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In Europe we address community tensions and violence in the UK, and train European government officials on their role in peacebuilding and conflict prevention.

Starting the healing process

A series of summer peace education camps that International Alert is supporting for vulnerable children in Ukraine have got under way.

In total 25 camps will take place across the country with the support of EU funding, and the first two of these have now started – one in Odessa in the south of the country, and one in the centre near the capital Kyiv.

Eastern Ukraine: Conflicting interpretations of the conflict

(Pусский) This blog was originally published in The Huffington Post.  During a visit to a summer camp for children affected by the conflict in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, I met a boy close to the frontline who had made a drawing of a tree, on top of which he drew a house with a family. When asked why the house was in the tree top and wouldn’t it fall down in the wind, the boy confidently assured me ‘no’, the house is strong and secure. I later found out that this boy’s dog had been killed by a landmine.

How war trauma is passed down through the generations

(Русский) This blog was originally published on openDemocracy. 9 May is the day the former Soviet Union celebrates the end of the Second World War (or the Great Patriotic War, as it is called). I have recently read W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz, the book about a child who escapes from the Nazis and many years later goes back into the past to try and save his dead parents. The book has helped me to understand the story of my own family trauma.

Planting the seeds of peace

The war in Ukraine has caused over 9,000 deaths and exposed large parts of the population to disruption, dislocation, injury and often extreme violence. One of the effects of this, as in all violent conflicts, is long-term psychological harm. To build any sustainable peace in the country, this harm needs to be healed, both at an individual and societal level.

What are we doing in Ukraine?

(Русский) This blog was first published on the Huffington Post under the title 'Peacebuilding in Ukraine'. When discussing International Alert's work in conflict regions with colleagues, associates, donors, etc., I sometimes feel that we understand each other so well. We are able to communicate the content of our work and analysis of the context using just a few words or phrases that might sound nonsensical to a normal human ear. We are so closely integrated that we have started to conceptualise our ideas through our jargon.

Psychosocial seeds for peace

This project aims to assist the reintegration and recovery of groups severely affected by the conflict in Ukraine and, in doing so, rebuild social cohesion in the country – an essential ingredient for longer-term peace. This includes strengthening mental health and psychosocial recovery efforts, empowering civic activists, and supporting research and dialogue platforms, helping to strengthen peacebuilding at both the community and national levels.