Conversations for practicing  peace


Cote D’ivoire


                  How can we, individually and together, contribute to living in peace in Cote

                                   D’Ivoire for ourselves, our children and our grand children?

The first conversations for building peace and training of facilitators to host many gatherings for Practicing more Peace in Cote D’ivoire took place in Abidjan 24 – 27 January 2013, with 30 participants.

This initiative is called by Amani, Goli, Zehi and several other conscious citizens from Cote D’ivoire.

They have formed an associative for peace and well being for all to support this Work.

The purpose is to help citizens be ready to host conversations to build peace in Cote D’ivoire and beyond.

Participants have been trained in using conversational methods to be used in the future gatherings / conversations, mainly the circle and appreciative inquiry trios hosting in an art of hosting way.

In addition a lot of insights have been shared about how to work with people and allow individual and collective wisdom and courage to emerge, so that each new host has a clear background on how to host groups and feel comfortable with facilitating such a process with many other human being - many of whom have been enemies during the recent civil war in this country.

3 day training to prepare for the 3,5 hour conversation with guests was hosted by trainees and served as a model for future meetings. This group for the open meeting consisted of 47 humans (including 17 guests) in the circle of all ages, political and religious convictions, and professions and all that did not matter. We met in our hunger for more peace and the simple practices that allow us to share and harmonize as humans.

The invitation said:

How can we, individually and together, contribute to living in peace in Cote d’Ivoire for ourselves, our children and our grand children?

The conversation started with a listening circle, the talking / listening piece being a microphone addressing the question:

Why have I decided to to come to this meeting to learn more about the art of practicing peace for Cote D’ivoire?

After a short break a video was shown:

Introduction to practicing peace - with Ambassador of Peace, Prem Rawat offering a message of peace at the Nordic peace conference in August 2012:

Then all participants were invited to sit in trios with people they did not know, to offer a personal story:

Share a story where you experienced practicing peace with someone.

They were asked to identify / harvest: What was the conditions that made it possible?.

Two conditions per trio were expressed and gathered collectively:

Desire for concord, patience, humility, asking for help, need to understand the other, conviction that reconciliation is possible, will to forgive, tolerance, harmony with myself, putting myself in the other person’s shoes to offer help, refusing violence, mutual understanding through listening, awareness, going beyond, accepting the other as he is and not as I want him to be, loving the other, communication, discipline, accepting to dialogue and communicate.

The last question for the trios: What do we dream possible for Cote d’Ivoire if we practice more peace?

This was harvested back into the circle and it was amazing to see the deep and hopeful dreams expressed:

A prosperous country with shared happiness and progress for all. Real brotherhood. To aim towards a united and indivisible nation, not tribalism. A model of peace for other countries. A country united and prosperous. A country of hope, hospitality, liberty and dignity and to be able to dream and practice peace for each one. The well being of a reconciled population. Cote d’Ivoire being united and developed. Cote d’Ivoire open and prosperous. The joy to live in brotherhood and harmony. Living really together. A country united, peaceful and prosperous. A country full of love and respect for the other with a hope for the future.

This conversation about the Art of Practicing Peace ended with an invitation to share what they will take away with them from this meeting. Few people expressed verbally their thanks and appreciation.

Water, tea and coffee was served as participants shared their joy and left.

It all worked in a good way and proved that when invited with care and clear purpose and with well-hosted participatory methods, human beings will engage in a fruitful constructive dialogue for peace and well being for all..

Day 4 was aimed at looking ahead and organizing the future conversations. 4 projects were called and for each a team of 3 – including the “caller”- was formed with support of all other trainees. These conversations - and 5 more -  has all taken place succesfully by now.

In August 2013 we continued to train and practice together with 12 of the practitioners to be able to train others to convene and host more conversations - more story on that process coming soon....

A story harvest video here:

For more information please contact Koffi Amani,  Marc Levitte or Toke Moeller.