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As a relatively new entrant into the field of peace building through my selection into the Dialogue Fiji committee, I have always wondered why dialogue was not a popular choice for peace building efforts in the past. The more I read of its successful applica‐ tions in other contexts and situations, the more I wonder why and how this obvi‐ ously successful, capacity building, solu‐ tion‐based approach is not widely used as the “go‐to” tool for problem solving. From where I sit, not just as someone who works in the civil society sector but as a youth, it almost seems like there is already so much knowledge on “what not to do” rather than “what to do”. Why isn’t dia‐ logue on the top of the list of ‘Needs to Be Done to Fix This’ for communities and groups who find themselves in conflict and crisis situations? When I think about youths and how we can effectively hear from them, I cant help but ask whether methodologies of Dia‐ logue can be adapted, to make it more hip and in with the “crowd” while keeping to its core purpose. The world witnessed a wave of powerful youth uprisings across the globe in 2011. While their issues were different, the feel‐ ings were similar. They were disappointed and frustrated. They might not have been considered im‐ portant before within their own countries but I'm sure, that perception has changed now. I think if the decision makers in those countries genuinely valued youths (and they should, Time magazine has said the central, underlying feature of the Middle East's crisis is a massive youth bulge), they would have realised that youths participa‐ tion is critical to the ongoing prosperity and stability of their countries. Youths are not looking for anything com‐ plicated, just the opportunity to air their fears, concerns, hear from their leaders and be able to contribute their strengths for solutions and build a future that they can look forward to. For me, that starting point is dialogue. Furthermore, making sure the current
dialogue process is youth friendly, inclu‐ sive and participatory. Perhaps as we are exploring these, we can also consider incorporating into the proc‐ ess activities that allow us to tap into the creativity, optimism, passion and excite‐ ment of young people. I believe the Dia‐ logue Fiji secretariat has its work cut‐out for them for the year; these suggestions are at best recommendations towards 2013. In summary, how do we use dialogue to contribute to the building of our nation as we move towards mid 2012? And how do we ensure that this time around (as com‐ pared to 1987 and 2000),
youths are included, are capacity built and encour‐
aged to contribute effectively, and most importantly begin
leading Fiji into the future us‐ ing a culture of dialogue and understanding.
www.dialoguefiji.com MARCH 2012 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 4
ENGAGING YOUTH IN DIALOGUE
Dialogue Fiji Vision:
A Fiji where people re- spect each others’ dif- ferences and share a common will to build a free, peaceful, and in- clusive nation.
Engage with others to build capacity in Fiji’s society to create inclu- sive spaces for dialogue and peace building.
� Suliana Siwatibau
� Rev. Akuila Yabaki
� Virisila Buadromo
� Willie Kwansing
� Daryl Tarte
� Ratu Meli Vesikula
� Nemani Mati
� Nisha Buksh
� Kelerayani Gavidi
� Ricardo Morris
Inside this issue:
DF Staff Attend PCP Training 2
Spreading the Dialogue Influence 3
Dialogue Lessons: 4– 6
CONTACT DETAILS Phone: (679) 3552255/ 9767968 E-mail: email@example.com
49 Gladstone Road G. P.O. Box 12642 Suva Fiji Islands www.dialoguefiji.com
A Dialogue Reflection by Mereoni Chung
Mereoni Chung after the Citizen’s Assem- bly 2012 in Suva where she was elected
into the Dialogue Fiji committee
PAGE 2 MOMENTUM
DF STAFF ATTEND PCP TRAINING ON NEGOTIATION AND MEDIATION
Dialogue is an approach to conflict resolution that Dialogue Fiji secretariat staff members, George Na‐ cewa and Vani Catanasiga may well be familiar with.
But concepts of negotiation and mediation, as they discovered at the Pacific Centre for Peace Building sponsored training in March, were extensions of transformative approaches to conflict resolution that could serve to enhance their capacities as peace builders.
The three day training, which was facilitated by the United Nations Development Program Pacific Cen‐ tre, was held at the Raddisons Blu Resort at Denarau and included participants from civil society, govern‐ ment and private sectors.
“I was really fortunate to be part of the training and being the youngest participant at that. I enjoyed hearing different perspectives as there were a cross sectoral representation at the training,” George said.
“I appreciated hearing from colleagues in the Fiji Military Forces and finally being able to understand them not just in their capacities as military offices but also as human beings and citizens of Fiji.”
George who is a trained dialogue facilitator said a key learning from the workshop was that negotia‐ tion is between two individuals with differences whereas mediation creates an enabling environment
for a third party to come in to monitor and bring to light common interests.
“So it is important to ask the right questions while mediating or negotiating so that one avoids taking the narrow approach and ensure that some kind of understanding is created,” he said.
For Vani, the workshop was an eye opener and helped her to understand that there were other as‐ pects to peace building to discover.
“I think a transformational learning from the work‐ shop was that conflict doesn’t always have to be negative, it can be good and an opportunity for much needed change,” Vani said.
She said at the workshop, facilitators drew parallels between conflict and a river.
“They talked about how a river flows and how we should learn that any attempts to dam it will only result in it overflowing and inundating fields. It is always better to allow it to flow to the sea.”
“The workshop also reinforced the importance of relationships when it came to dealing with conflict but went on the further to examine effective ap‐ proaches in negotiation and mediation,” she said.
“Overall, I was just very grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate and thank the organ‐ isers for convening such a rewarding training,” Vani said.
DF Communica- tions and Research Officer, Vani Catana- siga enjoys a light moment at the PCP Negotia- tion and Media- tion Training with PCP Staff, Priscilla Singh.
Photo source :
PAGE 3 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 4
For me, attending the dialogue event was monu‐ mental in that it finally gave me the courage to finally speak. How is this significant? In my 37 years of marriage, I played the submissive wife, enduring an abusive marriage silently. It was no wonder I was depressed and sickly most of the time.
After attending the three‐day dialogue event, I realised the power to change the situation was really within my grasp and dialogue was indeed a tool I could use to reclaim my life as an individual.
I did this very simply by honestly and respectfully expressing the feelings I had kept bottled up for years to my husband. I did this even to the point of asking my husband to consider whether I really
deserved the treatment I had endured for dec‐ ades. As I did that, I also balanced it by letting him know that I now understood that as an individual, I had every right to a decent and abuse free life.
My husband took a while to process this as he remained silent throughout that conversation. It was a relief to be able to voice feelings that I had kept within me for years and so after airing all that I left to attend to a business call.
Imagine my surprise when I returned home to find all the household chores done and even more a cup of tea waiting for me. It was