WISCOMP organized a two day Peacebuilding workshop on “Enriching Democratic Practice in South Asia: Possibilities from the Field of Peacebuilding”, in collaboration with Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), South Asia on October 30 – 31, 2010 at India International Center, New Delhi.
The workshop brought together fifty four young leaders to reflect on how the evolving discourses on peacebuilding and democracy can complement each other. The objective of the workshop was to empower the participants with the skills, knowledge and motivation to engage in processes of peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
The participants came from diverse disciplinary backgrounds including Political Science, International Relations, Journalism, Development and Peacebuilding and represented diverse nationalities – Afghanistan, India, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Uganda.
The participants were familiarized with the theoretical underpinnings of peacebuilding and democracy and the current debates and issues around them. The panel discussions drew from the expertise of both academics and practitioners. The workshop not only explored the political and socio-economic parameters in peacebuilding but also the crucial role spirituality can play. ‘Beyond Our Differences’, a documentary by Peter Bisanz, shed light on the positive role spirituality and religion can play in mitigating or diffusing tensions.
At one of the sessions, participants reflected on the strengths that could be imbibed from the conflict prevention approach and identified the weaknesses and challenges of this framework drawing upon examples from Afghanistan, India and Nepal. Participant presentations furthered the goal of exchange of ideas on various themes including: Diversity, Difference and Coexistence; Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation; Conflict Prevention; and the Role of Women in Peacebuilding. As part of the skill building component, a module on dialogue and negotiation was integrated into the program.