4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner

Fourth Quarterly Report on the Civil Peace Teams the Netherlands (BVTN)

In this 4th report, I continue the information about the nonviolent conflict resolution training which took place as a cooperation of the BVTN and a Christian Vocational University in the East of the country. A mixed group of 15 students, including three military persons, some artists, a journalist, peace activists, and a few social workers were the students; Abel Herzberger and Pat Patfoort, both with a broad training experience, were the trainers.

The training took place in November/December last year, and the evaluation report is not yet finished. Outside the official evaluation, we already know that the participants were very much satisfied with the training. Very positive points were


the mixed background of the students, who soon were acting as a group and learned much from each other,


the one week internship in different Dutch organisations and 'conflict rich' places.

The main complaint was that the course was too short. This is a bit ironic, because BVTN started with developing a one-year course, for which we could not find funding. Several advisors suggested we should first develop smaller one-month courses, for which it would be easier to find money as well as participants. In the acquition of students, the one month often was an obstacle. For several potential participants, a month was too much to break out of their daily work.

One of the unofficial outcomes is, that the perspective to become a porfessional in civil peace services will not be limited to peace team work in conflict areas abroad. Inside the country many organisations could do with professional conflict managers or mediators. For instance in police stations in multi-cultural neighbourhoods, in refugee centres, in journalism, etc. A BVTN working group is investigating the vocational possibilities for CPS professionals. 

If EN.CPS people are interested in the official evaluation, I will make an English summary.

Another line of work for BVTN is lobbying. A small group is very active in contacting Dutch parlementarians and filling them in about the importance of civil peace services. Our joint European effort to make a lobby letter for the Nice Summit, under the French EU Presidency, was also useful. It turns out that the Dutch parliament is very much interested in EU developments, and value the Dutch efforts more, since we are supported by groups and organisations in other European countries. One of our goals with the lobby work, is to receive recognition and funding for expanding the training courses.

BVTN is also involved in the Dutch Platform for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence. This Platform was founded to spread the ideas of the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World. In the Platform, many Dutch peace organisations are cooperating to plan and carry out activities to make the Dutch population aware of the idea and possibilities of a nonviolent way of life. The Platform has several working groups; the BVTN experience is focused on the training working group.

February 17, 2001.

Janne Poort van Eeden



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