Sà-wàt-dee ka, สวัสดี !
Our presenter and facilitator this week was Martine Miller the Director Asia (Regional) & Inclusive Engagement (Global), Network for Religious Traditional Peacemakers, MFA Finland . Ms. Martine Miller is mediator and conflict transformation specialist with over 20 years of experience—with communities, government and UN agencies, regional bodies (i.e. EU, AU, ASEAN), and a range of inter/national non-governmental organizations coupled with academic institutions. Her work has engaged her directly in fluid war to post-war reconstruction and development contexts across over 75 countries worldwide. Ms. Miller is working on the rise of religious framed extremism as the Director for Asia (Regional) and Gender (global) for the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers.
This was an academic and content heavy week. There was (again) lots of pre-reading provided and I can attest to the fact that this was a much necessary task to accomplish our group work successfully! Instead of listing each days topic, I am going to summarize and touch on the topics instead. Hopefully this will be a bit more interesting then just rewriting our agenda (the daily agenda is listed in the learnings tab for anyone interested).
We began our week with discussions on the “context” and field of conflict analysis. We discussed international and humanitarian law, topics I don’t often get much exposure to as a municipal police officer, but what need to do so!
Even in my moderately sized City of Winnipeg, we see people affected by global atrocities. We should be informed about why this is so, so that we may respond appropriately, legally , ethically and compassionately.
Words are important even in our class discussions the specific meaning and individual comfort with of “conflict” varied. This impacted peoples perceptions and comfort level being around or working with “conflict”.
Conflict by itself is not bad (I do not mean armed conflict in this point). There will always be conflict between peoples, that is natural and “ok”. HOW we address (or if we address) the conflict is what is important to focus on, as it may lead to transformational change and (ideally) “positive peace” . Agree to disagree, adapt and /or address. All valuable and needed.
The Institute for Economics and peace has created “The 2018 Positive Peace Report” which ” outlines a new approach to societal development through the application of Positive Peace and systems thinking”. See their website and download the report, from the link – http://economicsandpeace.org/reports/
In 2008 the UN General Assembly stated “JUSTICE is understood as meaning ACCOUNTABILITY and FAIRNESS in the protection and vindication of rights, and the prevention and redress of wrong” , as someone involved in our own local “justice system” . Protection of rights and prevention of their abuse assists justice. As someone involved in community advocacy and the justice system, this speaks to me.
How to address conflict? First step is to figure out what it is you want to prevent or redress, then you may act. The challenge of course is that the “problem” are usually complex and there is not just one thing to act on rather there are many layers. How to peel the onion?
First analysis and figure out the context of the problem or issue and then come up with a plan. That is what we did the remainder week three; conflict analysis models and tools. We broke into groups to discuss and practice the models. My group was working in the areas of peacekeeping. We chose to work on a colleagues individual conflict analysis topic. Impact of Internally displaced people – due to the actions of the Boko Haram in Nigeria in post conflict reconstruction. Watch the utube video to get an idea of the “context”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJvh42OqWgw
We worked on several models
After working on models all week it was clear that some models were helpful to get you started and just to help sort out some simple concepts and then you needed to build on other tools as your analysis became complex.
We presented USAIDS Conflict Analysis Framework tour class, using our group work to explain to class. There are many versions of this tool but I really liked it because it allowed for us to adapt and build in responses to different scenarios.
Finally, I must admit that,even though I am here 3 months and that seems like an extraordinary amount of time. In reality it only allows me to touch the surface on most of the material presented. Thankfully, each week is so impactful it has really energized and challenged me each class to think of ways that I might apply these tools back at home AND how I might create partnerships and networks to expand the reach of our work. Exciting times!
Rātrī s̄wạs̄di̒ – ราตรีสวัสดิ์ – good night.