Today was the first day of the Youth Forum. The day was devoted to using AVP exercises to bring people into community; to understand violence as a means of beginning to understand how to work toward non-violence; and to practice using the skills that we'd built during the day. Maia and Turtle and I worked together to facilitate the day. Feed back at the end of the day was quite positive with the great majority sharing that they had moved past a place of national identity to a place of seeing one another as human beings and friends. Many of the participants are from countries where they are traditionally at odds with one another so this was wonderful feedback to receive.
Tomorrow we will return to the conference as participants for the day - being available to talk and share our experiences. The following day we will do an exercise called "Building a New Society" in the morning and our part will be complete. The coordinators of this conference are very young, predominantly women who have done a fantastic job of bringing together, in 25 participants, an incredibly diverse group and a program that leads them to, and through the problems of hate speech, hate actions, and discrimination. I am very impressed!
Both Turtle and I are working to keep colds at bay so earlier nights than we have had are welcome!
Next week, our last here, is beginning to fill up with a visit to the American Embassy to talk about AVP and to attempt to elicit their support, will take place on Monday afternoon, and a meeting with facilitators to work on their skills will happen on Wednesday evening. Still to be scheduled a meeting with the Abkhazian High Council in Exile and a full day mini-workshop for the South Ossetians. It seems we will be busy until the very end!