Press Releases 2010
U.S. Government Teachers Conflict Prevention Through Theater
June 8, 2010
Dushanbe, Tajikistan: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has completed the first of a series of training programs on conflict resolution using theater. Forty teachers, non-governmental organization staff and professionals that work with youth learned how to use theater to reduce conflict and to facilitate conflict resolution during the seven-day interactive Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop, held from May 31 to June 6 in Varzob. USAID implementing partner, IREX conducted the workshop on Drama for Conflict Transformation through its Youth Theater for Peace project.
The trainers discussed and analyzed the causes of conflict in their communities, learned how to develop and stage short plays about conflict issues, and practiced how to engage the audience in productive dialogue about the presented problems. Participants came from both Khatlon and Sughd regions, but quickly found a common language.
"Theater is a strong weapon for understanding," said Karomat Khodjieva, a social worker at the NGO Mahbuba in the Vakhsh district of Khatlon region. "I honestly wasn’t expecting such a warm and friendly atmosphere at this workshop. While we are one nation, there are differences between our two regions –traditions, habits, dialects. At this workshop, the barriers came down and we became one family. Through theater, there is no need for a translator – language and nationality are not important. We can use these methods in our lives to improve culture, art, and understanding."
The trainers will also conduct a series of summer camps for 100 youth from vulnerable, conflict-prone districts of Sughd and Khatlon regions. Following the completion of these summer camps, participants will conduct Youth Theater Tours in various villages, presenting plays and facilitating dialogue on conflict issues. The goal is to promote peaceful conflict resolution skills in young people.
The Youth Theater for Peace project uses an arts-based approach, which aims to promote sustainable conflict prevention at the community level by encouraging changes in attitudes and behaviors among young people. The methodology uses theater to engage community members in identifying and finding solutions to local problems.
The Youth Theater for Peace project is one of the many assistance projects the American people, through USAID, have provided in support of the people of Tajikistan. Since 1992, the American people have provided approximately $900 million in programs that support Tajikistan’s democratic institutions, health care, education and economic growth.