In 1994, the Norwegian town of Lillehammer hosted the XVII Winter Olympics.
At the same time, another former Winter Olympic host city was under siege: Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
With support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Red Cross and Norwegian Church Aid, a group of Norwegian citizen decided to create a series of dialogue sessions bringing Bosnian locals to Lillehammer for seminars on dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution. With additional help from the Peace Research Institute Oslo
, they welcomed the first group from the former Yugoslavia in September 1995.
Since then, the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue
(NCPD)was formed to faciliate dialogue sessions in Lillehammer, the Balkans and in other post-conflict societies around the world. In addition to their ongoing work on the ground, they host weeklong dialogue sessions for facilitators and practitioners working in the field. This includes an annual summer school for young people looking to enhance their practitioning skills and learn from professionals.
In June 2018 I participated in their workshops. Here's what we learned.