Seminar: Fundraising and Organisational Presentation
(held in Jablanica, 20-23 May 1999)

One member of the CCPN participated in a seminar "Fundraising and Organisational Presentation", held in Jablanica, a small historical town in B&H. The seminar was organised by the QPS (Quaker Peace and Service) office in Sarajevo.

The seminar was attended by 23 participants from 15 different organisations from B&H and Croatia, and led by trainers from B&H and Slovakia. A lot of interesting and useful information about the most important issues for every organisation was shared during the workshops, which were held from early morning until late at night.

The seminar was visited by two guests: a representatives of the Soros organisation (Open Society BH, Sarajevo) and one from Save the Children. Meeting these guests was a good chance to make useful contacts and practice the skills gained in the workshops.     (Tuzla, May 1999)

Consultation for Peace and Mediation Work in Kosovo
(held in Geneva, 16-17 August 1999)

The "Consultation for Peace and Mediation Work in Kosovo" was organised by the Conference of European Churches (CEC). More than 20 participants from different member organisations of WCC were included in the work of this small but very important meeting. The Centre for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence from Tuzla, B&H (represented by Cvijeta Novakovic), was the only local organisation from the crises region.

The first working day started with a common lunch, and continued in the afternoon, in the wonderful environment of the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, a five-hundred year old castle with a nice modern library, in front of which greets you a 10 meter high Indian totem, a present from Canada.

The work began with a few minutes of prayer for peace for people all over the world, and an introduction of the aim of the conference. The picture of Kosovo emerged from several detailed reports by participants who had observed the situation. Experiences shared with the conference highlighted many small, but important details, and made this picture more complete. Unfortunately, there were no participants from local organisations in Kosovo and Serbia, who could have expressed their own experiences, needs and hopes, and give an essential dimension to the picture of Kosovo.

In comparing the situation and experiences between Kosovo and Bosnia, many similarities, but also differences, came out. One positive example of willingness for dialogue was shown by young people who worked together in mixed group from the region (both parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia) in conflict resolution training (Budapest, June 1998), just at the beginning of the Kosovo war.

In short, every aspect of the situation in Kosovo is very hard: humanitarian aid, security, policy, human rights, democracy etc. In an especially difficult situation are minorities, including the Kosovar Serbs. Good will would include giving the Orthodox Church some part in the peace process expected of the international community and ecumenical councils.

The issues which arise from that picture are big and urgent in every aspect, and require broad, long term peace work, not only in Kosovo but in the whole south-Slav region, whose parts should now be as closely connected in the peace-building process as they were connected in the dissolution of peace.

One question placed before the conference regarded the definition of peace and mediation work. Consideration of the question showed the broad extent of peace and mediation work, and the huge number of steps and actions required.

All the groups, churches, ecumenical organisations and agencies responded to the call for action in Kosovo with good will and a desire to participate in the peace process. A question about confidence in the religious institutions was connected with the negative roles of some of them during the wars in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia; but at this meeting there was a welcome orientation toward peace.

Some of the specific issues discussed were: trauma, gender, counselling, peace teams, training and education. Advocacy and analysis have to be done with partners on all levels. The accent was on the education and training needed to build peace teams (especially local), and the capacity for broad action to stabilize the peace process in the region so as to bring about in the coming decade a culture of peace and non-violence.

At this first meeting of the CEC dedicated to Kosovo, the conference made Kosovo's reality visible, and clarified the needs, roles and interests for peace and mediation work in this part of the region. As well, it raised many questions for the region in general, which will have to be addressed in times to come.     (Tuzla, August 1999)

Seminar: Evaluation
(held in Travnik, 3- 5 September 1999)

Two members of CCPN (Radojka Stijepic and Cvijeta Novakovic) participated in the second seminar organised by the QPS office in Sarajevo, with the topic "Evaluation." The seminar was held from the 3rd to 5th September 1999 in Travnik, a nice small town in Middle Bosnia, with a long history and a great number of mosques and churches, which make together a wonderful pictures surrounded by mountains and the blue sky.

18 participants from 13 NGOs from B&H (Brcko, Zenica, Tuzla, Gornji Vakuf, Sarajevo, Travnik and Mostar), and Croatia (Osijek), participated. Facilitation was by two trainers from Zagreb, Croatia and one from Belgrade, Serbia.

Two days of work passed in a friendly atmosphere, with sharing of experiences, making connections for co-operation and enjoyable walks in our free time. The seminar was a useful and pleasant gathering, which gave us a new appreciation of the everyday issues of peacework.     (Tuzla, September 1999)

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