Dialogue instead of War and Violence

Participants of a dialouge seminar in the maze

Since 1994, the project Speak up – Dialgoues across Borders (formerly Vacation from War) demonstrates in an exemplary manner how young people in war and crisis zones are curious to meet the alleged enemies face-to-face. Inspite of prejudice and hate, they do not trust the prevailing respective propaganda anymore and undertake the challenge of getting to know the „enemy“ personally. The dialogues are not bound to any preconditions, other than the willingness and openess to talk to each other.  (Concept and Design)

Dialogue Seminars for Young adults from Israel and Palestine

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Participants at a “one-on-one-talk“ during a dialogue seminar

Every year, we invite young adults from Israel and Palestine to participate in two-week dialogue seminars in Germany. Their time together is shaped by controversial discussions, shared experiences of frustrating situations, the confrontation of own fears, the struggle for recognition and coming closer together and compromising. Many participants learn to put themselves into ourselves into the other sides‘ shoes, and be it only for a short time. Oftentimes, participants describe the experience as transformative with respect to their view of “the other side”, some even feel it has been a life-changing experience and engage in peace-initiatives in Palestine and Israel after the seminar experience.

Encounters in the former Yugoslavia

In the former Yugoslavia, participants adapted their message of peace to the altered circumstances: “Building peace!” Youngsters from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia spend two weeks together at the seaside, get to know each other, discover similarities and overcome mutual prejudices. In workshops, they reflect upon and discuss the violent past of their region and its effects on the present situation. They afterwards oftentimes get involved in diverse initiatives working towards tolerance and against nationalism.