Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Living Together - Navigating Common Grounds

Project #
Bard College
  • Saim Saeed

Living Together - Navigating Common Grounds

Saim collaborated with the United World College movement to implement a summer “short course” in Turkey for young participants from the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe in order to spark greater dialogue between the regions and to encourage the participants to become active members of society. Fifty-two participants from 24 countries devoted two weeks to stimulating discussions and workshops on a range of topics including politics and political systems, civil society and social movements, conflict analysis and mediation, identity, migration, and integration. In addition to the Projects for Peace grant, Saim raised other funds in order to provide need-based scholarships for participants.

The short course program was hosted at a school in Turkey and was built around three pillars: theory-based discussion during “theme days”, practical engagement with societal issues during “community interaction days,” and guidance for the development of individual projects. Saim reports that the project was truly a transformative experience and related that the local Imam was so impressed by the diverse assemblage that he invited all of them to his family home for Eid. As for impact, participants are expected to put their individual project plans into motion in their local communities—so that the short course can be a “force for peace and a sustainable future.” The hosting school and the UWC National Committee in Turkey are planning to host another such gathering next summer. Saim and the other organizers shared what they learned from their project at a short course seminar on best practices held months later in Berlin.