In the final two weeks of November 2022, 30 participants from Fiji, Solomon Islands and Australia joined the Peacebuilding in a Changing Environment and Climate course run by the Oceania Peacebuilding Institute (OPI).
The two-week course was the second such training event where participants learned the foundations of peacebuilding, before electing to focus on either arts, culture and peacebuilding, or climate change.
The first week provided a common grounding for all the participants. They looked at how peacebuilding can bring about transformation in interpersonal, communal and societal violent conflicts with an emphasis on developing strategic frameworks for peacebuilding, primarily from the perspective of non-governmental practitioners. Participants explored the challenges and dilemmas of peacebuilding in contemporary, protracted and violent conflict contexts.
During the second week, those attending could either learn more about how arts and culture can support peacebuilding in practice, or explore the links between climate change and conflict.
Arts and culture opens up many more possibilities to engage and move people to help transform relationships, build new bridges across divides and to heal the traumas of conflicts. Building on Indigenous cultures of peace, this module provided a vibrant and supportive learning space for individual and collective exploration through a variety of cultural and artistic expressions from Oceania and other parts of the world.
Pacific Island countries are amongst the most vulnerable to the planet’s rising temperature, extended droughts, rising sea levels, and more frequent and intense storms affecting the lives and livelihoods of people in all corners of the globe. In this module, the interlinkages between climate change, peace and security were explored along with opportunities for promoting inclusive climate action, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
The OPI is the vision of Transcend Oceania, who want to create a home for peacebuilding knowledge and practice within the region that marries global knowledge, lessons, approaches and thinking about peacebuilding with indigenous Pacific approaches to building and transforming relationships as well as addressing conflict.
The institute is at the start of its journey but as it continues to grow it will become a powerful platform for the networking, professional development and inspiration of peacebuilders in the Pacific region and beyond.
Photo: Participants celebrate the completion of the Peacebuilding in a Changing Environment and Climate course. (c) Transcend Oceania 2022