused on introducing the skills of communication, anger management, negotiation and mediation to the participants through the workshop. Yashika used experiential activities related to active listening and mediation in order to engage the participants better. The popular game of Chinese Whisper was utilized. Through this game/activity, the role of miscommunication mixed with assumptions and preconceived biases was reflected on, the role of rumors in conflict was explored. In the other activity, the participants were given an everyday situation which they all were asked to solve in their way and reflect upon. The sharing session helped everyone to see if they could solved it in a better way.
The underlying idea was to inculcate these skills at a micro level, so that the participants can use them in their everyday lives. In order to work towards a responsible and harmonious society, we need to initiate change at the grass roots.
The workshop was well received by the participants and the feedback was encouraging. Team Aaghaz-e-Dosti, through this workshop, sought to engage the youth with the importance of peace and conflict resolution not just within the self, but also in families, communities, and in the larger scale, between the countries – India and Pakistan.