Personal Skills for Peaceful Communities

Practical Skills for Peaceful Communities

A short course exploring what individuals can do to build  peaceful communities  

Dates:  28 September, and October 7, 19 & 28.

A four-part course, comprising 12 hours of group-based learning and some personal study, for people who want to improve their inter-personal skills in responding to situations of conflict. The course examines what individuals can do to create constructive conversations and action about divisive issues. Each class will be a combination of some theory with practical group and individual exercises.

The course covers the following topics.

Listening & Inquiry Understanding what’s involved in good listening and the power of crafting questions  which open up new conversations and stories.
Dialogue: How to set up transformative conversations about difficult issues
Past and future thinking Using appreciative and envisioning methods to build new
ideas of community
Disagree-ment How to find creative possibilities in situations where feelings run high and consensus isn’t possible

The sessions are designed to build on each other, so it is important to attend all sessions. Participants will receive a handbook with all the presented material and exercises, further background resources and suggestions for further study and reading.

The course will be helpful for anyone who may find themselves involved with a conflict situation, such as a divided community group, a neighbourhood dispute or a more serious situation.

We will work as an inquiry group (of up to 15 people) drawing on participants’ experience and doing collaborative exercises and role pays to explore ideas.

Participants are invited to do a modest amount of reading between classes and to complete the online OpenMind programme  during the course (4 modules  which take about 20 minutes each).

Your Commitment

There is no charge but participants are asked to make a commitment a) to attend all four sessions, and  b) to make a practical peaceful action as a result of the course.  Donations towards costs are, of course, welcome.

Course Leader:

The course is led by Simon Keyes, Professor of Reconciliation and Peacebuilding at the University of Winchester. The course draws on material created for the University’s MA in Reconciliation and Peacebuilding.