From Inner to Outer Peace:
Contribution to a Sustainable Peace in The Balkan Region
During the annual Geneva Peace Week conference, on November 9th 2018, we were honored to present our work that contributes to peace-building in the Balkan Region and the vision for the upcoming HARMONY Project.
Geneva Peace Week 2018 was held from 5th to 10th of November, with 253 speakers and the panel sessions concentrated on the urgency of finding peaceful solutions for the growing risks of violent conflict, building on the lessons from history and the needs for future peacebuilding practice.
Collective security and peace practice represent a rich tapestry of challenges and achievements, as well as devastating failures. Geneva Peace Week reflects on the lessons of a century of liberal internationalism in the service of peace and focuses on the roles that every person, actor and institution can play in building peace and resolving conflict. Awareness of the potentials and pitfalls of these roles is ever more important to build and sustain peace in a turbulent world and to broker the partnerships necessary to address them.
Segregation and violence during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina left dramatic emotional consequences on every individual that was close to it. Although such emotional traumas are visible among locals living in this post-war environment, they are not healed nor discussed but even more deeply imprinted every day as the media, local authorities and even the educational system contribute to further divisions, separations, and differences among people.
On the assumption that the basis to understand others and to live in peace with others is the understanding of oneself, healing trauma, forgiving, and being at peace with oneself, SANCHILD NGO with the support of Justin Friedman organized a one-day workshop From inner Peace to Outer Peace for the youth of B&H. Twenty young people participated in the project with a unique and human-centric approach, based on the Deep Democracy methodology. Upon completion, participants requested that such seminars and projects are organized across the region, bringing hope for a better and collaborative future, which gave us the idea of creating a ripple effect of positive changes and peace that come from within.
– Ivana Zdravkovic, Rotary Peace Ambassador from Belgrade
– Sanela Music, President of SANCHILD Association, member of Rotary Peace Group & Rotary Club Geneva International
– Amina Agovic, B.Sc. in Genetics and Bioengineering, student and participant in the pilot peacebuilding project in Sarajevo, B&H
– Ognjen Gogic, Uppsala Rotary Peace Fellow from Serbia
– Dr Walter Gyger, Former Swiss Ambassador and Rotary International Representative to UN Geneva
During the conference, Ms. Sanela Music and organizer of the mentioned project presented the importance and the context of SANCHILD´s work in the Balkan Region. Ms. Amina Agovic, a young participant explained how, as a local actor, she perceives peace and how the perception of differences among people changes when the perspective of oneself and the environment change. Ms. Ivana Zdravkovic further discussed the proposal to organize similar workshops in the Balkan region and explained how international actors can support such local initiatives. And finally, Mr. Ognjen Gogic made a very nice connection between attitude, behavior and contradiction in conflict, and stated why support is important for young people to unleash their peace-building idealism and to translate it into reality..
I always perceived conflict as something that happens in the environment, on a social, political level. Something not so close to me. Until I realized that every conflict starts within us.
My role was to deliver impressions and experiences from the past workshop, and to explain why I strongly believe that the people from the Balkans can contribute to sustainable peace, by giving themselves a chance to heal, move on, and get to the state of inner peace every day in their lives. If we want to turn the world ‘inside-out’ we have to start from the inside.
Amina Agovic, Geneva Peace Week 2018