PROMYANATA (THE CHANGE) lies in the ability to manage conflicts.

Meet Lilyana Savova and Veneta Ivanova. Lilyana is a lawyer. As early as her student years in law school, she was introduced to mediation which has grown to become her mission. Today, as the mediator she is, she helps resolve legal disputes. She trains and certifies other experts in the field of mediation and negotiations. Veneta is a psychotherapist. In mediation, she found a valuable tool to build on her work with children and families in risk. She trains children and adults to use mediation techniques and emotional intelligence.

What is Peacemakers Academy?

Peacemakers Academy trains students and tutors how to use key mediation techniques and sets up mediation hubs in schools. Peer mediators help students in conflict to resolve the problem. They know how and when to interfere to bring peace between the people who are in conflict. They don’t take sides, they don’t give advice and they don’t tell them what to do. They help them understand the other person and choose the solution that best suits both parties. Thus, the Peacemakers Academy mediators create a new culture of communication between pupils and help reduce aggression in schools.

Why Peacemakers Academy?

Lilyana and Veneta’s serious experience as mediators and mediation coaches has convinced them about the power and benefits of mediation as an efficient tool. As they witnessed the worrying trends of increasing aggression in schools, the two ladies realized they had a solution. They know that most of the times conflicts and aggression in schools are the result of misunderstandings. Such conflicts could be easily resolved – in the classroom or in the school yard. All it takes are well prepared kids and teachers, who recognize the problem and possess the techniques necessary to deal with it. Lilyana and Veneta developed a model to use mediation in the educational system. This is how Peacemakers Academy was born.

How does Peacemakers Academy work?

Peacemakers Academy’s mediation trainings teach critical skills for every modern leader – how to communicate efficiently, how to lead negotiations and successfully manage conflicts. Students who have undergone these trainings can understand the emotions of other people and look for the reasons behind a particular reaction. They know how to resolve various conflicts and when they should not interfere, because the case does not suggest mediation or requires the professional support of a psychologist.

Lilyana and Veneta believe that efforts to resolve school aggression should cover everyone involved in the educational process. Therefore, their mediator training is not only aimed at students, but also at teachers, school advisors and school principals. Graduates become part of the school mediation hub, where they resolve conflicts together and exchange experience. Every hub has an overall procedure in place, developed by the Peacekeepers Academy to regulate the activity of mediators.

The Peacemakers Academy already operates successfully in 20 pilot schools in the city of Varna, where 150 students and 70 educators. Their dream is to build a network of peacekeepers and mediation hubs across Bulgaria. They believe that a culture of peace and respect requires emotionally intelligent people and schools are the best place to raise them.