Quick Situations

Exercise description

Read out a scenario (that simply demands a response) and ask the question: “What do you do?” The participants share their ideas about possible reactions. The goal isn’t to determine the most appropriate or the best response, but to collect a range of possible reactions that can inform participants’ behaviour in certain situations.

Some ideas for the situations:

  1. You’ve come back from a seminar attended by people from the former Yugoslavia. You meet with acquaintances who ask you how it went. One of them comments, “You were hanging out with Shiptars* again?!” What do you do?
  2. You are at a monoethnic family gathering. There is one person present who is of a different ethnicity. One family member is provoking that person by telling inappropriate jokes (for e.g. “What’s up, Šokica**?”). You notice that the person is having a difficult time. What do you do?
  3. At a family celebration, your cousin declares, “All the Serbs left Kosovo voluntarily”. What do you do
  4. Graffiti has appeared on a neighbouring building that says “Croats to the reservation!” (or: “Serbs should be hanged! “ or “Bosnians belong in chains!”). What do you do?
  5. At work, a colleague complains, “Look at these Albanians: all the rights we gave them and this is the thanks we get!” What do you do?
  6. You are at a peace conference. A representative of an association of missing persons’ families says that only victims have the right to engage in peacebuilding. What do you do?
  7. You are in a taxi. When the taxi driver learns that you are from Bosnia, he asks, “How are you dealing with all the Muslims?!” What do you do?
  8. Your friend is fired from work because of their sexual orientation. What do you do?
  9. Your neighbourhood is planning a construction of housing for the Roma community. A

neighbour asks you to sign a petition against the construction project. What do you do?

* A derogatory term for Albanians

** A derogatory term for Croats

Type of exercise:


15-60 min


This is a good introductory exercise for the peacebuilding and peace activism topic because it serves as a reminder that all of us can and should engage in peace activism on a daily basis, even when we do not have the ideal circumstances and when we don’t have material support in the form of resources and donations. It is important to choose or create scenarios that feel familiar and realistic to the participants. At least 4–5 scenarios should be discussed. The first few take about 10–15 minutes per scenario, and the others generally go a bit faster. It is recommended to keep the entire exercise under 60 minutes because people become tired of just listening and sitting in one place.

Possible difficulties: