An invitation to the Spring Peace Academy 2009

International Peace and Development Training Center (IPDTC) and
Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR)

IPDTC 2009 Spring Peace Academy

IPDTC is launching its 2009 Spring Peace Academy with a range of programmes addressing the core skills, knowledge and experience of all practitioners working in the field of peacebuilding, conflict transformation, development work, humanitarian aid, gender, governance and other related areas.

* Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation & Post-War Recovery, Reconciliation
and Healing
11th – 16th of May, 2009 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania

* Designing Peacebuilding Programmes (DPP)
18th – 22nd of May, 2009, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

* Integrating Gender and Peacebuilding Practice (IGP)
25th – 29th of May, 2009, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

* Training of Trainers in Peacebuilding (ToT)
25th – 29th of May, 2009, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

For more information on course content, fees and application procedure, please see attachment or visit the IPDTC web-site: http://www.patrir.ro/training
or write to training@patrir.ro

Please feel free to share this information with individuals and organisations that you think would be interested in attending the IPDTC training programmes.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our trainings.

With best wishes,
IPDTC Team

Research on Truancy Mediation Program

Recognizing that truancy is a significant predictor of juvenile delinquent behavior and long-term economic hardship, the Truancy Prevention through Mediation Program (TPMP) intervenes with elementary, middle school, and high school students and their families who display a pattern of absenteeism. The program targets students, who during the school year, experience a minimum of 10 absences. A five year evaluation conducted by an independent evaluator confirms that the majority of TPMP students significantly improve their attendance rates as a result of intervention (OCDRCM, 1999-2004).

Although the Truancy Prevention through Mediation Program (TPMP) has consistently demonstrated positive results in the effort to combat truancy, absent from these evaluations has been an examination of the impact of the program on the academic performance and behavior of the children whose families participate in the program. To fill this void, the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and the Supreme Court of Ohio collaborated to commission an independent evaluation to ascertain answers to these questions. You can read the full report here: Evaluation of the Truancy Prevention through Mediation Program (Ohio) (pdf).

More on Truancy Mediation from Ohio

Truancy Prevention Through Mediation Program

The Truancy Prevention Through Mediation Program in Ohio, commonly known as truancy mediation, has grown in just over six years from 7 counties, 58 schools to 30 counties, over 460 schools in close to 120 school districts. It has grown at this rate because it works. Documentation is available at http://disputeresolution.ohio.gov/courtcommunity.htm.

Programs are run locally, with technical support, training, mentoring, and grant writing assistance provided by the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management, and with training assistance from the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Dispute Resolution Section.

Although it is common when districts first approach the Commission to ask about help with high school truancy and drop-outs, research and experience clearly show that a school district benefits most by building a program from the early years up. The Commission advocates having the program only in K-6 for two to four years, then adding the middle schools that those elementary schools feed, then in a year or two adding the high schools. If a district starts at the high school level they usually are dealing with students who have been missing days for many years, who are under-achieving, and who are close to dropping out – thus using time and resources but not addressing the systemic problem. If a district wants to permanently reduce truancy and tardiness it needs to be addressed in Kindergarten and the other early years, building the program upward.

Here are some of the core values of the program:

1. Mediations take place in the school, during or immediately before or after school hours. 2. In K – 6 the teacher always attends, and often is the only person meeting with the parent[s]. 3. The goal is to, in a non-punitive, non-disciplinary way, identify the family problems that are causing the poor attendance, and to then help the family reach a voluntary solution. Those solutions often involve reaching out to a government agency, social service provider, or non-profit organization. 4. Confidentially is maintained. 5. The emphasis is on K – 6 truancy and tardiness, with higher grades added only after the elementary school program is well established. 6. The family is asked to come in for a mediation very early in the pattern of truancy, usually the third to fifth missed day. This is a significantly lower threshold than the number of missed days for court referrals. The emphasis is on very early intervention and help in a respectful manner, as opposed to late intervention [15+ days is common] and a disciplinary attitude. 7. The mediator is a person trained in mediation in general and truancy mediation in particular, who does not represent any particular entity or interest but rather is in the room to facilitate the discussion and search for mutually acceptable solutions.

