The factors that make dialogue important to peace building
Dimapur, Nov. 24 (EMN): The objective of dialogue is to open an inclusive process where communication is based on mutual respect and acceptance, and on building common understanding by letting go of differences and misunderstanding.
These were some of the tenets taught to participants at a peace building programme organised by peace advocates Peace Channel in Chumukedima recently.
On November 21 at Chumukedima in Dimapur St. Joseph Parish Women Society conducted a training session on dialogue under the aegis of Peace Channel. Vitono Haralu, project coordinator at Peace Channel, was the resource person for the program.
The organisation issued a press release to the media giving details about the programme.
In her address to the event, Haralu said dialogue is a tool to creating positive change in a given situation from personal to collective spaces. It is an essential tool that breaks down barriers across the divides in the society, she said.
“It creates new grounds for mutual respect and collaboration to address underlined conditions that generate grievances and conflicts such as poverty, inequity, discrimination and social exclusion,” the press release stated.
‘The main objective of dialogue is to open an inclusive process where communication is based on mutual respect and acceptance, transforming and deepening understanding of others and ourselves through listening, sharing and questioning.
Haralu began the session by asking the participants to speak about their understanding of the term dialogue, the updates stated.
‘Some replied saying the process of dialogue is negotiation, communication, exchange of views and opinions and finding a common ground to resolve the issue.’
Haralu said dialogue is basic process for building common understanding by letting go of the differences and misunderstanding.
It is focused and intended conversation, it is a space for civility and equality in which those who differ may speak and listen to each other, she said.
The intention of dialogue is not to advocate but to enquire, not to argue but to explore, not to convince but to discover, she said. Basing on that tenet, she conducted an exercise in confilict resolution. The participants were divided into groups and a conflicting situation was put forward. The matter was solved with the intervention of a third party such as a counsellor whose duty is to be impartial and solve the issue between the conflicting individuals, the updates stated.
“In the process she led the participation to also look into the need to reconcile and make a resolution to negotiate on shared solidarity and understanding of both sides with the intent to resolve the conflict,” the updates stated.
The participants were told that there is a great need to have women to get involved in peace building and to be part of the negotiating table in lobbying, facilitating and mediating for the larger interest of the community. That itself serves the common purpose of the society as a whole in uplifting socio economic and political empowerment goals ‘on equal grounds,’ the updates added.
Mediation by peers
A similar programme was conducted at MGM College where participants were taught how to resolve conflicts through peer mediation, a separate press release stated.
MGM College inaugurated a ‘peer mediation’ programme on November 19 under the aegis of Peace Channel. Here too, Haralu was the resource person for the program. She told the participants that peer mediation was all about problem-solving by youths with youths.
‘It is a process by which students help their peers to solve their issues non-violently. It is a process by which two or more students involved in a dispute meet in private, safe and confidential setting to work out problems with the assistance of a trained student mediator,’ the gathering was told.
Haralu said peer mediation is one of the best ways to resolving conflict in educational Institutions.
‘The main objective of peer mediation is to enhance the skills and techniques of an individual in resolving conflict in different levels. It develops the confidence and leadership qualities of the peer mediator,’ she said.
‘The core concept of peer mediation is providing correct information, building capacity of individual and enabling them to understand issues by building team spirit, providing equal opportunities for participation and by creating more peer educators.’
Further, the gathering was told that it helps young people to articulate their feelings and solve it collectively, and tackle issues such as bullying, discrimination and racism in the institutions.
‘Peace Channel under peer mediation will train and help young people on how to hold dialogue, mediate, and facilitate issues/problems,’ the organisers stated in the press release.
The project coordinator urged the participants to believe in their selves and to pursue to possess qualities of peace makers.
“Peace building is a process and to be a peer mediator, one needs to understand conflict and to intervene in conflict situations starting from our homes to our society and learn to manage conflicts,” the updates stated.