20. September 2016 | Balbir Sohal: Short reflection on Dresden

Logo Veranstaltungsreihe FRIEDEN | KULTUR | STADT

Im Rahmen der Veranstaltungswoche FRIEDEN | KULTUR | STADT diskutierten am 20. September 2016 Dresdnerinnen und Dresdner mit Gästen aus Coventry, Pforzheim, Osnabrück und Würzburg: Versteht sich die Kulturstadt Dresden auch als Stadt der Friedenskultur? Was bedeuten »Frieden« und »Kultur« in diesem Zusammenhang? An welche Traditionen können wir anknüpfen? Was gefährdet die Kultur des Miteinander in unserer Stadt? Was können, was sollten wir tun?

Impulsbeitrag Balbir Sohal

Short reflection on how Dresden seen from a Coventry Perspective. Expectations in the context of peace culture

My reflection is a personal one and I have been privileged and honoured to have worked over the years with some residents of Dresden who are passionate about Peace and Reconciliation.  In the aftermath of the Second World War the City of Dresden did not loose hope but re-imagined and rebuilt itself, similar to that of Coventry.  The theme of Peace & Reconciliation has relevance and potential for both cities given their historical roots; links to faith, the Cathedral, links to memory and how to preserve these and promote a culture of peace.  Promoting a culture of peace comes with the challenge of making it meaningful and relevant for Dresden’s diverse communities today and in the future – translating its international reputation into a reality.

Nurturing, enabling and promoting a culture of peace for me includes promoting the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to bring about behaviour change that will enable children, youth and adults to prevent conflict and violence, both overt and structural; to resolve conflict peacefully; and to create the conditions conducive to peace, whether at an interpersonal, inter-group, national or international level.

A culture of peace therefore entails learning about peace as well as learning for peace. Learning about peace means acquiring the knowledge and understanding of what peace is, whereas learning for peace means learning the skills, attitudes and values needed in order to contribute to peace and maintain it.  In order to move forward in this area for me it’s about creating windows of opportunity.

These windows of opportunity can be achieved by working in partnership with statutory and non-statutory organizations on consultation events and projects and having a clear and realistic vision and a cohesive plan to pull this together.  This can be achieved by using a variety of approaches; utilizing the creative arts, community action, volunteering, viewing challenges as opportunities, use of dialogue to break down barriers. Sometimes thinking outside the box, taking risks, which sometimes can be uncomfortable and messy rather than safe and cosy.

Nurturing a culture of peace in essence is about transformation, it’s about becoming a new generation of peacemakers and active citizens.  It’s about learning practical skills for conflict resolution and active citizenship.  It’s about learning and knowing how to deal with a range of issues concerning problem solving skills, racism, violence, peace and conflict resolutions.  It’s about preparing and empowering people to do something practical for peace.  Peace in itself is not an end state; rather it is a continual journey that involves us on an individual, community, national and international level.

I would like to think that Dresden will continue to invest in developing a culture of peace that will nurture its residents to become informed, critical, active citizens who can make a difference in this world.