Confronting Painful Pasts in Building Better Futures for Arabs and Jews: Beersheva, 2011:
On November 26-27, 2010 ICfC and Ossim Shalom lead an intensive weekend retreat for the Hajar Inter-Communal Leadership Training Group in Beersheva, Israel. This group, an NGO composed of concerned Arab and Jewish residents in the area, recently established a new bilingual elementary school in Beersheva, one of only five ethnically mixed schools in Israel. The children come from Bedouin families, Israeli-Palestinian families, and Jewish families of the region.
This joint undertaking and more has proven that the Hajar group has a genuine, steadfast commitment to peace and pluralism with one another. However, even the most established, capable bi-national groups in Israel are susceptible to disintegration when political disasters strike, as many residual and unresolved conflicts, pains, suspicions, and tensions lie beneath the surface, thwarting imagination and inhibiting action.
Therefore, ICfC and Ossim Shalom worked with the Hajar group to provide them with the critical tools necessary to ward off the potential for falling apart during difficult political times. A group of 15 participants from Hajar, including the school’s parents and board members, participated in a series of Historical Conciliation workshops and the intensive weekend retreat.
Click here to read the full report: Confronting Painful Pasts in Building Better Futures for Arabs and Jews in Beersheva, January 2011
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ICfC-Cambodia is happy to annouce that after the successful completion of the first round of the Training of Trainer project in Cambodia, a second round is in its first stages of implementation. The Training of Trainer (TOT) project aims to further increase the capacity of local Cambodians in past project sites to continue discussions of the past and handle conflicts rooted within that history. The Khmer Rouge regime left a nationwide legacy of poor conflict management skills and a culture of avoidance in discussing problems. More specifically, the Khmer Rouge regime damaged the basic infrastructure of Cambodian society (e.g. community solidarity and reliance on elders) and the traditional method of resolving conflicts (e.g. local authority or elders as mediators). By providing training in dialogue facilitation and mediation techniques, ICfC Cambodia further empowers villagers – including respected village leaders and females – to resolve local everyday problems instead of ignoring them.
Thus far, 36 villagers received training in dialogue facilitation and mediation techniques. Of those 36 villagers, 11 volunteered to be local facilitators. These local facilitators conducted their own dialogues in which 81 villagers participated. These dialogue participants were often former Khmer Rouge cadres or base people, who also discussed their own sense of victimization during the KR time period. One local facilitator in Prey Veng said, “After I participated in the program, I gained knowledge and skills in interviewing and facilitating discussion in the community. Before, I did not have experience in this. This work provided a good opportunity for me to understand how to improve community life.”
Furthermore, the TOT program helped villagers understand the importance of resolving conflicts, as opposed to the cultural norm of keeping quiet and avoidance of mentioning problems. One local facilitator in Kampot province said, “By resolving conflicts, it improves the spirit of the family, community, and the whole country.” He later discussed how the training and project work with former Khmer Rouge cadres made him believe in the importance of reconciling relations between victims and former Khmer Rouge to increase the strength and solidarity of the community. This belief translated to project participants, with many villagers and former Khmer Rouge feeling less fearful and more at ease to speak about their experiences during the Khmer Rouge regime.
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