Prevented from Speaking


Prof. Dietrich Fischer – TRANSCEND Media Service

Dr. Hossain B. Danesh was invited to give a series of training sessions on peace education to a group of 100 teachers in Banja Luca in 2000. Banja Luca was the capital of the Republica Srpska during the Bosnian war. The town itself was largely spared from destruction, but many of the residents participated in the war, and committed atrocities against Bosniaks and Croats.

When Dr. Danesh began to speak about peace, some of the teachers in the room protested, “We are a civilized nation with a proud history. You don’t need to teach us anything about peace. Do you know our great history and civiliza­tion? We don’t want to listen to you!”

He invited those teachers to come in front and teach him about their history, and sat in the audience. The teachers began to argue with each other about various historic events and their interpretation. After a while, most of the other teachers in the audience asked them to stop and sit down, saying they preferred to hear what Dr. Danesh had to say.

So he could go back to the podium and continue his lecture. If instead he had tried to persist with his lecture against the vocal opposition of a small minority, it would have produced conflict between him and his audience.


Prof. Hossain Danesh is president of the International Education for Peace Institute, professor of psychiatry at the University of Ottawa-Canada, president of Landegg International University in Wienacht, Switzerland, and founder of Education for Peace. He is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and an author, consultant and lecturer.

Dietrich Fischer (1941-2015) from Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. 1986-88 he was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University. He has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities and been a consultant to the United Nations. He was co-founder, with Johan Galtung, of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment in 1993.

Excerpted from Dietrich Fischer’s Stories to Inspire You – TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 24 Jul 2017.

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