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Notice: Our courses are in german language.
We will inform you here, as soon as we can offer seminars in english language again. 

A new perspective on conflict and violence:
The OeD presents itself

francais

Objectives

„aufgabe; Selbstverständnis und Aufgabe The association Oekumenischer Dienst Schalomdiakonat (OeD), "Ecumenical Service for a Ministry of Shalom", has set itself the task to provide learning opportunities in the area of nonviolent conflict transformation for women and men from different Churches, countries and occupations. Participation in our courses can qualify them for professional or voluntary work for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. People who have attended our courses work in projects in their own countries or abroad, on a long or short term basis. On request, the OeD may engage in a project partnership and provide personal and professional backup during their time of service.

Our hands-on work in the area of conflict transformation, qualifying people and accompanying them in their work, is rooted in our ecumenical spirituality. It also has a political dimension: OeD raises its voice in peace issues within the Churches and within society.

If we want to deal with conflict in a constructive and nonviolent way, we need a new perspective - a new way of looking at conflict and at our conflict partners, and - last but not least - at ourselves. We see conflict as an opportunity for positive development.

Courses

The OeD offers basic and advanced level courses. Both of them may be followed either as a compact training or, rather more adapted to the challenges of participants' professional work, split into several training sessions which take place mostly on week-ends. The basic course is designed as an introduction to nonviolent action. It lasts 14 days. On four week-ends and in a final one-week seminar, we explore steps towards an attitude of nonviolence and constructive ways of dealing with conflict. This includes practical training, theoretical understanding of issues related to conflict transformation, as well as personal reflection of one's own ways of reacting in situations of conflict.

The advanced level course corresponds to the qualification of "Friedensfachkraft" (professional peace worker) offered by other organisations. It lasts one and a half years and is conducted with a fixed group of participants. This long term learning process enables us to work with the ongoing experience of participants. The course creates a safe space where participants can acquire new knowledge and skills, and practice them. The group itself becomes a training field for working with conflict. In this way of learning, competencies are developed that help to cope with difficult situations of conflict and crisis.

We often organise our basic courses in co-operation with interested Churches or Church related institutions, for example in the context of The Decade for Overcoming Violence. We also offer tailor-made courses, developed in close co-operation with our partners, such as an introduction into non-violent action as part of a training for clergy, an empowerment training with refugees, or week-end workshops or seminars on specific issues.

Contents and standards

The capacity to change one's perspective and to find creative solutions to problems are personal key competencies that we convey in our courses.

The training is geared to professionally experienced people who intend to deepen or renew their engagement with issues of peace and justice. Building on their experiences and talents, the training focuses on four areas of learning: knowledge - skills - being - vision. Content includes, for example:

We work according to the standards of qualification which were agreed with other organisations within the Aktionsgemeinschaft Dienst für den Frieden (ADGF), a German network of organisations engaged in service for peace. These standards help us to maintain and develop the quality of our educational work.

Project partnerships

Begegnung und Konfliktbearbeitung in Cape Town / Südafrika What do people do once they have successfully finished our courses? Most of them remain where they are and use their new skills in their familiar environments. Others look for a new professional challenge, and some choose to do a specific service for peace on a short, medium or long term basis.

On request, we accompany people who have been to our courses in their peace work. We engage in a partnership that involves finding a volunteer within OeD who will maintain close contact with them. This may include practical support, as well as counselling and reflection about professional and personal aspects of the work.

Some of our project partners are involved in helping to re-establish contact and communication between different ethnic groups in post-war situations. On a local level, they help to build relationships between neighbours that will hopefully last even when new conflicts occur, or they offer training for nonviolent conflict transformation. On a regional level, they support efforts for peacebuilding and help with networking, often across borders.

Vision and profile

We are convinced that only nonviolent conflict transformation can lead to sustainable solutions to conflicts. For us, nonviolence is a principle of life, a basic attitude of respect towards life. Nonviolence connects us to our sources of power and gives us orientation in our work for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.

We are inspired by the biblical vision of Shalom, a peace that is based on justice and that includes peace with nature. This is the inspiration for our specific profile, a combination of professional competence and a "spirituality of nonviolence" that includes a commitment for political involvement. This is, in brief, what we mean by "Schalomdiakonat".

We invite people to explore and deepen their spiritual basis, as well as acquire knowledge and training for nonviolent conflict transformation. We see our specific contribution to a service for peace, inspired by our responsibility as Christians, in continually connecting these two aspects in our courses.

Origin and networking

Oekumenischer Dienst Schalomdiakonat (OeD) is an ecumenical non-profit organisation, founded in 1992. It is based on the initiative of people who have a commitment to Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, and who decided to set up a system of qualification and accompaniment for those who want to serve in this field. The OeD was founded in the context of the global Conciliar Process of Christian Churches for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, which led to several ecumenical declarations. We refer particularly to the commitment of the World Ecumenical Conference in Seoul held in 1990:

"We commit ourselves to work and engage our Churches to work for a community of the Churches who claim their identity as the Body of Christ through providing witness to the liberating love of God through developing and co-ordinating justice and peace ministries including a global non-violent service which can advance the struggle for human rights and liberation and serve in situations of conflict, crises and violence."

The OeD is a member of "Pax Christi", the European network "Church and Peace" and the Aktionsgemeinschaft Dienst für den Frieden (AGDF) and its network of organisations offering training in nonviolent conflict transformation (Qualifizierungsverbund für gewaltfreie Konfliktbearbeitung).

Finances

Qualified educational work and project partnerships are costly. Our fees for membership and courses are deliberately kept low in order to be affordable, they do not cover our costs. Our work is mainly funded by Churches and foundations, fund raising activities of congregations and other groups of supporters, and by donations.

Our most important financial sources have so far been the German Protestant Church (EKD) and the Bremen based Stiftung die schwelle, "the threshold foundation". Further contributions are made for specific courses or projects by different Churches and organisations.

In order to keep our financial independence, we have to rely on donations made by individuals or groups who are willing and able to support us either through single or regular payments. In 2002 the foundation Stiftung Schalomdiakonat was set up to support our organisation. For this we still need donors who are willing to give a minimum of 2,500 Euros to raise the capital stock.

Bank account for tax-deductible donations:
Name of account: Oekumenischer Dienst Schalomdiakonat
IBAN: DE 13520604100000003263
BIC: GENODEF1EK1
Name of Bank: Evangelische Kreditgenossenschaft Kassel

Contact

For further information about particular courses, about partner projects, and about the foundation Stiftung Schalomdiakonat or other aspects of our work, please contact our office:
Oekumenischer Dienst Schalomdiakonat
Mittelstr. 4, D-34474 Diemelstadt-Wethen
Phone + 49 5694 8033, Fax + 49 5694 1532
E-Mail: info@schalomdiakonat.de

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