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."

Conflict Prevention in the Kyrgyz-Tajik Border

Project #
Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
International House New York
  • Salkynai Samatova
  • Elona Klaa-Zakharova

Conflict Resolution

     Elona Klaa-Zakharova and Salkynai Samatova are both students in the Columbia University School of Social Work, living at International House New York. Elona is from Tajikistan and Salkynai from Kyrgyzstan, and their project was dedicated to reducing cross-border conflicts on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, multiple border and customs checkpoints have been established with little education for the local populations on both sides, leading to conflicts between the Tajik and Kyrgyz people and conflicts between the people and the border and customs officials. Elona and Salkynai believed that the situation could be relieved if people on both sides of the border understood the prevailing laws and regulations, and if they were trained in basic principles of conflict resolution.
    Elona and Salkynai designed and held training sessions in both countries, and there are future plans for combining sessions. Participants learned of the existing problems on the border, the actual border-crossing laws, and how to respond to and limit conflict. Materials were provided in both languages, and in evaluations participants rated the training as both timely and useful. In the short term, the project contributes to mitigating tensions between the populations and the border officials. The long-term potential is for the project to expand to more participants along the border and contribute to eventual stability and security in the area.