Understanding Culture and Identity as a Resource for Peacebuilding (UCIRP)

Understanding Culture and Identity as a Resource for Peacebuilding (UCIRP)

Joan McGregor (South Africa/United Kingdom)

This course will explore the overarching questions about identity and culture – religion, political affiliation, family dynasties, clan relationships, nationality, gender and the marginalized: what part of these labels is identity? What part of these is culture? How and when does power come into play? How do communities retain their identity without falling into an ethnocentric mindset that can lead to exclusion and conflict? How does one’s identity affect one’s role in civil society? How can we, as peacebuilders, become multi-cultural?

This course is designed to focus on issues related to prejudice, exclusion and marginalization. It will deepen understanding of some of the key elements that shape identity and examine how identity can change. It will also examine concepts of culture, and explore the interplay between culture and identity. Participants will be expected to be willing to explore their own identity and culture as part of the learning journey. Throughout the week, the knowledge and experience of participants will contribute to the learning process, which will be participatory and draw on many different techniques, including small group and plenary discussion, short presentations, application of frameworks to participants’ own contexts, role plays and simulations. Space will be created to practice skills essential for cross-cultural communication.