Peace Activism and Nonviolent Action

One of the main goals of this workshop is to encourage an active role in peacebuilding, from sparking motivation for peace activism, through providing inspiration for simple or more complex activities, to workshopping ideas about peace activism.

Workshop Example



Quick Situations

Type of exercise: Discussion in plenary

Duration: 35–60 minutes


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:

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?

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?

At a family celebration, your cousin declares, “All the Serbs left Kosovo voluntarily”. What do you do?

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?

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?

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?

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?

Your friend is fired from work because of their sexual orientation. What do you do?

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?



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.


Wall Newspaper: Examples of Nonviolent Action

Duration: 25 minutes


Developing Ideas About Peace/Nonviolent Activism

Type of exercise: Small group work, plenary presentations and discussion

Duration: 90 minutes

Materials: A few copies of the questionnaire, a large piece of paper, markers


Exercise description

Divide the participants into smaller groups. Each group should talk through ideas for peace activism, across borders or in a single community, choose one and develop it so that they can answer the following questions:

–    Short description of the activity.

–    Who would be your allies and who would be your adversaries?

–    What would you need to realise this idea?

–    What are the risks involved?

–    Which preconditions need to be fulfilled?

–    What are the necessary steps that need to be taken? What obstacles need to be overcome?

After 40 minutes of small group work, there are presentations. After each presentation you should leave some time for questions from the rest of the group and the team of trainers.



Participants develop the idea and plan how to implement peace activities using a catalogue of questions as a basis. Then they present their idea for activities in front of the others and have the chance to receive feedback.


Developing the idea

  1. Vrsta aktivnosti:
  2. Trajanje aktivnosti:
  3. Ciljna grupa:
  4. Cilj:
  5. Tim, mesto, vreme (ukoliko se zna):
  6. Kratak opis ideje, koji bi obuhvatio odgovore na sledeća pitanja:
  • Na koji način se doprinosi ostvarenju navedenog cilja?
  • Šta želite da postignete? Očekivani rezultati? Kratkoročni i dugoročni?
  • Zašto je izabrana navedena ciljna grupa?
  • Kakav legitimitet imam spram njih?
  • Postoje li aspekti ove aktivnosti koji doprinose razgradnji mira?
  • Koje dileme imam? Koje strahove?

Planning the implementation

  • Resources that I have and that I still need? (strengths and weaknesses
  • What kind of support do you need? Expected support from CNA (kind and amount)?
  • Do I see others from this group being involved? How?
  • Describe the implementation process (in steps/bullet points)
  • Following steps? Make a timeline.
  • Make a table with responsibilities and deadlines!