REPORT ON THE SUMMER SCHOOL

The work camp for the youth representatives lasted from August, 2 till August 13. From the 2nd of August till 11th of August, 11 participants were trained on traditional methods of conflict prevention and resolution and worked together in a work camp side by side. The participants got familiar with various ways of conflict prevention and resolution such as institute of ak-sakaldar (elderly people), elchilik (folk diplomacy), strategies and tactics used by women, conflict prevention and the sacred sites, traditional models of self-organization and conflict resolution, conflict resolution in Islam, interethnic marriages, conflict prevention and traditional artists, musicians and poets (akyns), conflict prevention through traditional games, etc. The participants got a unique chance to interact with experts and traditional knowledge bearers. This provided them with an opportunity to compare and commingle academic and non-academic approaches towards conflict prevention and resolution. The idea of incorporating the labor component (by turning the event into a work camp) into the training program proved useful. Working component as well as site visits such as excursions to Dary-Bulak, Kyan-Kamar in Kaindy, Kudayar kandyn Chebi places played the ice-breaker role and helped to improve friendly interactions between the participants.

On 12th of August above-mentioned participants went to Kojo Kaiyr sacred site which is located nearby Markaz village of Batken region. In Markaz, they met with local informal leaders who prevented clashes between Uzbek and Kyrgyz people in 2010 after Osh events such as the leader of Uzbek mahallyah (district) of Markaz, several women who bear the knowledge of peace-keeping traditions of Uzbek and Kyrgyz people and a person who was the head of a committee for prevention of conflict in June 2010. These people told the participants about their experience on conflict prevention and resolution, on how they managed to prevent the possible outburst of conflict between Kyrgyz and Uzbek people in Markaz. It turned out that many traditional ways of conflict prevention are being implemented for peace-keeping purposes in Markaz. For instance, the participants were told how institution of ak-sakaldar is used in local communities of Markaz to settle down conflicts. Moreover, women of Markaz told about their strategies for conflict prevention and about mushkulkashat in particular. Mushkul kashat is a series of women gatherings which are hosted in participating women’s houses by turns. The main aim of such gathering is improvement of communication between participating women and making good wishes to each other that leads to the improvement of friendly relationships between people.

Before the start of work camp in Kaiyndy we were expecting that some preselected Uzbek and Kyrgyz participants from Markaz would join the event. However, due to certain reasons (see challenges section), they could not come. Thus, in order to get the youth representatives from Markaz exposed to the traditional ways of conflict prevention and to enable the participants of the work camp to improve their understanding of everything they had learned over the course of the work camp, the latter were assigned to conduct training for the former. It should be noted that the program of this training had been developed by the participants themselves on the basis of the lessons they had learned during the work camp. Thus, they conducted one day training on comparative analysis of traditional and modern ways of conflict prevention and resolution for 5 representatives of the local youth. The trainers and trainees were of the same age on these training and it turned out to be fruitful. All trainers and trainees got involved into an interesting discussion during this training, asking each other questions and sharing their experience on how they prevented or/and solved problems in everyday life.

The last day of the event (13th of August) the participants spent in Osh. They visited few sites of interest as well as On Adyr, Cheremushki and Furkad mahallyas. On Adyr is known for its 100% Uzbek population and considered by Kyrgyz population of Osh as the most dangerous part of the city for Kyrgyz people. And when the participants went for dinner to the local restaurants in On Adyr, local Uzbeks told us that we were first non-Uzbek people who came to On Adyr in night time. These visits influenced the participants in a way that one of them noted that any kind of separation and segregation between Uzbek and Kyrgyz people leads to a creation of negative stereotypes that prevents interethnic reconciliation.

Besides that, the participants visited other sites of interest full of elements of culture which equally belong to Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Tajik cultures. This common cultural heritage can provide very reliable grounds for reconciliation.