SKOPJE, 17 October 2012 – Exchanging best practices and experience in conflict resolution and mediation in schools is the aim of an OSCE-supported regional conference that started in Ohrid today.
The four-day event, organized by the OSCE Mission to Skopje in co-operation with the German Civil Peace Service and the Ministry of Education and Science, will gather some 60 participants representing the non-governmental sector, ministry staff, teachers and other professional staff, and international organizations from the Balkans and other parts of Europe.
The conference participants will exchange experiences in and discuss approaches to peer mediation in schools, institutionalization of mediation as a conflict-prevention tool at schools and training of school mediators.
“Conflict prevention and mediation involve the entire society - local communities, parents, teachers, civil society, media, as well as national governments, regional bodies and international institutions,” said the Head of OSCE Mission to Skopje, Ambassador Ralf Breth. “These actors can contribute to helping today’s students become better citizens, and to encourage the decision-makers of today to create solutions to deal with and prevent conflict in schools.”
Silke Maier-Witt, the Director of Forum Civil Peace Service, said: “Conflicts, quarrels and misunderstanding in school is not something new or extraordinary. What is new is learning how to approach them in a constructive way without violence and aggression. This helps teachers and students deal with emotions and take responsibility for finding mutually acceptable solutions, including through school mediation which has the ability to change the whole atmosphere in a school.”