For information contact Ed Krauss at ed.krauss@cdr.state.oh.us. 614 444 5872

ADR Research “Portal”

The Center for Legal Solutions has pulled together a nice collection of research studies on various aspects of the mediation process. The collection is called [url=http://www.centerforlegalsolutions.org/research.overview.shtml]Practical Research on Alternative Dispute Resolution[/url]. If you are looking for a quick snapshot of the kinds of research that has been done on mediation, this is a great place to start. Includes a listing of [url=http://www.centerforlegalsolutions.org/links.adr.scholars.shtml]ADR Researchers[/url] active in the field.

Truancy Mediation is growing

A new use for mediation skills and techniques that has been growing rapidly is Truancy Mediation.

The National Center for State Courts has been compiling a list of information on the growing number of states (18 and counting) that are offering Truancy Mediation service. You can view the Truancy Mediation Materials online.

A well developed example is the statewide program the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management administers. The Truancy Prevention Through Mediation Program is a statewide effort run in cooperation with The Ohio Supreme Courts Office of Dispute Resolution, school districts and local courts, which is designed to address attendance concerns in public schools. The program has been used in grades K – 12, but the primary focus is on grades K – 8.

A set of Standards of Practice for Truancy Mediation has been developed and is available on the web.

GPPAC Partners with CREPE Activities in Western CIS

Dear colleagues,
I want to give you a very brief information of two more NGOs in our region that could be the partners for your inter-networking.
1. Patrir, Romania – Peace Action Training and Research Institute of Romania http://www.patrir.ro/index.php?newlang=english . Among other activities they conduct a lot of trainings on peacebuilding for different groups of participants in their International Peace and Development Training Center http://www.patrir.ro/training.
They also have special youth programs like “Youth for Peace” (available in Russian at http://youth-for-peace.blogspot.com/)

2. Inter-regional Social Movement “Conflictological Forum”, Russia. http://www.conflictology.spb.ru/index_en.html An assistance in research and activity in creation of new methods and techonolgies of CR and development of education in CR are among the main tasks of this organisation. Their partner – the chair of Conflict studies of St.-Petersburg State University. It is the only chair that gives CR specialization (the diploma) at the university level within the whole post-soviet space.
I also would like to draw your attention at the III INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS of CONFLICTOLOGISTS organised by Forum and its partners. It will take place at September 30 – October 2, 2009. Deadline:  March 1, 2009 More information you can find at their website, listed above.

News from Shalom – Educating for Peace in Rwanda

Posted for Cori Wielenga
Co-director, Shalom, Educating for Peace
Pretoria, South Africa

Shalom Educating for Peace is a non-governmental, non-profit organization working for building and sustaining positive peace through education in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Shalom pursues the following objectives: (i) educating for peace, (ii) researching for peace and (iii) cultivating the culture of nonviolence.

Shalom is a relatively young organization and we have spent the past few months establishing ourselves in Rwanda and Burundi. Our primary activity has been developing proposals and networking for the purpose of raising interest and funds for our projects.

Basabose has continued to broadcast our weekly peace program on a community radio station in Rwanda where the message of nonviolent means to resolving conflict has reached a wide audience and solicited high levels of debate.

Together with an American volunteer we have been initiating a peace education project with self-help cooperatives in rural Rwanda to assist in nonviolent means of communication and resolving conflict. Thanks to Megan Colnar from San Antonio Texas for her help!

For more information on Shalom’s activities and staff, please see our latest newsletter.

