The Peace it Together Program
Peace it Together provides a unique dialogue and filmmaking program that offers youth the opportunity to connect deeply with their so-called "enemy" while co-creating short films that are used as peace-building tools throughout the world.
Our work is centered on three distinct processes:
- Dialogue: learning about and listening to each other
- Filmmaking: engaging in the creative process
- Sustaining the Impact: sharing the films and encouraging others to build peace
The dialogue component takes place in a very safe and structure environment, run by professional facilitators. Facilitators steer the youth into potentially uncomfortable situations, and then support them to safely air out their grievances and their concerns with the other side. With an emphasis on teaching them how to listen, rather than what to think and do, participants witness the breaking down of barriers of alienation, anger, and fear. Facilitators encourage the youth to discover each other’s conflicting collective narratives, and mutually exclusive historical memories. By the time the filmmaking process begins, the participants tend to show high levels of vulnerability and openness.
To create films together, filmmakers need to discuss controversial topics and give up some of their own ideas and expectations– a process that’s essential for reconciliation and peace. In the filmmaking process, the youth socialize, negotiate and discover each other freely. Professional film mentors let them “go at it” on their own, and facilitators step in only when there is an impasse.
This approach gives young people the opportunity to engage with each other independently, in an honest and profound manner. Barriers keep moving until they are adequately out of the way, allowing participants to create profound and outstanding films together. The filmmakers are left with an authentic feeling of unity and ownership of the process and final products.
3: Sustaining the Impact
Peace it Together is committed to facilitating youths in making a difference, by ensuring they have the support they need to find opportunities to share their films and to spread their messages of peace as widely as possible. We also encourage them to continue to engage with the “other” through new projects that they create or by matching them with existing peace organizations working on issues that interest them.
Whereas the dialogue and filmmaking program can be seen as the a shot-in-the-arm kind of intervention, which tends to lead to rapid and dramatic changes, a longer-term support program is like a gradual and slow “drip effect” that allows deeper, and thus more lasting changes.