During the last week of March, a project led by the Verdala International Secondary School successfully brought together a wide mix of around 60 students, between 14 and 18 years of age, from two international schools in Malta – Verdala and Quality School International (QSI) –, as well as two visiting schools from Rwanda and Togo.
The students met for the first time on Wednesday 27th March to take part to a whole afternoon of interactive activities at Peace Lab, in Ħal-Far. As part of the activities organised during the day, members of Kopin delivered workshops on conflict resolution.
The students were given the opportunity to interact between themselves and work together on developing solutions to potential conflict situations, which were inspired by real-world events. All students took part in the workshop, which was repeated four times with 15 students each. The potential conflict was presented to them in the form of a short fictional story. Students were split into two groups representing two populations; these were presented as being on the brink of conflict, based on the workshop fictional scenario. They worked in their groups to develop a peaceful solution that would avoid conflict.
Through this activity, they were confronted with the reality of how difficult it could be to maintain peace when each population wants to defend their own interests. They were able to appreciate the importance of recognising the needs of others rather than arguing a single position. Most importantly, the students understood that such a scenario is the reality of many conflicts around the world which are even more difficult to deal with due to a much larger number of conflicting factors than those presented in the story.
The workshop ran smoothly and the students were very enthusiastic. They voiced their opinions, listened to each other and were able to come up with solutions based on a peaceful approach which was the main goal of the activity. The day was a huge success and was brought to a close with music, food and laughter around a bonfire in the garden of Peace Lab.