Upon the invitation of the association “Intelektualet e rinj, Shprese” based in Shkoder, the Mir Centre for Peace will be offering an intensive four-day workshop on Conflict Analysis and Transformation in Albania.
The workshop will be facilitated by Selkirk College’s Peace and Justice Studies faculty Randy Janzen.
Blendi Dibra, PhD, is a lawyer and community activist in Shkoder, Albania, whose goal it is to establish a Peace Studies program at Shkoder University. He also is part of a grassroots community organization called IRSH (Young Intellectuals, Hope), whose main mandate is to raise awareness of human rights and environmental issues in the tiny European nation located just north of Greece on the Adriatic Sea.
“Peace education is really needed in our country,” said Dibra “to provide our people with more tools to manage conflict."
In addition to providing an introduction to the theory and skills for conflict management ranging from the interpersonal to the international, the goal of this course is to strengthen ties between various community-based and academic organizations not only in Albania but also in neighbouring Balkan nations. A number of universities in the greater Balkan region have been collaborating for several years now on how they can further peace education in their region. These courses bring people together to collaborate on how to reduce violence and build cultures of peace through education.
“Teaching familiar content in an unfamiliar context is always a great learning experience. I hope to be able to bring back a new found understanding and awareness to my Peace and Justice Studies classes at Selkirk College," says Janzen.
About the course
Introduction to Conflict Analysis and Transformation
Introduction to Conflict Analysis and Transformation is a dynamic course that will focus on both the theory and practice of conflict resolution. Analyzing conflict from the interpersonal to the global, students will learn how to choose and also practice the skills to work towards peace and justice. The course will emphasize the strategic practices of nonviolence as well as the skills of communication and collaboration.
Each class will consist of discussions, activities, lectures and focus of current events from around the world. In the afternoon, there will be films that are voluntary but will enhance the learning from the class. Students are expected to complete all in-class activities and attend all classes in order to receive a certificate of completion from the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College.
Day One: Introduction to Conflict Analysis
In the first class, we will review a practical model for analyzing conflicts – from the interpersonal to the international. Key concepts will be defined and myths and assumptions about conflict and conflict resolution will be discussed. An emphasis will be placed on foundational tenets of nonviolence and building cultures of peace.
In the afternoon, we will watch a film that will be used as a case study for conflict analysis. We will apply our conflict analysis model to practice our skills.
Day Two: Introduction to Conflict Transformation: Raising Awareness and Addressing Power
On this second day, we will look at frameworks for conflict transformation. These frameworks will allow students to understand how conflict dynamics determine what appropriate strategies are best suited to working towards a vision of peace and justice. Special attention will be given to the concept of power (and how power imbalances impact conflict and can be addressed) and awareness (and strategies of how to build awareness, understanding and critical thinking).
In the afternoon, we will watch a film on nonviolent action case study. Following this, we will have a discussion on practical strategies to create a successful community campaign.
Day Three: Conflict Transformation: Justice, Reconciliation and Healing Relationships
On the third day, our analysis of the conflict transformation framework will focus on how individuals, communities and nations can move from conflict to reconciliation. Practical skills will be reviewed to demonstrate how groups can move towards cultures of peace after contentious relations.
In the afternoon, we will watch a film on forgiveness and reconciliation after genocide. Following this we will have a discussion on the benefits and challenges of truth and reconciliation processes.
Day Four: Skills
On our fourth day, we will finalize our study of conflict transformation by learning and practicing communication and conflict de-escalation skills. These skills will be discussed in terms of their use in reducing conflict not only in general terms but also how activists can use skills to create effective teams and successful campaigns.
In the afternoon, we will engage in activities that help build teams deal with group visioning, problem solving and successful strategizing.
Location of the Course - Shkodra, Albania
Time of the Course - Monday to Thursday, May 8-11, 2017
About the instructor
Randy Janzen, PhD, teaches Peace and Justice Studies at Selkirk College in Canada. He is the past chair of the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College and is a board member of the North American Peace and Justice Studies Association. Randy has studied and/or worked in peacebuilding in Canada, Kosovo, Guatemala, and Israel/Palestine and is also a community mediator. His research interest focuses on unarmed civilian peacekeeping (UCP) and he is a founding member of the international Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping Research Network.