MINELRES: September 2005 Edition Grassroots Good News: Peace Work in Croatia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Oct 3 14:55:22 2005

Original sender: Burkhard Luber <luber@dieschwelle.de>

GGN September 2005 / ToC:

1) An Ordinary Hero 
2) Peace Work in Croatia
3) "Bush Radio" - voice of the opressed in Kapstadt


2) Peace Work in Croatia

Within the Bremen Peace Award the following proposal has been
shortlisted: Since many years a Peace Camp is carried out in in
Latinovac in summer. There young people from all new countries on the
territory of former Yugoslavia are participating and learn alternative
styles of debating, non-violent conflict regulation and the decrease of
enemy images. A special link exists to the town Vukovar with its high
destructions during the Serbian-Croatian war.

Branka Drabek-Milekic, contact person of the center, writes:

Established in 1995, Eco Centre Latinovac, has hosted many educational
programs, cooperative projects, and volunteer initiatives in the areas
of mediation and conflict resolution, environmental awareness, and the
preservation and promotion of cultural traditions and heritage. The
primary project of Eco Centre Latinovac is the ”Seedlings of Peace”
(Peace Camp). This summer camp invites youth from former Yugoslavia
together for workshops, trainings, projects and activities that build
awareness, trust, communication skills and lasting friendships. 

The Peace Camp is an annual summer camp in Latinovac that brings youth
together from all religious and ethnic backgrounds from prewar
Yugoslavia, to build skills and be empowered in the areas of non-violent
communication, active, reflective, and compassionate listening,
mediation, cultural awareness, among other activities. The rural
surroundings, supportive staff, and skills learned in listening and
communicating, combine to create a ”safe container” for participants to
express and receive each other’s views and experiences in a nurturing
and protected environment. This support to take risks with expressing
feelings and experiences opens hearts and minds to creative problem
solving and the recognition of our common humanity. 

Specific skills in non-violent communication, reflective and
Compassionate Listening, and mediation are taught in a workshop
environment by trained and certified facilitators. Other skills in
computer science and fine arts as well as cultural crafts and
environmental awareness are also important elements of the camp
curriculum. In addition, games and exercises that encourage cooperation,
creative problem solving, and systemic thinking are critical for
implementing new concepts in a fun and engaging way. They also act as a
metaphor for situations faced everyday at home as well as attitudes
towards life in general. Another important part of this learning
experience comes from making much of the decisions in camp through
consensus. This process provides a constant opportunity to practice the
skills learned in workshops and trainings.

Each camp has a volunteer work component out in the community. These
projects foster volunteerism among the participants, provide
opportunities to work and cooperate together on a common goal, and are
of service to the surrounding communities. They also serve to build
awareness of the camp in the general public where the work projects take
place. Some of these activities have included reclaiming a city park,
planting trees, and cleaning streets and beaches. Participants also take
part in the maintenance and improvement of the village of Latinovac,
where camp is currently held, by painting in the school and community
house, cleaning and maintaining the church and grounds, and other needs
in the public areas. Maintenance of the camp by cutting grass and doing
yard work, preparing for the coming winter, etc. is also contributed to
by the youth. Participants also contribute on a volunteer basis to the
daily needs of cooking and cleaning. In addition, each year there is a
mosaic or art project to commemorate that year’s camp installed in the
common areas.

Contact: Eko-selo-latinovac@os.tel.hr


Grassroots Good News come to you from The Threshold Foundation
Editor:                   Dr Burkhard Luber
Contact:                  mailto:Luber@dieschwelle.de
English Website at        www.dieschwelle.de

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