Integrated Learning for Peace at IBU: Marking the end of a series of twelve workshops

IBU InFocus

Saturday, 14th of January, marked the end of the six-day-long blended mobility within the ERASMUS-funded program Integrated Learning for Peace. Twelve workshops were organized by the Department of English Language and Literature at International Burch University and these workshops were attended by 30 young people from Bulgaria, Montenegro, Spain, Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The first Monday workshop was held by prof.dr. Zilka Spahić-Šiljak, who talked about the role of different genders in peace building and discussed the topic „Women do peace – men negotiate it. Economic empowerment and peacebuilding“ in a very interesting way.

The 2nd workshop was held by Prof. Murat Oner, who discussed the role of literature in peace promotion and introduced the topic: „Poetry matters: Robert Frost and the narratives of negotiation.“ Tuesday's workshops were devoted to the role of multilingualism in peace promotion and the presence of peacebuilding in education. Thus, prof. dr. Vildana Dubravac held a workshop on “Reconciling differences – a multilingual turn” and emphasized the role language plays in peacebuilding; peace as a concept means knowing, understanding and tolerating others and the medium which enables this is very often language.

The second workshop was held by prof. dr. Senad Bećirović, who familiarized participants with the topic of “Peacebuilding through school curricula and textbooks”. Professor Bećirović emphesized that, intercultural education should be particularly incorporated in textbooks to prepare students for real life situations, to teach them how to overcome obstacles in intercultural communication.

The first Wednesday workshop was held by prof. dr. Alija Kožljak, who gave a presentation on “European security after Madrid Summit”. The professor firstly dicsussed European security, international security, and NATO summit in Madrid and then presented the European Security Architecture, talked about OSCE, EU, NATO and the member countries as well as about the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the NATO's response.

The second workshop on Wednsday was marked by a workshop on "Reporting on conflict: What is the role of peace journalism", held by prof. dr. Amer Džihana. The participants focused on the topic of journalism, articles and fake news, and discussed podcasts as a new form of journalism. They talked about the current journalism and gave some ideas about the future of journalism taking into account all new forms that have appeared and that might appear in the forthcoming period.

Two interesting workshops were also held on Thursday by prof. dr. Adis Maksić and prof. dr. Amna Brdarević-Čeljo. Prof. Maksić focused on “The role of emotions in ethnic nationalism” and the participants had a chance to learn more about the Bosnian 1992-1995 war and about the situation in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina and the importance of peacebuilding for the Balkan region. Prof. Brdarević-Čeljo discussed “The role of language in peace promotion: Combating linguistic profiling and linguistic discrimination”and pointed out how people should not be judged or denied equal opportunities because of the way they speak.

The participants then gave some interesting proposals on how to combat this type of discrimination on social media, in the workplace, in education and many other domains. Friday's workshops also discussed some very interesting topics. Firstly, prof. Amra Pandžo discussed the topic of “Conflict transformation” and held a workshop which allowed the participants to practice overcoming obstacles and find common ground in every-day communication. Secondly, prof. dr. Ceylani Akay introduced the topic of cultural biases and their affect on communication and the students were engaged in activities that were about “Understanding miscommunication across cultures”. The final day of the mobility was also marked with some very interesting workshops held by prof. dr. Jasmin Hasić and prof. dr. Elma Dedović-Atilla. Prof. Hasić discussed “Youth and gender-based perspectives on local peacebuilding: Examples from B&H and WB region” and some interactive discussions arose about foreign narratives and peace building outcomes. Prof. Dedović-Atilla discussed “Intercultural communication in peace building” and mediated an interactive discussion with the participants regarding the question of cultural representation and cultural differences.

This mobility aimed to provide a useful learning experience for young members of different communities, since they are the ones that hold our future in their hands. The participants expressed their satisfaction with the whole event and emphasized that they were very satisfied with the quality of all the workshops. The coordinator of the project, prof. dr. Senad Bećirović expressed his great satisfaction with the project implemention and the organized workshops as well as with the participants' participation. The other two project implementers, prof. dr. Amna Brdarević-Čeljo and prof. dr. Vildana Dubravac, also emphasized that they hope some similar projects and events will be hosted by our university in the future.

IBU InFocus