Goal: To teach young Syrian refugees about peaceful conflict resolution on an intrapersonal level.
LAL representatives: Jennifer Grund (AIESEC volunteer), Zena Takieddine (volunteer).
As part of its ‘Wirash’ program, LAL is proud to have hosted the ‘Warsha’: “Conflict-Resolution for Children and Young Adolescents” (ages 10-14). The ‘Warsha’ has been organized with the Fratelli Project School and its director, Father Miquel. The school is located on the way to Saida, in the town of Rmeileh.
The Conflict-Resolution workshop targets 3 objectives:
1. Recognize that there are layers of misunderstanding and disagreement hidden beneath an evident conflict.
2. Acknowledge that there are ways to improve communication – as speakers and as listeners – so that misunderstandings and differences can be resolved peacefully.
3. Accept that a non-violent response is a choice that benefits everyone.
- Introduction: We explained the purpose behind the workshop and listed three levels of conflict resolution (global, national, intra-personal), stating our purpose to target the third level: conflict resolution among ourselves as individuals. We then tackled some definitions: a conflict arises when two people have different goals. Goals are based on values and interests.
- Audio-visual presentation: We showed an entertaining animation that demonstrated the evolution of a conflict and the different approaches to its resolution. The animation was based on animal characters and did not rely on spoken language but rather on body language, facial expressions and background music. We asked the students to comment on what struck them most. The aim was to teach them to listen to each other and to speak their mind. We tried not interrupting each other and not finishing each other’s sentences so that everyone had the space to express itself and be heard.
- Self-perception:We re-visited the film and paused it at a point of heightened tension. We asked the students to describe the sensations and the emotions they were experiencing at that moment. Their feedbacks were diverse: fear, anxiety, frustration, anger (some of the boys were eager to pick a fight) as well as helplessness. When the desire for physical violence has been expressed, the chair reminded the students that if fighting might offer immediate relief of tension, it however causes more violence and does not actually fix the problem. The shared negative sensations showed that, when it comes to violence, the attacker, the defender and the observer are all hurt. Hence the choice of non-violence is preferred, sparing everyone.
- The Iceberg Model: We then shared an image of an iceberg to serve as a symbol for conflicts. The top of the iceberg is the individual’s behavior. The submerged part is the person’s attitude, emotions, and beliefs. Therefore, there is always more to a conflict than what is visible, which is why honest communication, and the space for communication, is central.
- Unity and Diversity Practise: We stood into a circle, holding hands, establishing eye contact with everyone, recognizing that we were all equal, no matter the differences. We practiced some breathing exercises together and played simple games to improve the sense of participation and inclusion as part of a whole unity. The next step was to break into separate groups based on some of our differences (birthdates, preferred sports, etc.) The purpose was to demonstrate, in an embodied and spatially engaging way, that we could have multiple allegiances based on circumstances and personal choices.
- Role Playing: The reason for this exercise is to show the four different approaches to conflict resolution. The students were very excited to participate in acting, even though some were very shy. We had prepared a little script: two kids playing ball and one left out. The scene was repeated, but each with a different outcome: from violence to accusation to negotiation, and then to changing the situation so that everyone is included.
- Dissecting Communication: The next exercise was about the four different ways a message could be said and received. A statement can be merely informative, stating a fact. It can indicate something about the person (his/her emotions, motives, etc.). It can also indicate something about the nature of the relationship between the speaker and listener (friendly, aggressive etc.) Lastly, it can be a request.
- Singing: The workshop concluded with some of the students wanting to sing songs. Many were talented and they were all supportive of each other.
Monday April 10th, 2017 at Fratelli Project School, Remeileh