mir – paqe – мир – peace 2015

Dojran 15 – 24 May 2015

During the last phase of the Training for Trainers organised by CNA in 2014, there was an idea to organise peacebuilding training in multiple languages for citizens of Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo. It was no easy task, but we very much wanted to try. The training team was made up of three participants in the TfT – Albulena Karaga (Megjashi – Skopje), Nataša Okilj (CNA) and Jasna Dimitrijević – and two experienced trainers, Nexhat Ismajlij (ANP – Action for Nonviolence and Peacebuilding – Gnjilane) and Nenad Vukosavljević (CNA) whose help and support were invaluable to the process. We held our first meeting in February 2015 in Skopje and agreed on a framework concept, as well as the place and time for the nine-day training on Introduction to Peacebuilding – Star Dojran from 15 to 24 May 2015.

We received 75 applications, from Serbia (23), Macedonia (23), and Kosovo (29). We selected 18 participants and hired expert translation professionals Naila Kecmendi and Ismet Ballazhi.

And then, two days before the training team was to travel to Dojran for preparations, the ‘anti-terrorist action’ in Kumanovo was conducted with the media reporting of 20 people killed. So we asked ourselves – what now? We were unsure whether to postpone the training, because there was no way of knowing whether the violence would spread, or to set off for Macedonia and wait to see what would happen and whether the participants would confirm their arrival. The participants themselves were not sure whether they should come or not, but by the start of the training, the situation had stabilised and we could go ahead as planned and with even more motivation to work on peacebuilding. Not despite the escalation of violence, but because of it.

We started the training with two participants fewer than planned, because we could not find replacements for those that cancelled at the last minute. We then decided to invite our colleague Aleksandra Bogdanovska from Skopje to be our support and resource person, and she joined us on the fifth day of the training, significantly contributing to our worn on understanding the Macedonian context.

Trainings with consecutive interpretation are not easy to plan or implement. During our preparations, we could not precisely define the dynamics of the training, but Nexhat from ANP, who has a lot of experience running multi-language trainings, provided some valuable guidance. We decided that the exercises should focus on sensitisation to violence, understanding conflict and creating a basis for peacebuilding activism, but that we also need to broach dealing with the past and gender issues. We started cautiously and slowly. However, to our great pleasure, the group was curious and open for in-depth exploration, so on account of their dynamics and interest, we adapted our plan and focused more on conflict resolution. We felt the participants strongly wanted to learn about the contexts, overcoming obstacles, exchanges, cooperation, and this was a clear indication to us that we could move beyond an introduction to peacebuilding. We finally arrived at a training concept whose complexity and topics were not much different from Basic Training in Peacebuilding, but working with interpretation did dictate a slower tempo.

We now ask ourselves – what next? We have learned much from each other, and we want to create more opportunities for new learning. The participants told us on more than one occasion that this sort of training was something they very much needed and that they will work on planning trainings specifically focused on the contexts of Serbia, Macedonia, and Kosovo. The remaining open question is whether participants from Albania could be involved at a later training, and whether we should try organising this type of training in English as the working language.

In these nine days, we have gathered a heap of ideas for similar trainings to be further developed, improved and implemented. We believe that Mir– paqe – мир 2015 is just the first of a series of trainings.


Impressions from the Introductory Peacebuilding Training (Dojran, 2015) Elena Dimovska

Impressions from the Introductory Peacebuilding Training (Dojran, 2015) Tatjana Malinović