Did you know that Germany has one of the leading civil peace services? Have you ever heard of a civil peace service? Very possibly not. It's a rather new idea, yet one that is spreading fast. The civil peace service is made up of professional men and women with strong career backgrounds and lots of life experience. They take part in a 4-month intensive training program, which trains them in conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity and much more. Then go to work in conflict regions. Their work takes one of two forms: either working in a local NGO in their host country, or in a region of extreme conflict, where lines of communication are not open, open up their own office and work to get the conflict parties involved with each other. Their goals are to strengthen local methods of conflict resolution; to rehabilitate and reintigrate victims of war, as well as combatants; to carry out peace education; and to improve information and communications structures such as peace journalism, networking, and human rights monitoring. Most importantly, they work with local groups and individuals with the goal of training people in the host countries and eventually handing the programs over to them.
I'm giving a presentation on the civil peace service tomorrow and I must say, I'm all for it. Since 1999 over 200 people have gone abroad with the civil peace service and the response has been very positive. It's definately something I would like to do, although I'm not yet an experienced professional, so I'll have to wait a bit. Questions?