Benedict Weiss

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What are contexts and issues that you work on? How are you using peace education to address these issues? What keeps you going?

In the Bolivian Andean Region, the patterns of colonial past are still present in a society that is strongly divided by ethnic and cultural distinctions.The identity divisions are not permanently the main source of division, nevertheless they pop up in moments of political tensions. The Peace Education project I participated in aims at mainstreaming a culture of peace in Potosí, Bolivia and tackles the different roots of division working with state and non-state actors. We have gathered together a group of individuals from different institutions that participate in our training courses. The interchange of the IIPE19 inspired me in my daily work. Last October we had an outbreak of political violence after the Bolivian Elections. The change in political violence could be observed on social media networks in which political differences transformed into xenophobic narratives against indigenous people. Our peace project started a communication strategy to tackle these narratives and invited people to use non-violent communication and dialogue.

What has been your most meaningful or noteworthy moment in your peace education career?

It strikes me every time when workshop participants change their perceptions about others and try to work together with people from other cultural or ethnic backgrounds.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

I started working in this field by accident.