Through the Practitioners Exchange Program, Peace-it-Together officers become inspired, motivated and refreshed with a visit to the ever-so-disciplined and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking of the SwissPeace team. Ellada Evaggelou lets us in on all the fab details:
On arriving in Switzerland, the Cyprus delegation adopted a steady issue of commentary: how tidy the cities were, how lawful and polite the drivers, and how accommodating the general system seemed to be. Going around in Bern was a breeze; we felt safe and carried out tasks effortlessly. The whole experience seemed too good to be true, and in veritable Mediterranean spirit, considered creating little snippets of chaos. Not because of malicious intentions, but perhaps we are simply genetically inclined to do so.
We even talked about exchanging our own Centers’ buildings with the gorgeous river-side main offices of SwissPeace in Bern, if such an agreement could be reached.
And then we started talking with our hosts at SwissPeace. In multiple meetings with researchers and practitioners, technocrats and administrators, conversations and exchanges flowed. Buildings and side-walks disappeared from the forefront of our minds, and we slowly realized that the essence of the city and the organization wasn’t the skin-deep analysis we had done thus far… it was their personalities, openness, the depth and severity of their work, their generous nature. Our conversations commenced and continued with the understanding of the vast potential of people coming together to communicate on something we are all passionate about, peace. The NGO-SC and Management Center directors and Knowledge Innovation Officers of the Peace it Together network found a unique opportunity through the Practitioners Exchange Program to converse about product development, innovation and research, collaboration and sustainability.
A heartfelt thanks to Michaela, Anita, Ursula, Andrea, Andreas, Sidonia, Marco, Roland and Matthias for their openness and generosity, with their time, ideas and good spirits. Although I would still like to make a suggestion to commission the making of murals (modeled after Van Gogh’s Sunflowers) on the empty walls outside the NGO SC and Management Centre!