PeaceWorks- An initiative of The Seagull Foundation for the Arts launched Dialogue for Peace – The Kashmir Project in May 2011.
The context: Over sixty years of conflict in the Kashmir valley has left the young in the valley scarred and isolated. Having little or no exposure to their peers in the rest of the country and have no future to look forward to, they are confused about their identities, feel like aliens in their own country and have completely biased and negative opinions of all those who belong outside the valley.
PeaceWorks aims to address the need to bridge the divide between young people belonging to the same nation through the project – Dialogue for Peace – The Kashmir Project.
—Tapping the inherent creative impulse to deal with internal conflict and find new ways to cope with conflict in the community
—Empowering youth to find a path to reconciliation through the arts
—Through creativity inject will, aspiration and motivation to work towards imagined futures
—Develop critical thinking and break mindsets
The process: The programme involves high school students traveling out of the valley to participate in workshops that involve the use of the arts to help educate and forge ties between communities.
The participants of these workshops are carefully chosen keeping a mix of students from diverse backgrounds in mind. Each workshop has the group equally divided between students from Calcutta and Kashmir. Further the mix consists of students from diverse communities, different religious backgrounds, students from elite schools, schools catering to the under privileged, students with special needs, students who have been directly effected by the conflict in Kashmir.