Well, it has been only four days since the Pilot Program started, yet I can say that this program wasn’t what I expected, it is even better. I have been in exchange programs, I took part in women conferences and I held leading positions on different occasion; yet I never had it all at once. The Andi Leadership institute for Young Women has it all together to nurture 21st century peace-builders.
The variety of the program participants is at the core of its effectiveness. The program is formed from 8 young women leaders from four different countries, we take classes together, we propose our disagreements loudly and we discuss them peacefully. My roommate is American and the young leader next room is Syrian. This is where real peace-building takes place, where you come back home and live with the person you disagreed with two hours ago. We try hardly to accept each other, learn about other cultures, and understand their way of thinking; it is hard, yet achievable.
Well, I guess the question of how it is achievable just crossed your mind. It is achievable because we are taking a series of workshops that enrich our understanding of the issues we are facing and open our minds to new ways of dealing with them. Two days ago we had a conflict resolution workshop and part of that was conflict transformation; this last concept changed the way I look at differences and problems. Basically, the goal of conflict transformation is to look at our problems as processes, not open-end questions; adding to that is trying to look at the problem from a different angle. This might seems obscure, but actually it is very helpful once you start embedding the idea and then apply it to the simple conflicts we face on daily bases. Conflict resolution workshop is not everything, we had other peace-building workshops and we have many scheduled for the next two weeks; so the process of learning is still on going. I certainly admit that this experience is going to be one of the most challenging experiences I will have in my life, yet one of the most enriching ones.