Asia West Pacific

The Practice of Building Healthy Relationships: Kaia Vereide’s Reflections from the 7th International Peace Training

By: Kaia Vereide, USA, living in Jeju Island, Korea

“The International Peace Training provided a safe environment to meet diverse new people and experiment together with practices to sustain healthy lives and relationships while working to build cultures of peace. We practiced celebrating mistakes, and we were reminded by a banner to take care of our human needs and “please use the toilets, water, kitchen, etc.” In particular, I could practice being “Confident Kaia” and overcoming my fears of opening up and expressing emotions. We not only talked about how to make healthy relationships with the environment but also experienced the value of eating delicious, healthy, environmentally friendly food. We practiced building healthy relationships with tools like mixing the seating arrangements and meeting in small companion groups with equal opportunities to share on a deeper level. We could sense how the activities flowed together and learn about diverse ways that they are being applied around the world.

It is always hard to make connections between special events and daily life, but I was lucky to have participated together with other friends from Jeju who want to continue to apply the tools for Creating Cultures of Peace in our local context. Before this year’s peace training, we had already been practicing Creating Cultures of Peace tools, but this experience in Indonesia has given me inspiration to be more proactive, to build trust and confidence to try to do more with the other participants from Jeju. The practice working together in Indonesia provided familiarity to continue meeting for Good Companion groups, and to practice using Power of Goodness Stories and other CCP activities whether in a full workshop or mixed into other peace education programs and meetings. I am excited for what lies ahead!”