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YE-Peer Mediator Today - Peace Maker Tomorrow
Start date: Aug 1, 2015, End date: Jul 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Kuben Upper Secondary School, Oslo, Nansen Dialogue Center Skopje and VSS Mosha Pijade, Tetovo, Macedonia, worked together on a project called Peer Mediators Today – Peace Makers Tomorrow. All three partners have experienced the need for non-violent communication and alternative restorative processes. We see the necessity of making young people active stakeholders in their own mediation process in stead of passive receivers of adult mediation. All partners have extensive competences and skills in the area of conflict resolution, mediation and restorative practices and these skills have lead to non-formal collaboration in the field. We wanted our students to take a greater part in this collaboration - and the students themselves wanted to take ownership of their conflicts and conflict resolutions. Both Kuben and Mosha Pijade established groups for students who wanted to delve deeper into the topic of peer mediation and non-violent communication. These volunteer groups met after school hours. The students were 16-24 years old and in 1st to 3rd year (Kuben) and 3rd or 4th year (Mosha Pijade). The students in the Mosha Pijade group are from the two main ethnic groups in Tetovo; Albanians and Macedonians. The Kuben group had a very multicultural composition, reflecting the entire student mass at Kuben with its' 70 languages and ethnicities. We carried out two joint workshop for these two groups, one which was held outside Tetovo, Macedonia in October 2015. The timetable/activities for this workshop was planned with the help of the participants themselves during the pre-project trip. A delegation of two staff and two students traveled from Kuben to Skopje and Tetovo on a project-planning trip in April 2015. There they met with the Mosha Pijade student group and their mentors and worked together on forming the contents and timetable for that first workshop. The first workshop in October focused on a specific topic each day, and the order in which the topics are laid out was carefully thought through; Day 1 - Introduction, team-building, establishing group cohesion. Day 2 - Identity, cultural diversity. Day 3 - Stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. Day 4 - Conflict analysis, escalation of conflicts, Non Violent Communication. Day 5 - Mediation, Restorative justice. The follow-up workshop in Lillehammer and Oslo, March 2016 focused on building on the results from the workshops in Tetovo October 2015 - what did we learn, and how have we used what we have learned since then - and how to improve upon these knowledges and skills There was also more practical case work in mediation as per the participants' wishes. The stay in Lillehammer included a full day workshop with Nansen Peace Center. Our main objective with this project was to enable students to help resolve conflicts both in the school environment and the local communities, using non-violent communication methods and restorative practices. The participants also gained many personal skills through the project, such as increased language and general communication skills, leadership skills, inter-cultural cooperation and experience. The participants use their acquired mediation techniques in their local community as well as at their respective schools. The project is a valuable resource for professional development for our mentors, through exchange of best practice. It also increased their awareness of other European conflict dimensions; similarities and differences. In addition to other forms of dissemination through channels such as facebook, web-sites and local media, the learning outcomes are also spread through our trained peer mediators and the work they do at their schools and in their local communities in addition to the mediation workshops they could hold at other institutions. The project partners also intended to produce a tool/systematic guide for peer mediation and conflict resolution workshops to be spread through the partners' extensive national, regional and international networks, but this had to be cancelled due to time and resource constraints. However, all three partners have developed training litteratur and methods that have been spread through meetings, visits, conferences and regional and national workshops.

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