In a little over a month, I will be traveling to Turkey with George Mason University's Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution to participate in a course titled "Approaches to Conflict Management and Resolution: Field Work with Syrian Refugees."
While in Turkey, our class will be meeting with and learning from Syrian activists and working with refugees in Istanbul, Gaziantep, and Hatay. We will be partnering with a grassroots organization called Project Amal ou Salam, which runs educational psychosocial workshops for Syrian refugee kids ages 6 - 15 to help them deal with the trauma they have sustained and imagine a hopeful new vision for their country.
We will additionally address the critical nonviolent stage of the revolution and what was missing to make it successful. We will address the general history of nonviolent resistance and social movements and the fate of nonviolence in the Syrian struggle. We will also look at the effect of outside actors and geopolitics on the direction of these movements.
CRDC staff have over thirty years of research and practical experience with religious extremism, and we will examine the practical ways to cope with the externally- and internally-funded extremist realities that have profoundly altered the challenges of building peace in Syria. Nonviolence theory and practice in combination with conflict analysis and resolution theory will be a major focus point of the class. This class will be a practice class in that half our time will be spent deeply engaging with and learning from Syrian activists whose work crosses the divides of civil society, medicine, education, and engineering.
I would be beyond grateful if any of you could help make this trip a reality.
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