Annika Denkmann has focused on the storytelling method in her work since she completed the part-time course in 2018. Today, she organises peacebuilding seminars and is extremely passionate about her work. It’s exactly what she always wanted to do, she explains. Denkmann works for the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) in Hong Kong, which is a partner organisation of Bread for the World. Her role involves organising peace education seminars.
After studying international politics with a focus on development policy, modern languages and communication, the part-time training course at the Academy for Conflict Transformation subsequently qualified her for positions not only in classic educational settings, but also with an emphasis on peace work. Denkmann was thus able to fulfil her wish to further her education in peacebuilding with this course.
She recalls how the part-time nature of the course meant that it was challenging to always remain on the ball and have the energy to study after her working day had ended. But the training ultimately helped her to acquire further specific professional skills. She found the weekend on theatre methods in peace work particularly intense. “It really stuck with me – which is why I continued to reflect on this after the course.” Who gets to tell their story, who gets the space and the audience? These are just a few of the central questions that preoccupy her. Not a day goes by when she does not think how important conflict work is.
“I have learned that conflicts are unavoidable, but you must look where opportunities can be found and how conflicts can be transformed into sustainable, just peace.” As part of her role at APAY, Annika Denkmann now organises themed workshops for young people on topical issues such as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on women. Supporting the content of the annual peace school also forms part of the programme, with a focus on the dialogue between participants and an inter-religious exchange. It is about offering a space for people from different cultural backgrounds to exchange. Many topics lead her back to storytelling and the question of how each person can be empowered to share their story. If people also then listen, then the ground is prepared for change.