The 3rd International Autumn School “Peace and Conflict Transformation in Northern Europe” was held at Petrozavodsk State University on 14-17 October, 2015. The School was organized in the frameworks of the project “Barents Peace Education Network”, which establishes a sustainable network between universities in the Barents region with the purpose of developing and promoting peace education.
This year the students and lecturers from Petrozavodsk, Archangelsk, Murmansk and their colleagues from Norway, Germany and Finland took part in the lectures and workshops.
Caroline Finkeldey, the exchange student from Germany, said: “The School was working for 3 days, and we participated in the number of lectures on peace research, concerning not only theoretical studies, but also case studies: pacifism in Russia, dialogue as an instrument for strengthening capacities for peace, and conflict in Commonwealth of Independent States region”.
“I liked the school very much. It was well organized with interesting lectures and lecturers. It was useful for me in a sense that I got to see the Russian perspective on different matters,” told Olli Rönkä, the exchange student from Finland.
Caroline: “I study the Russian history and culture at the University Bremen, for this reason I didn’t have much preliminary knowledge about peace research, but I really liked the lectures. The most interesting lecture was devoted to dialogue as an instrument for strengthening capacities for peace. At the workshop we didn’t discuss theoretical aspects much, but tested these techniques in practice”.
Olli added: “The most interesting part was the practical exercise led by Norunn Grande. Usually workshops are very theory-oriented and complex but Norunn's exercises made people think of their identities and use dialogue instead of debating”.
Caroline: “One of the most informative lecture dealt with the history of Karelia. I have been living in Petrozavodsk for one and a half months, but before that moment was not familiar with the history of the region. The Autumn School helped me a lot and provided with better understanding of the Russian perspective”.
On the last day of the School the participants visited village Rubcheila. “We saw traditional Karelian houses and our guide told as about the history of village. After the excursion we had a traditional Karelian lunch including self caught fish, self baked kalitki, mors, ukha and vegetables. Babushkas that have been our hosts, performed some traditional Karelian and Russian songs”.
On the whole, the School was an interesting, useful and pleasant experience for all of the participants.