One of the main victims of an extended period of violence is the people’s capacity of positive conflict transformations: persons and communities that have been continuously surrounded by and submerged in hostilities tend to start considering violence as the “normal” and the only way of conflict resolution. Furthermore, individual and collective reticence, prejudice and stereotypes develop, and are being transmitted from adults to young generations. At the inter-communities’ level, the problem is usually additionally fostered by a decrease in communication and interactions, resulting in more resentment and the de-humanization of the other.
Applied to a Lebanese context, the high level of structural and cultural violence (such as physical and psychological barriers, exclusion, discrimination, animosity, prejudice, stereotypes) between the Lebanon’s various communities. The collective resentments related to the civil war, and the ongoing outbreaks of direct violence, are additionally feeding into the vicious circle of violence, which will continue to produce more violence unless a deliberate effort is made in transforming the culture of violence towards the culture of respecting diversity and developing cooperation.
In line with its mission and vision, over the past years AL-JANA has engaged in addressing the root causes of the problem described above on two tracks. First by engaging the Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian organizations, associations and individuals in joint activities (such as spring festivals, film screenings and festivals, summer forums and training workshops), providing opportunities for the youth of all communities to get to know each other, interact and collaborate. And second by organizing training workshops focusing on conflict transformation and related issues, addressed to Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian facilitators working with children.
The people who live and suffer through the consequences of violence ultimately deserve to be the architects of the changes required to improve their lives on the ground. Enhancing the capacities of local people in their struggle for peaceful social change is crucial. The aim of this project is to bring together these people, in addition to other key players, and to place them in an environment where they can contemplate new ideas and innovative alternatives so that the potential for different futures becomes a realistic option. The workshops, performances/discussions and Summer Encounter all embody processes of learning and change. Also, the learning that will take place in these contexts can create ripple-effects in the larger social fabric.
Some of the projects within the Conflict Transformation Program are: