ON THE WAY TO 2020: Interview with peace/history messenger Petra Bárány


1. When and where was your first workcamp?

My first workcamp was in Hong Kong in 2018, it was a Global Citizenship workcamp. We used the concept of Human Library to share some interesting fact about our cultures to the students in Hong Kong, whom we were working with. We also organized a weekend camp for the student, where all the volunteers were able to decide what to do with the children, according to their fileld of interest, so I was teaching yoga to them.

2. What is your role in SCI/Utilapu?

Recently I participated in two different study sessions, one was the Gendered Realities in Tirana, where we were working on an assessment tool and a toolkit for SCI. With the help of these ones, the events of SCI can become more gender-inclusive. I am the member of Utilapu’s Gender Equality Working Group, we organize different kind of event connected to this topic. I was also a participant of a Peace Messenger Study Session in Strasbourg this year, and of the Peace Messenger and History Messenger Online Courses.

3. Can you tell more about the concept peace and history messenger? What does it mean to be a peace-/historymessenger within SCI?

Peace Messengers are trained and dedicated people, using non-formal education methods for sessions on workcamps, in order to connect to connect SCI’s identity and the camp. This concept has started in 2006, and this year also the concept of the History Messengers started. Since SCI is a peace organization, it’s history and peace are very closely connected. History Messegers have a good knowledge about SCI’s history and they are able to deliver shorter sessions during the workcamp, in order to connect the actual camp’s topic to the history of SCI. I hope that we are going to be able to use this concept in many different workcamps.

4. What are, according to you, the strengths of SCI?

One of the main strengths is definitely that it brings people from all over the World together. You are going to have so many SCI friends abroad, that you are always going to have someone to stay at. That was my experience this spring, when I went to Sri Lanka for another volunteer project. One other point, which is very important to me, that you can improve yourself in your personal level with all of the experience you make and people you meet.

5. And what are the challenges SCI faces?
When I started to look for volunteer opportunities abroad in 2017/2018 I didn’t know SCI at that time, and it took quite a while for me to find the organization, even though I was doing my research consciously. I think this could be an important point, that the ones whom are more involved in SCI already should spread the word to the people who seem opened for this kind of opportunities.

6. When did you realise that ‘peace’ is something important?

I can’t recall any specific moment, I think somehow it was always somehow a part of my personality. I remember that when I was a child I experienced many different discussions between adults when they were telling many negative, discriminative things about the minorities in Hungary, and it always made me very upset that how is it possible to thing about them this way, if they don’t have any personal experience with them? I had quite some arguments with the adults. Nowadays somehow the same situation occurred in when refugees and asylum seekers started to come to the country.

7. What does the year 2020 mean to you?

I have been to 2 different study sessions already this year, but it seems like that in 2019 I’ll not be able to participate in a workcamp, so this is something I would definitely like to do in 2020. My other plan is to get more involved in Utilapu’s work in a local level.

8. How are you yourself going to celebrate (or pay attention to) 2020?

I don’t have any specific plans yet, but I’m sure that I’ll be happy to join many interesting programs!



 *Interview by Wilbert Helsloot


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