Dialogue for Peace Trainings reach the Americas

10 Jul 2019

Panama - With the commitment to become agents of change and promoters of dialogue for their communities and for the Interamerican Scout region, a group of young people from 12 countries and National Scout Organisations participated in the Dialogue for Peace Training of Trainers, a joint programme of the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM).

The event, which was held in Panama City, Panama, took place between July 3 and 6, and allowed for these young people to enhance their skills as trainers and to deepen their knowledge of concepts and principles of dialogue, providing them with new tools to help them understand the benefits of dialogue in conflict resolution and in other areas, as basic as the understanding between people with different ideologies and thoughts.

The participants in the training will now have the responsibility of replicating the Dialogue for Peace trainings in their countries and will become part of the Interamerican Scout Region network of trainers in the field of dialogue.

“It is the first time that a Training of Trainers on Dialogue for Peace programme takes place in this region. We would like to come back and train more people in dialogue, so that they can be multipliers in their countries, in their communities and in Scouting,” said Patrice Brodeur, Senior Advisor at KAICIID.

Discussions are on the way for trainings in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Dialogue versus violence

Since 2014, the Dialogue for Peace programme has been growing successfully around the world. "We have been working with young Scouts in Africa and Asia-Pacific. We have seen young people applying what they have learned in Nigeria, Myanmar, the Philippines or Bosnia, with great impact in their communities. Today, the Interamerican region joins the growing family of Dialogue for Peace trainers and we are very happy to support them," said Brodeur.

The Dialogue for Peace programme is an important part of the KAICIID-WOSM strategic alliance, which aims to make scouts become promoters and facilitators of dialogue, Raúl Sánchez, Regional Director of the Interamerican Region at WOSM explained.

"Dialogue is extremely important throughout the world, but in our region even more so, given the levels of violence and intolerance that exist in some of our countries. Benefiting from this alliance between KAICIID and the Scout Movement, we brought together this group of young people and trained them for three days, so they learn how to teach these courses on dialogue," Sánchez said.

With over 50 million members in more than 170 countries, the Scout movement is the largest non-formal education programme around the world, Mauricio Veayra, Director of the WOSM Youth Programme, explained. “We aim at offering youth a comprehensive education and dialogue is one of our six areas of development”, he said.

Local Ambassadors

Panama was chosen as the meeting venue because the regional headquarters of the Scout movement are in the Central American country. Panama is one of the six regional offices in the world, and for nine years, it has been managing the work of 34 countries, from Canada to Chile, including the entire Caribbean.

The participants were selected based on their previous involvement in Dialogue for Peace awareness trainings in New York and Houston in 2017 and their commitment to become accredited trainers of this programme.

As Scouts and now trainers, young participants are committed to promote dialogue messages and activities. During the training they acquired tools and skills that they can use to facilitate dialogue workshops in their countries and their communities. Now they are part of a network of facilitators, which, depending on the needs, will allow them to bring Dialogue for Peace knowledge to other people, within Scouting and beyond.

"They will have to look for spaces where they can put into practice the skills they develop as promoters of dialogue at the service of their community and of the other Scouts in their countries”, Sánchez said.

Long-term work

According to Patrice Brodeur, KAICIID’s role is to train various actors around the world - from young people and women to political or religious leaders, to learn that dialogue is an effective form of human communication, with long-term effects.

"It is very important that people understand the value of dialogue and apply it in everyday life. This helps at all levels and people of all ages", Brodeur explained.

Among the participants of the meeting were young people from Argentina, Nicaragua, Curaçao and Canada. Based on situations from each of their countries, they shared their experiences and concerns about how to apply the lessons learnt during the training to projects they will develop with the Scout Movement in each of their communities.

One of the participants was Sol Conte. She is 21 years old and has been a Scout since she was eight years old. She travelled from Argentina to acquire more skills and broader knowledge as a Dialogue for Peace trainer, but before being selected for this event, she received trainings in Houston and Azerbaijan.

"The high quality of KAICIID’s content is something that motivates me and makes me think it is a very serious proposal, which not only has to do with a slogan to promote dialogue. I can see there is really a serious content basis that is intended to be disseminated. That is essential," said the young Argentine, who is studying to become a teacher.

Sol is interested in the programme both from the point of view of her personal education and as a base within the Scout Movement, since she considers that "it is absolutely pertinent and necessary to understand dialogue as a tool for the construction of peace within the organization in general, and in the youth program in particular," she said.

Sol was designated as the coordinator of the Dialogue for Peace Programme in Argentina, so she hopes that this type of training will help her design a road map for the application of the programme in her country.

"I do not believe in the stereotype of youth as lost youth. I think the challenge is to find how, on a mutual level of parity with young people, we can think together about the value of dialogue. We have to identify dialogue in our everyday situations, and from there think about how useful it can be," Sol said.

Another young participant was Jean Boden. She is 28 years old, of which she has been 21 in Scouting. Her interest in becoming one of the facilitators of the Dialogue for Peace programme arises from the need to find solutions for the situation in Nicaragua.

"In the Scouts we work with young people from 7 to 21 years, for the creation of leaders and better citizens for a better world. As a former student of the training programme in 2013, together we see the need to train a nationalized leadership in Nicaragua and, why not, implement a dialogue for peace, which we already have at the doors, due to the situation of political confrontation we have," the young Central American said.

Jean pointed out that the fact of having the opportunity to be a facilitator, makes her grow as a person and gives her the tools to be able to assess the conflicts that exist among young people and find the best way to solve them. "Having the support of KAICIID allows us to develop our skills as a trainer, on a personal level and at the level of the Scouting movement," the youth leader said.

Iliene Corsen also participated in the Panama training programme. Originally from Curaçao, she is the first accredited trainer for the Dialogue for Peace programme in the Interamerican Scout region. "On this occasion we want to see how to bring the programme to young people within Scout organizations, to motivate and promote dialogue in the region, through a network," she explained.

According to Iliene’s experience as a Dialogue for Peace trainer, it has been easier to reach young people than adults with messages on the importance of dialogue, because adults "have more formed ideologies and structured paradigms, so it is more difficult to change their way of seeing things,” she said while at the same time underlining the importance of intergenerational dialogue.

Iliene indicated that within Scouting there was already the topic of dialogue, but never as explicit as in KAICIID’s training programme, so she hopes that the initiative will be replicated in more countries, with the intention of carrying the message more effectively to more people.