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Station: Russia, November 2008

„Non-violent conflict resolution, but how?“ – this was the motto of the fifth station "Peace Counts on Tour", wich took place in Kaliningrad, Russian Federation from 4th to 15th November 2008. Uli Jäger and Nadine Heptner from the Institute for Peace Education organized peace education seminars for different target groups: school teachers, management personnel of social facilities, members of the Youth Parliament in Kaliningrad and members of the non-governmental organization "Youth for Freedom of Speech."

Michael Gleich of Peace Counts Project carried out workshops for journalists. All events took place in the Russian-German House in Kaliningrad. This is where the exhibition "Peace Builders Around the World" was shown, too. It was organized by the Association Selenogradsk Pinneberg, Selenogradsk with his partner Selenogradsk Club Elmshorn eV, the Peace Research Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Kiel (SHIP), the Peace Counts project and the Institute for Peace Education Tuebingen (ift).

Local partner organizations were the German-Russian House (DRH) Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad Regional Development Agency (KDA) and the NGO Center "Youth for Freedom of Speech", Kaliningrad. The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kaliningrad, the General Consul of the Kingdom of Sweden in Kaliningrad, Mannebach Wängborg, and the ombudsman of the Kaliningrad Oblast, Irina F. Vershinina, took up the patronage of this project. The station "Kaliningrad" was funded by the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).


The challenge: Kaliningrad

The Oblast Kaliningrad, a subject of the Russian Federation, is not a crisis area, and certainly not a war region.

However, the area is characterized by its history as a specific part of the former German Prussia, and by its particular political and geographical situation (being a Russian exclave and an enclave of the EU and NATO). In peace and conflict research, the area has gained increased attention as a model for conflict prevention. This small area is situated in the area of intersection between two major centers of European development, Russia and the EU, and has a high political priority towards promoting peace. The transformational character of the area and the associated personal and societal challenges require and enable common interests and values to strengthen the exchange of different but similar experiences in dealing with everyday conflicts and the development of a common perspective on the lives of people in world political crisis areas. 

An intensive examination in society about issues such as war and peace, conflict and violence is of great importance for the persons who live in Kaliningrad under the following aspect: Despite significant positive developments, the city and especially the rural areas still are characterized by poverty and a lack of prospects. Neglect and domestic violence are some of the major problems, not only for the staff of social institutions but also for the teachers in schools. This situation and the lack of exchange of experience in dealing with conflicts and violence made Kaliningrad as a station of Peace Counts on Tour a special challenge of peace education.

Against this background, it was important to contextualize adequately the approach and the aims of Peace Counts on Tour in respect of the situation in Kaliningrad.

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