After more than a year in preparation, in September, Business Plan for Peace supported a group of facilitators led by Chile-born peace activist Aleka Vial, in an extraordinary process with members of Chile’s constitution drafting lawmakers.
A proposed constitution – widely deemed as progressive and replacing a dictatorial handover- was rejected in a public vote. The highly charged drafting process had been two years in the making, with a group of specially elected Constituents from all walks of life.
Vial sensed that it was vital to seize that moment of heartbreak – “It was the perfect starting point for the Mighty Heart program because in a sense everyone was broken. Starting a transformational process when you’re broken is what yields riches. The timing was perfect.”
15 female lawmakers, many of them activists in their own communities and a third of whom were indigenous, signed up. But they were wary – there had been fighting and conflict in the run-up to the vote. “Some of the participants in this group were very disconnected from each other,” says Vial.
The ten-module Mighty Heart program created by Scilla Elworthy is based on decades of peace-building experience and is designed to improve skills such as listening, conflict resolution, managing anger and communicating effectively. It features well-known speakers and activists with real-life stories of conflict transformation and is delivered by a skilled international group of facilitators.
The Chilean program ended successfully last month.
“By the end, we had a changed group of people caring for each other and purposeful,” says Vial. “It was truly a conflict transformation process – and in just eight weeks.”
“The course was configured as a way to resume our positions as agents of social and political change,” said one participant, referring to it as a “rebuilding” process.
Overall, all participants reported greatly improved capacity to resolve conflict, manage anger, communicate effectively and find the courage to take a stand.
To find out how to apply the Mighty Heart to your situation or company, do get in touch.