Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by an ancient Greek myth about Prometheus, the titan who brought a torch of fire from Mount Olympus. And, as I grew up I discovered how important the idea of this myth was, “teach me rather than give me”. Prometheus did not just offer the fire to humans, he taught them how to ignite it themselves. If he had been provided them with the torch directly, it would have been extinguished one day and humans would return to a life of darkness, fear, cold, and no civilization of blacksmithing and architecture that arose after that…
Prometheus did not only offer a torch of fire to humans. He offered them protection, science, and civilization.
And, this in particular was the reason for my great admiration for this myth. Prometheus was an inspiration to me as a child. As I grew up, I came to consider his story an example of the importance of good peace building practices.
As a Syrian who has lived through war and conflict for more than ten years without parties finding an effective solution despite many attempts at mediation and dialogue, I held a special interest in our week focused on Mediation, Negotiation, and Dialogue. I learned many completely new concepts. In my opinion, here are some of my essential reflection notes from this week:
- National Dialogues do not emerge out of nothing. They emerge either out of a war situation or out of people’s movements, or during post-agreement implementation after war.
- National dialogues should inclusively bring all major decision makers, stakeholders, interest groups, and concerned parties together to transform a conflict and should be mandated by participating stakeholders.
- Shared knowledge is an essential element to breaking a deadlock while consensus building enables knowledge-based dialogue.
- Integrating shared knowledge into the dialogue process creates a common understanding between the conflict parties.
This year I have had the honor to be a dedicated member of the Rotary Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University. It has been vital for me to engage with such a wonderful Class 33 while learning from everyone’s unique experiences and refining my own humble experience to promote and ensure peace in my own country of Syria and beyond.
Peace building is not just a profession, it’s a lifestyle…
Ansam Al Esbr – Syria
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 33Read More