Summary of Peace Education Programme in West Africa by WANEP

A culture of non-violence is an imperative for our society if we are to achieve the dream of sustainable just peace and development, which has been enshrined in almost all national development plans of the various nations of the sub-region. Sustainable peace in the West Africa sub-region depends on individuals possessing the knowledge, the skills and the passion to use non-violent means to deal with conflicts that they may be involved in and also having the space and opportunity to promote the use of these non-violent conflict resolution skills.

WANEP’s Peace Education programme was implemented in selected schools in 7 West African countries from 2001 to 2004. Though the pilot phase ended in 2004, the programme lives on in different forms at both national and regional levels. Different activities within the schools such as peace posters and peace poem competitions, peace marches not only by school children but also by community youth, and peace day celebrations are carried out in some schools in all the countries, while teachers continue to devote part of their teaching time to topics developed in the peace education materials from WANEP.

Currently in Ghana, Peace Education has been formally integrated into the curriculum of the Ghana Education Service and is being taught in schools. A peace education manual jointly developed by WANEP and the Ministry of Education in Ghana and other stakeholders in Education is being used in that regard.

In terms of future plans for Peace Education in West Africa, Oxfam GB has expressed interest in funding WANEP’s Peace Education programme and a process will start very soon to develop a project proposal to that effect. I have also being in communication with the President of the Society for Peace and Reconciliation in Sierra Leone at the University of Sierra Leone to establish a Mediation Centre. This project will be supported by GPPAC Global Secretariat.

By Francis Acquah Junior,
Programme Officer, WANEP, Ghana

2008 Meta-Analysis of SEL Programs

Some of the most compelling information supporting Social Emotional Learning (SEL) comes from findings of the largest, most scientifically rigorous review of research ever done on interventions that promote children’s social and emotional development. This review of more than 700 studies published through 2007 included school, family, and community interventions designed to promote social and emotional skills in children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 18. This large sample of studies was divided into three main areas: studies about (a) school-based interventions, (b) after-school programs, and (c) programs for families. Results of the school-based research, which included 207 studies of programs involving 288,000 students, is of key relevance here.

In this meta-analysis (study of studies), researchers used statistical techniques to summarize the findings across all the studies and found a broad range of benefits for students:

9% decrease in conduct problems, such as classroom misbehavior and aggression

10% decrease in emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression

9% improvement in attitudes about self, others, and school

23% improvement in social and emotional skills

11% improvement in achievement test scores

More information on the research results is available in a CASEL briefing paper and as an archived teleconference.

School Administrators Podcast

A new Web site sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education’s Urban Advisory Resource is directed towards school administrators, especially those working in urban areas. The forum, District Leader’s Podcast districtleaderspodcast.org, is “the only national podcast created expressly for district leaders. Many features included are interviews each week with different district leaders from around the country.” There are 25 sessions available to listen to, with the most recent being a Superintendent from a school district in Texas. Many of the podcasts deal with violence and delinquency in schools and conflict resolution techniques.

U.K. Video – Teachers Discuss Approaches to Resolving Conflicts

Readers might appreciate this video from the U.K.’s Teacher.tv website.
The 15-minute video is in two parts, the Challenging Behavior Workshop for the teachers in this U.K. School and the training for the secondary school students. The training for the students talked about the students personal issues, trust, and how to manage themselves in conflictual situations. Additionally, they trained the students how to be peer mediators and how to open up and talk about their own triggers. The Superintendent of the Ridgewood School District in the U.K. expressed pleasant surprise at the success of the training.

Teachers Discuss Approaches to Resolving Conflicts
Here’s the link to the video.

Celebrating the International Day of Peace by Launching a Peace Education Book

The world marked the International Day of Peace (September 21) in different and creative ways as electronic reports have indicated to us. In my case I am happy to report that my colleague, Jasmin Nario-Galace and I celebrated it by launching a book that we conceptualized long ago but had the opportunity to write and complete only recently.

