Friends Peace Teams and Peacebuilding UK conducted an 8-day AVP intensive workshop in Gudauri, Georgia, 24 April to 1 May. The training brought together a diverse group of 25 people from the Republic of Georgia, Ukraine and several republics of the North Caucasus with Nadine Hoover from the USA and myself, Chris Hunter, from the UK. Power of Goodness trainers attended from East and West Ukraine, with very differing views about the war raging with Russia in Eastern Ukraine. AVP trainers attended from Georgia, some displaced and others living in fear of what’s next. Georgia and Russia are also effectively at war, with Russia occupying around a third of Georgia’s territory. Power of Goodness trainers attended from Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, southern Russia or what is known as the North Caucasus. The workshop brought people closely together who are all from conflict-fraught regions. The feedback has been very positive from those who attended. Communication and friendships among participants have remained active since the training. There was an overwhelming sense among everyone by the end of the workshop that despite the huge challenges they faced, Peace is Possible!
The two Chechen trainees, Venera Islamova and Rustam Musaev have continued their work with university students in Grozny, Chechnya in May, using elements of both Power of Goodness and Creating Cultures of Peace, particularly to counteract the radicalization of young people in the region. They were inspired by the work of Petrus at Peace Place in Indonesia, who is also working on interfaith youth training to counteract radicalism that spreading globally today.