This past month, PeacePlayers Cyprus’ basketball coordinator Athanasios Souflias had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii for a two week long Anatomy of Peace Facilitator Training. The Anatomy of Peace is a model for conflict resolution developed by the Arbinger Institue that PPI has adopted to use in all its programs, supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. This week we sat down with Athanasios to hear about his experiences.
Can you tell us about the seminar?
The training session was hosted at BYU-Hawaii’s McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding and led by PPI board of directors’ member Chad Ford. Myself and 2 members of the PPI Middle East family attended the training that lasted 9 days, spending over 5 hours a day in the classroom learning the principles and methods introduced in the Anatomy of Peace’s conflict transformation curriculum. We were also introduced to the art of sharing such principles as a trainer in the Anatomy of Peace seminars.
What sort of preparations did you have to make before taking part in the trainers seminar?
I read the book The Anatomy of Peace and had to reflect on and write several personal stories on how such situations have been present in my own life. For example, the essays were written on instances in which I may have been in conflict with an individual and how we moved out of the conflict. I also wrote a paper analyzing the techniques implemented by the facilitators in the book.
What did you personally gain from reading the book and attending the training seminar?
The experience was a life-changing event; it changed the way that I conceptualize individuals. It gave me a better insight into understanding others and seeking to understand what others may carry with them in their minds and in their hearts.
What do you hope to bring back from your experiences to share with the PPI program in Cyprus?
I would like to facilitate these seminars with Cypriot youth and encourage the kids to take such principles, including examining how they see “others” and apply them within their own lives.
What was the best moment of the experience for you?
There were two moments that really stood out over the 2 weeks for me. One being the excursion that other participants in the training and I took to visit waterfalls in the nearby mountains. The other being the opportunity to facilitate an Anatomy of Peace training session for the first time.