Online Toolkit

Part 3 - The Peace Bag Partners, Projects, and Peacebuilders


CESIE - Centro Studi ed Iniziative Europeo is an NGO, established in 2001 with the inspiration of leading Italian sociologist, Danilo Dolci. CESIE promotes cultural, formative, scientific, and economic development at both local and international levels, with a special focus on the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Some of the peace related aims of the organisation are:
  • To apply reciprocal communication methods in order to consolidate peace and democracy
  • To abolish all forms of discrimination thus favouring social inclusion and equal opportunity
  • To promote responsible global awareness through the application of human rights
  • To contribute towards the cultural, social, and economic development of society
  • To favour the socio-economic integration of Europe, the Mediterranean and Latin America.

CESIE has considerable experience with mobility projects and intercultural dialogue, having worked in these fields since it started. Most of the activities that the organisation carries out target immigrants and young people with fewer opportunities. CESIE has many years experience in EVS, and is familiar with providing support for people from inclusion backgrounds.
CESIE works at the local level (maintaining an international and intercultural perspective) within a context characterised by diverse problems. For example, the large proportion of people with fewer opportunities (Italian and immigrants) due to living in varied places of the city.
The office itself is a meeting point of diversity, with people from eight different countries including Senegal, Nepal and India, all working together in an atmosphere of solidarity.

Inventing the Future

Conflict transformation, intercultural dialogue, and nonviolent communication

Inventing the Future is an international project that works locally with youth on nonviolent conflict transformation through the RMA (reciprocal maieutic approach). It seeks to promote youth participation, and raise awareness about the need to build relationships based on communication and mutual respect.

Who: The project involves youth from seven different countries in Europe, East Europe and the Middle East - Italy, Spain, France, Bulgaria, Moldova, Palestine and Israel. In February of 2007, all partners met to participate in maieutic workshops, learning about RMA so that they could organise similar workshops with youth groups as part of their local activities. Countries were paired up to develop local activities.
These activities would consist of local meetings with the youth group (each half coming from different parts of the conflict), helping to develop an awareness of the conflict; analyse the causes and consequences of the conflict on youth and the community in general; breakdown stereotypes and prejudices perpetuating the conflict; build channels of communication inside the community by involving it in youth activities; and develop active citizenship among youth.
A closure event was held in Moldova in June 2007, where participants learned how to develop peer education activities, and broaden their knowledge in the field of human rights and conflict transformation.
In August 2007, 7 youths became volunteers in their partner's country. The voluntary project lasted 4 months, and allowed youth to develop intercultural skills; promote an intercultural exchange between sending and hosting countries; and to give youth the opportunity to live in and understand other youth conflicts. During September and October, each youth group developed evaluation activities to analyse the impact of the project, and of their own work in the community.

Methods used: RECIPROCAL MAIEUTIC APPROACH - based on emphatic and reciprocal communication, with its main emphasis on involving all people in participating. RMA is strategy of group communication[43] that permits all individuals of the group to give their ideas and opinions, contributing to the development of a final common idea.[44] The group is guided by a coordinator that can change inside the same group. This methodology is very "democratic", providing everybody with the space to talk.

Results: The program was designed in the framework of RMA, non-formal education, and international mobility. The activities were developed to allow the creation of a youth group; development of local activities with the group; and finally contact with the community.

The RMA methodology is strongly connected to nonviolent communication.
- Rosenberg, 2001

The following features are essential to the process:
Characteristics of RMA: Necessary to the RMA process:
Respect, Communication
Play, Co-operation
Nonviolent conflict resolution

Sharing power
Common interest
Empathy, Change, Creativity
To be able to see each other
Flexible end time, Equality
Active participation

An outcome/result
A "common language"
Intercultural understanding

Associazione Culturale Il Monastero is a civil society organisation that provides coaching and mentoring services to existing non-profit organisations and informal youth groups, to empower them to carry out their work more effectively at both local and international level. By providing international mobility opportunities, coordinating and supporting local actions, and by providing educational support to young people in defining their roles in society and within their organisations. The organisation is coaching three informal youth groups in disadvantaged areas where young people risk to be dragged into criminal activities, two informal groups of disabled youngsters, and facilitating the process of networking between seven youth oriented civil society organisations active at the national level in order to improve local youth policies. Il Monastero is also one of the founding members of the international network youthNET, which aims at establishing international co-operation between the EU and the neighbouring regions in order to strengthen the local social and youth policies.


