„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


30th November 2017

When thinking about places associated with peace, reconciliation and diversity - Berlin is definitely one of the first to come to ones mind.

With troubled past, once divided... It was the place that signalled the change some 30 years ago and laid the foundation of Europe that we know and live in today - a vivid symbol of fight for freedom and inclusion.

And it was in Berlin during November 11-18, 2017 where 30 young people from 15 countries across Europe came together within YMCA Europe "Roots for Reconciliation" (RfR) Project Peace Work Institute (PWI) Training Session.

The PWI is one of the key components of YMCA Europe RfR programme in 2016-2019, with the aim to empower youth opinion leaders in acting for change in their sending organizations and respective communities as multipliers of peace culture and movement.

Berlin Session was the second and graduating activity within the scheme, with most participants familiar with each other from the first Session held in Tbilisi, Georgia in April 2017 (read more about fist session) and having completed due tasks in between the activities in their home settings.There were some drop-outs among participants after the first Session, but this is rather norm in the age of active youth mobility... We surely missed them, but new faces that we welcomed in the group made up for it.

Not only some participants were new - the module on "Conflict Context Anlysis" delivered by Wolfgang Heinrich (One of the most outstanding experts in "Do No Harm" Methodology; former trainer at Bread for the World) was definitely the highlight of Session and gave new insights about conflict-sensitive apporach in peace work to participants.

The event served as a platform for pre-determined Tandem Groups to spend most of the working week together elaborating action plans for 2018.

  • Results?! - 3 sub-projects to take place in different corners of Europe involving PWI Alumni and others from their sending countries and organizations.
  • How?! - The roads are many, but our participants opted for Art and Digital Activism as their main tools to promote peace and reconciliation across the continent. Observing the talent and commitment among them, they can not but succeed.

In Berlin they all graduated from Peace Work Institute, but their real journey just began...

Learn more from our participants blog posts

Check out the full photo album


Peace Work Institute session II - 2017

Author/Source: Rezvaz Shavladze, YMCA Europe Project Assitant