Call for Participants: Capacity building for work in and with conflict regions

Thanks to a joint cooperation of SCI Germany, SCI Italy, UTILAPU Hungary and VCZ Croatia you can now apply for a seminar which definitly sounds like you should take a look at:

Who:Due to the funding, you can only apply if you are living in a member country of the Council of Europe

What: Capacity building for work in and with conflict regions

When: 20 – 27th January, 2014

Where: Germany, in Barnsdorf (near Bremen)

Reimbursement: All costs of the programme (including food, accommodation, internal travel) will be covered by the organisers and 66% (airplane), 75% (other than airplane) of international travel costs will be reimbursed. Registration fee of the seminar is 50 Euros.

How: Send the filled in “Call for participants_ Capacity building for work in and with conflict regions” to your sending organisation, which has to forward it to (details in the call for participants).

Applications deadline: Before the 22nd of November 2013

International seminar about capacity building of volunteers working in conflict areas will be taking place from 20.1.2014. – 27.1.2014. in Bremen, Germany.

It is the main part of a joint project “Volunteering for peace – Capacity building for work in and with conflict regions”of SCI Germany, SCI Italy and SCI Hungary (UTILAPU), funded by Council of Europe.

The project will bring together 25 volunteers from the SCI international network with 2 experienced trainers from Italy and Croatia, to work together on the themes of psychology of war, conflict resolution, skills of mediation, nonviolent communication and facilitation skills for work in this area. It will also try to address participants needs stemming from experience as volunteers in confict regions.

The project is in line with previous SCI peace building activities such as the work of “No more war” group.
The additional value of the project is including practical issues of working with people from conflict areas – what helps, what can we as volunteers do, what are the limits of responsibility we have as helpers, how to prevent burn out syndrome of helpers.

As a result there will be a training manual for working with volunteers working in/going to conflict areas produced, and we expect participants to further this work upon returning to their home countries.

Syria – is there still reason to hope?

Dear all,

the situation in Syria is getting worse and worse. Citizens are being massacred, the state denies any responsibility for its affiliated troops and the opposition (at least the part that gets media time here in Germany) is calling for civil war. And yet, there is still a small hope. We have seen how slow and driven by self-interest large nations are reacting or changing their position. But apart from finding a way of removing Assad from office and ignored ceasefires, we have also seen that pressure is rising from all sides on the UN Security Council to act.

Right now though, there is another chance to help, and that is by trying all we can to stop weapon deliveries to Syria! One chance has been identified by the avaaz network and they started a campaign today for which they need as many signatures as possible. A Russian weapons manifacturer, Rosoboronexport, is delivering weapons to Syria still. To put pressure on them, we can pressure the two biggest buyers of their weapons, India and USA, into stopping their contracts, if Rosoboronexport continues to deliver weapons to Syria.

You can sign the petition here:  and as important, you can share this link so others can sign it, too! This is not the perfect solution, but it definitely is worth a try! If doing what I can is giving just a signature for stopping arms trades to Syria, I gladly will give that signature!

Hope comes in different shapes, one Syrian proponent of nonviolence is returning home as well. Ken Butigan over at wrote an article on the immediate return of Sheik Jawdat Said to Damascus. The article refers to a very interesting interview he gave on NPR last week:

“We need to get rid of armies. Soldiers are rifles used by others,”

Then there is Iara Lee, a filmmaker who worked at the Turkish-Syrian border and spoke with Syrian refugees there wrote this article last month, which brings at least some insight and again a different point of view to this complex situation and more reason for hope for nonviolent solutions:

There actually was a comment there, speaking about non-violence turning into a kind of religious thing you would have to belief in. On the contrary, non-violence is both art and science of not killing and not hurting people in conflicts. It needs research, training and yes, it needs hope for a better future like any other form of interaction.