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Mara Ustinova

Dr. Mara Ustinova, Candidate of Sciences, senior researcher, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS.

Confrontation with physical violence, including military confrontation unfortunately was a recent reality of Russian society, mostly on the North Caucasus, where violent conflicts break out from time to time – even nowadays. Due to that the issues of the culture of peace deserve special attention of the Russian society. In particular a wide range of activities took place within the framework of the project ‘The Culture of Peace in Russia – year 2000’, initiated by the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO and Moscow office of UNESCO.

However, formation of a firm psychological orientation of non-violence and tolerance, of perception of peace as a positive process which is closely related to human rights preservation and democracy, of mutual understanding and solidarity of all peoples and cultures requests steady public attention. Therefore for Russian society, as for societies of other countries the education for peace has to be regarded as an everlasting task which requests not a single action, but permanent activities of all sectors of the society and first of all – civil society.

For Russian civil society in general and first of all its peace-making NGOs it would be extremely useful to share the rich and widely recognized experience of the Institute for Peace Education Tuebingen in this area. Already at this stage colleagues from the Institute, Uli Jäger and Günther Gugel, were so kind and agreed to co-operate with the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (IEA RAS, Moscow), to promote peace education in Russia. Possible ways of the co-operation were discussed during my visit at the Institute for Peace Education (June, 2006). I am very glad and grateful that the Institute for Peace Education exists and is prepared to share its broad experience.

The first step of the co-operation was made already during Summer 2006, and was aimed to provide Russian peace-makers and their auditorium with visual aids, commented in Russian. For this purpose a series of posters and their texts were translated from English into Russian and prepared for their reproduction for Russian peace-makers’ needs during workshops.

Apart from that Russian colleagues would welcome with pleasure the Peace Counts photo exhibition extended by photos geographically related to Russia and its neighboring countries in Moscow and regard it as an important step to introduce this peace education approach to the Russian public. Russian partners suggest to display the exhibition (tentatively late 2006 – early 2007) in the State Tretyakov gallery and will make relevant organizational efforts to support this purpose.

By the opening of the Peace Counts photo exhibition Russian partners would suggest to conduct a „needs assessment workshop“ with representatives of the peace-making NGOs in order to make a more precise circle of peace educational issues and approaches that Russian civil society is interested in, as well as to adopt the approaches to the Russian cultural tradition. In order to cover, on the one hand, a number of peace-makers as wide as possible and on the other hand, to deepen their knowledge in the area of peace education, it is suggested to further conduct the workshops on a regular basis with participation of colleagues from the Institute for Peace Education and other German researchers and practitioners that are interested in this kind of co-operation.

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Institut für Friedenspädagogik Tübingen e.V. (Hrsg): Promote Peace Education! Viele Stimmen für den Frieden. Tübingen 2006, S.88-90.

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