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OSIJEK, 27th September 2018

Center for peace and non-violence team members have conducted a workshop on the role of civil society during the Homeland war and aftermath in the Third Gymnasium Osijek on 27th September 2018. The workshop was led by history teachers Mr Vedran Ristić and Mr Nikica Torbica, who were researching the Anti-war campaign, as well as Mrs Katarina Kruhonja, co-founder of the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights Osijek the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the main actors of the war and post-war events in Croatia.

The students opened discussion with a talk about the emergence and importance of civil society in Croatia. They were introduced to the Anti-war campaign, critically examined its charter, and then in five groups worked on documents of the Anti-war campaign related to evictions, conscientious objections, the Pakrac Volunteer Project, ARKzin (newspaper of the Anti-war Campaign) and perception of anti-war movements in the media.

In the second part of the workshop, the students had an opportunity to listen a personal testimony by Mrs Katarina Kruhonja who talked about reasons for launching a peace initiative in Osijek, about peace experience during the war, getting an Alternative Nobel Peace Award and work during the Peaceful Reintegration of the Croatian Danube region. Mrs Kruhonja presented organisation’s archival footage on the contribution of civilians and civil society to peaceful integration – as an introduction to the question of where we are today. The presentation ended with insight into the importance of peace work today, despite the absence of the war.

Workshop methodology: personal narrative approach: since 1996 she has devoted herself to supporting peaceful reintegration through post-conflict peacebuilding in war-torn areas. In one initiative, Kruhonja formed multi-ethnic peace teams to support peaceful return and reconstruction in ten communities in Eastern Croatia that had been destroyed during the war. She is actively involved in several peace organizations and NGO networks, such as the Vukovar Institute for Peace Education and Research and National Foundation for Development of Civil Society and Documentation – Centre for Dealing with the Past. She is a member of Executive Committee of Pax Christi International.
The students had many questions for Mrs Kruhonja, which is why a host professor (also present at the class) donated part of his (third) lesson.
Personal narrative presented by Mrs Katarina Kruhonja was the main methodological element serving as the vehicle for establishing the large-scale or wider picture for understanding the past events. Thus, working through a narrative allows the students to have both elements present in their learning and for later recall. Using her personal stories and experiences, the students were provoked to interact and debate among themselves, but also with the trainer.

Workshop outline Osijek PDF

Local activities and workshops prepared and delivered by
Mr Vedran Ristić and Mr Nikica Torbica, History teachers