Peace, intercultural dialogue, active citizenship

PEACE is a long-term Europe for Citizens project. It started last February 2011 with a ten-day training course for Peace Education Multipliers, where youth leaders learned about mediation and negotiation processes, how conflicts are born and degenerate and especially, what youth workers can do about it.

The project involved young people from Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Austria, coming from different youth-oriented civil society organisations from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The second stage of the project involved the implementation of local public actions over a weekend in order to promote social peace, tolerance and understanding towards people of other nationalities and cultural minorities. A delegation of each of the above countries travelled to Rome, Sofia, Vienna, Galati, Thessaloniki in order to implement these actions in celebration of the 9th of May - European Citizenship Day.

The group who went to Rome was active in Ostia Nuova, a district characterised by poor living conditions, concentration of unemployment and crime, highly disadvantaged social groups, a dense presence of migrants (due to cheap living conditions) as well as extreme right-winged groups. The first action involved participants carrying an EU flag to conduct a survey among the public in the main square, asking how many nationalities live in this district, and what they know about those countries. Those who completed the survey were invited to the 'Intercultural Evening' which took place on the streets and participants cooked typical food from their countries and offer it for free to the inhabitants. They also presented the social conflicts that exist in their areas, and a projection of the World War I film 'Joyeaux Noel.' The next day, the group gathered together by the train station and tried to convince as many youngsters as possible to join us for a – "free hugs" raid in the market, reminding everybody that it is Europe's birthday, and informing people about what European Citizenship stands for.

Meet a Peacebuilder:

Hola! I'm Jorge, from Spain and I'm currently working with CESIE in Palermo (Italy). Some time ago I decided to make a change in my life and started to work in something that connected my job with a better society's building process. I am more and more convinced that economical profit and money issues in general are the origin of most of the conflicts nowadays so, as I have to earn money to live either I want or not, I decided to do it in a way that I assisted in social work. Since then I've been gaining awareness of how civil society works, and I've been learning more and more about the different cultures that co-exist in the world. Like when we first met during this project in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Spain). Personal contact with individuals has made me more willing to know and to understand people, their beliefs, their way of life and thus their problems. The world is growing and the borders are opening, but not everyone seems ready to embrace it. We have to be aware that all of this means an increasing participation from everyone in the world in our daily lives, and this doesn't obligatorily mean a direct benefit for all. Sometimes we can take, grow and learn; but sometimes we have to give, support and teach too. I don't know, if I am a peace-builder, it would be so pretentious to state it. I just try to have a big comprehension of the complex conflicts that occur around me and try to give a hand in solving them if possible. I think that this is one of the ways, either in life or at work, through which we can all contribute to be reciprocally helpful to each other and, as a result, to build a better society. It is always very difficult to make a definition of the word "Peace" and even more to achieve it, but I think that practicing solidarity among one-another and being as caring as possible could be one of the paths to take. Hope these words can contribute to "build peace" somehow. Ciao!

The country

Young Italians are finding it a challenge to involve themselves in the different issues of the country, especially the tensions between the recent influx of immigrants. Greater education credentials have not resulted in better pay, or more stable or full-time work.

The government is taking action, introducing an apprenticeship program that provides young people with the opportunity to experience working world situations. Despite this, there is little improvement in the attention paid to young people. Several youth organisations have conducted campaigns, seeking reform that will engage young people in youth related economic activities, and socio-political affairs. In the absence of more significant government attention, NGO's and private institutions are filling in the gaps to address the needs of young people.

Italy's huge archaeological, cultural and literary heritage has enriched the EuroMed region and is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[45] Contemporary Italian artists, writers, filmmakers, architects, composers, and designers contribute significantly to EuroMed culture and well-known to film-goers are directors and producers such as Sergio Leone, Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Gillo Pontecorvo and Vittorio De Sica.[46]