The PIASS Peace Club (PPC) has been founded by students of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and has members from different departments and faculties today. PPC conducts peace related activities with students from PIASS and other Higher Learning Institutions, as well as Civil Society Organizations. On the PPC website, you will find more information about the Club and its activities at https://piasspeaceclub.wordpress.com.
Trauma First Aid Training 2021
for Students from PIASS
CRASPD, in collaboration with the PIASS Peace Club and with support from the Regional GIZ Civil Peace Service Program, conducted five days of Trauma First Aid Training for the first time online. Two clinical Psychologists with plenty of experience, Therese Uwitonze, the Director of Mental Health Dignity Foundation, together with Violette Niyarukundu from Kigali, trained fourteen students who were eager to learn how to support persons who they might find in an emotional crisis after a traumatic event and / or during events for the Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
A lot of content that was covered in the training concerned the human mind, mental health, different types of trauma, their consequences on people’s mental and physical health and the interconnections between violence and trauma, as well as useful techniques to support others in emotional distress and to take care of oneself. Although many brilliant questions were asked and answered and participants appreciated the new knowledge they gained, many regretted that the training was not done face-to-face due to COVID-19 restrictions and expressed their wish that they would have a follow-up day to practice the techniques that they had learnt in theory.
More about the Trauma First Aid Training project in collaboration with the PIASS Peace Club can be found in the article published in a book on Memory Work documenting the conference on the topic in cooperation with the University of Kwa-Zulu-Nathal in 2019, downloadable here: Trauma_1st_Aid_Training_article_2019
Critical Thinking Discussion to mark the Entry into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on January 22, 2021
On January 22, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force. To mark this great occasion and success of international peace movement, CRASPD, together with the PIASS Peace Club, organized an online critical thinking discussion about the danger of nuclear weapons, the significance of the contract and the future of atomic weapons and nuclear materials. Students, graduates and friends of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies of PIASS from Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo and different countries in the region, as well as from Central America and Japan joined the event.
The discussion was facilitated by the Local Peace Advisor of PIASS, together with two graduates of the department of Peace and Conflict Studies of PIASS, one of them in South Sudan, and the other in DR Congo who had been trained in facilitating Critical Thinking Discussions in PIASS during their studies.
The participants many of whom had not known much about nuclear weapons and the dangers of the exploitation and use of nuclear materials before this event, were deeply impressed by the statement of Setsuko Thurlow. She is one of the survivors of the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima in 1945 in Japan, the country who, many years later, suffered from the nuclear disaster at the power plant of Fukushima. Her statement read: “ It is vitally important that we all understand that the nuclear age will continue for beyond the nuclear weapon age”.
PIASS Peace Club
Evaluation and Planning Workshop
PIASS CRASPD supported the Committee of the PIASS Peace Club to conduct their Evaluation and planning workshop in January 2020. After reviewing the activities that the Committee had been conducting after their election in August 2019 and how the routines and regular meetings of the Committee are working, the participants looked at the goals they had set themselves at the start of their tenure, the activities they had been planning, the achievements they made and challenges they faced on the way.
In the second part of the workshop, activities that had been planned but not yet conducted and newly suggested ones were distributed into task forces of two to four members, who developed an action plan to put these activities into practice.
Finally, the different action plans were presented and brought into an overall ‘calendar’, and budgets were drafted for each of them that were then combined into a funding proposal and submitted to the Japanese Mission Support group.
Some members of PPC and graduates who had been in the Committee in earlier years, together with our 2018 intern David from DR Congo, who is now studying in Eastern Mennonite University and co facilitating the STAR program, produced a video with “messages to people undergoing Coronavirus outbreak”. It brings together young people from different parts of the world to stand up against the stigma of COVID-19. The following is the link to David’s video David’s Video with messages to people experiencing a Coronavirus outbreak: https://youtu.be/oPmmG0-UURY ?
The PIASS Peace Club (PPC) conducted a study trip to Burundi in September 2019, with support from CRASPD, to meet peace organizations IPB, THARS, and MIPAREC and the members of a student club in the Great Lakes University in Bujumbura and to learn and exchange about their work in the field of peacebuilding.
PIASS Peace Club – new Committee elected
A general assembly of the PIASS Peace Club (PPC) conducted an election of a new committee on July 14.. On July 28, a session was held with members of the outgoing and the incoming committees to prepare the handover process. The official handover will occur in the next General Assembly on August 18, 2019. Among the activities that the outgoing committee will pass to the incoming one are workshops on ‘peace related concepts’ — for members of the peace clubs in the Buhimba Secondary School and in the PIASS campus in Karongi — and a study trip to Burundi.
Student Trauma First Aid Training Project
Ahead of the PIASS Commemoration of lecturers and students killed on PIASS campus during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, CRASPD, in collaboration with the PIASS PEace Club, conducted a Trauma First Aid Refresher Training on April 29 to 30, 2019, with an aim to refresh and update the knowledge and skills of the student Mental Health Advisors who had been trained in 2017 and 2018. These skills are acquired to be able to help people with emotional crises during genocide commemoration events. The trainer, Therese Uwitonze, a clinical psychologist at Mental Health Dignity Foundation (MHDF, http://mhdf-rwanda.website2.me/) reviewed some basic concepts with the participants and gave them many opportunities to practice approaches and techniques to support people who are in emotional turmoil. Towards the end of the training, the participants, in collaboration with the trainer and members of the PIASS Red Cross Club, formed support teams who would be on duty with different tasks during the commemoration event at PIASS. More about the Student Trauma First Aid Training project can be found in an article that is in press and will soon be published as part of a Colloquium documentation.
BA in Peace Building and Development
The Honors Bachelor Degree Course in Peace Building and Development is the first academic program offered by the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at PIASS.
We offer short certificate courses for peace and development practitioners, community and religious leaders, and others concerned with sustainable peace and development.
Workshop on Peace Related Concept for Peace Club Committees
Upon request of the PIASS Peace Club, CRASPD held a workshop on peace related concepts with 14 members of Peace Clubs at Buhimba Secondary School, PIASS Karongi Campus, and the ‘mother’ PIASS (Huye) Peace Club, on the weekend June 29-31, 2018 at the Huye Campus. It was facilitated by the CRASPD Peace Officer, Floriane Niyungeko, and Assistant Coordinator, Muvunyi Serge. In conclusion, all three peace clubs drafted a tentative activity plan which they will now develop further in communication with the members of each club.