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Rondine: an Eco-sustainable World-House for International Students Engaged in Peacebuilding

Rondine as a model of intercultural coexistence: a community engaged in promoting conflict transformation and environmental sustainability.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Rondine Cittadella della Pace is an Italian NGO active in conflict transformation since 1997. It trains students to face today challenges in social, political and cultural issues in order to build a new model of citizenship based on justice and peace.
The World House is the core project of Rondine. Each year it hosts thirty students from opposite sides of conflict areas (Balkans, North and South Caucasus, the Middle East and Africa), who are carefully selected for academic and personal criteria.
Resource depletion and climate change urgently present environmental protection as a top priority in the international debate, particularly in conflict prevention. Environmental issues increase the vulnerability of crisis situations; catastrophes and conflicts over natural resources increase the risk of armed violence between populations.
 
The idea is therefore to integrate conflict transformation with environmental issues, both in the training of students and in the everyday life of the eco-friendly village, which would become a model of sustainability.
6 students from different countries and cultures of the Middle East (Israelis, Palestinian, Lebanese) attend a residential training program and a postgraduate degree course, in partnership with the main local Universities, focused on environmental peacebuilding.
Upon completion of the program, students return to their countries to make a change in their societies, and join the International Peace Lab: the network of 150 alumni who are already working for peacebuilding.
The project would therefore cover the improvement of sustainability of the village, the personal and academic training of the students, and their follow-up projects in Middle East on environmental peacebuilding.
The achievement of such a model serves both as an educational program, to enable youngsters to act and make a change in their societies, and as an example of the actual possibility to live peacefully and in respect of the environment.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The direct beneficiaries will be 6 university students, from 20 to 28 years old, from different countries, cultures and religions of the Middle East (Israelis, Palestinians, Lebanese), who are willing to undertake a personal and academic training in a multicultural community, together with their "enemy", and consequently conceive and implement a project of environmental peacebuilding in their home country.
As indirect beneficiaries, an average of 3000 people visit the Citadel of Rondine to attend the various activities proposed (from cultural conferences to short-term international workshops) or to experience the international life at the World House.
The final beneficiaries of Rondine's work are the students' societies of origin, which benefit from the projects implemented by the professionals trained at Rondine after the end of their program.
150 alumni, organized in the network Rondine International Peace Lab, are already active in their home countries.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The uniqueness of Rondine’s idea is three-fold. First, the long-term coexistence of students who are selected from the opposites sides of conflict regions. The distinction from other confidence-building workshops consists of the long-term nature of the program, which covers at least 18 months. The difference with other international schools, is in the selection of students, who expressly decide to experience a community life with their enemy.
Second, transforming Rondine into a citadel of sustainability aims to an integral human scale ecology, unique in its kind. Eco-friendly or green villages are already thriving all over the world, but they do not combine the higher purpose of building a new model of citizenship and community life, where social and environmental sustainability are simultaneously pursued.
Finally, the unique combination between the personal training and the academic degree constitute a truly original approach, aimed to fully prepare youngsters for their careers.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Majority Adoption: I have expanded the pilot significantly and the program product or service has been adopted by the majority of our intended user base.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Rondine's World House is an experience of civil commitment for conflict transformation. It takes place through the experience of cohabitation with other students and through daily activities. This is the central part of where the education process and training take place - learning in living. The variety of activities and projects on peacebuilding, human rights, environmental issues, social cohesion, inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, are further detailed at http://www.rondine.org

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In 1995, Rondine's founders negotiated a cease-fire in Chechenia. The condition of local students inspired the idea to allow them complete their education in Italy. Beyond the humanitarian need, the natural and cultural richness of Tuscany, where Rondine is set, inspired a more holistic idea: living with the enemy in a neutral international community. The growing relevance of enviromental issues extended the ambition to a model of coexistence which is sustainable for the society and the planet.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The need for peace and reconciliation is crucial for the areas of conflict of Rondine's students. The Middle East in particular suffers from conflicts which are strictly linked to natural resources. The environmental peacebuilding approach is already developing in the area, and Rondine's students will be able to integrate in evolving sector for their work for peace and environment. The selection is targeted in those sectors of the societies where peace and reconciliation are a crucial issue.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The first partners of the World House are the institutional and civil society contacts on the field, from Israel, Palestine and Lebanon. Government, Universities, Youth Associations, Civil Associations who work in peacebuilding, education, environmental sustainability and intercultural dialogue. These organizations are first of all involved in the selections of students for the World House. Furthermore, the same institutions become the key partners of the alumni network Rondine International Peace Lab, supporting the field work of Rondine's alumni.
An example of the latter, concerning Sub-Saharian Africa, is the project to support the March 2018 elections in Sierra Leone: a 18-months program of activities to improve the democratic quality of the local elections, in partnership with local institutions. http://www.rondine.org/en/news-modulo-news-2/715-rondine-international-peace-lab-for-democratic-and-peaceful-elections-in-sierra-leone.html

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Rondine's community is a unique experience of carefully young students who live an intense training to take action and make a change in their societies. Everything they learn about intercultural coexistence, social cohesion and environmental sustainability can be implemented in the students' countries of origin.

Geographic Focus

Rondine is set in Italy. The idea targets Israel, Palestine and Lebanon, where students come from.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

A cycle of a training program for students is scheduled as a 2 years program. This includes the Master program, the training in environmental peacebuilding, the development of their projects. A further period of 12 months shall follow the residential program at Rondine, in order to monitor and support the implementation of the students' projects on the field.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

2 comments

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Photo of Shikha Dixit
Team

Dear Rondine, You have mentioned about the three fold methodology. Could you please explain the second step in detail (mentioning what exactly you are planning to do?)
Thanks Shikha

Photo of rondine
Team

Dear Shikha, many thanks for your comment.
If I understand correctly, you refer to the 3 reasons of "uniqueness" of our idea.
The second concerns the simultaneous work on peace and environment. The community is indeed composed of students coming from opposite sides of conflict areas. The setting of the project is the "green" village of Rondine, in Tuscany. The "Citadel of Peace" of Rondine is set in a natural reserve, has an ancient historical architecture, and it is environmentally sustainable. The tiny village is entirely inhabited by the community of students, which never exceeds 30 people.
The training program for the international students is similarly centered on both peace and environment. The combination of personal and academic training will allow students to acquire knowledge on the discipline of environmental peacebuilding.
I hope to have clarified your doubts, please do not hesitate to write again, I would be happy to provide more details.
Thanks and best wishes