The book is entitled Peace Education: A Pathway to a Culture of Peace. The overall goal of this book is to provide educators with the basic knowledge base as well as the skill- and value-orientations that we associate with educating for a culture of peace. Although this work is primarily directed towards the pre-service and in-service preparation of teachers in the formal school system, it may be used in nonformal education. It can also be a resource for those who want to understand peace issues and some of the ways by which they can help work for change towards a more peaceable society.

Jasmin and I are pleased that we can offer this small contribution to the Global Campaign for Peace Education, which seeks the introduction of peace education in all educational institutions in the world. It is our hope that our work can help in the realization of this vision. This book is firmly rooted in the belief that deliberate and sustained peace education, both in our schools and in our communities, is an important force and pathway towards a culture of peace and the prevention of violent conflict.

This book is based on our study and research as well as on our experiences as teachers and trainers. By writing about what we have come to know and experienced, we are pleased that we are now able to reach a larger community of educators and other concerned people. It is our hope that the ideas contained in this book will circulate widely and promote enthusiasm for both education and action for peace.

We have organized the book into three sections. Part I presents chapters that are meant to help us develop a holistic understanding of peace and peace education. Part II discusses the key themes in peace education. Each chapter starts with a conceptual essay on a theme and is followed by some practical teaching-learning ideas that can either be used in a class or adapted to a community setting. Part III focuses on the peaceable learning climate and the educator, the agent who facilitates the planting and nurturing of the seeds of peace in the learning environment. Finally, the whole school approach is introduced to suggest the need for institutional transformation and the need to move beyond the school towards engagement with other stakeholders in the larger society.

“To reach peace, teach peace!”

The 1st Report to the Nation on Youth Courts and Teen Courts Now Available

Global Issues Resource Center announces the availability of the 1st Report to the Nation on Youth Courts and Teen Courts (MS Word doc). This national report documents significant highlights and events over a fifteen (15) year period of unprecedented and historic growth of this groundbreaking American juvenile justice prevention and intervention program that utilizes volunteer youth to help sentence their peers. 

The report begins in 1993, when fewer than seventy-five (75) local youth and teen courts existed in just about a dozen states.   The report concludes fifteen (15) years later in 2008, when more than a record 1,000 local communities in 48 states and the District of Columbia now operate these local juvenile justice programs.  Historic numbers of youth and adults are now involved, as more than 111,868 juvenile cases were referred to local youth and teen courts and more than 133,832 volunteers – to include both youth and adults who volunteered to help with the disposition and sentencing of these juvenile cases.   The report is written and researched by Scott Bernard Peterson and Jill Beres.

Why Do So Many Teachers Quit the Profession?

Clearly, the belief of the folks at CREducation.org is that classroom conflict is a problem for new teachers, and one that contributes to the high number of teachers that leave after just 2 or 3 years in the classroom.

A recent article in Good Magazine provides a glimpse into this problem with short [url=http://www.good.is/?p=11902]interviews with seven teachers[/url] who struggled and left teaching (or relocated).

For more details on the current state of teacher retention, this 2006 Washington Post article [url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/08/AR2006050801344.html]”Half of Teachers Quit in 5 Years”[/url] provides a quick summary.

ThinkQuest Website Competition 2009

The ThinkQuest Website Competition 2009, sponsored by the Oracle Education Foundation (OEF), is now open to teams of students, ages 9-19, from anywhere in the world. Each team must be coached by a teacher or school employee.

Teams are challenged to develop an educational website on topics of their choosing, including [url=http://www.thinkquest.org/library/search.html?&search_text=conflict+resolution]conflict resolution[/url], of course. Website entries may utilize a variety of technologies and take a variety of creative forms.

Participating students can develop important 21st century skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, self-direction, and technology skills.

Entries are due on April 2, 2009, giving teams up to eight months to create their websites. Professional educators from around the world will judge all entries.

Qualifying entries will be published in the ThinkQuest Library, the world’s largest online repository of student-developed learning projects, visited by millions of web learners each month.

Prizes may include laptop computers, digital cameras, school grants, and a trip to the awards event in San Francisco, depending on placement.