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Sessions objectives

  • to connect participants to the history of integrated security workshops, helping them to feel part of a larger movement of women human rights defenders globally and giving them a sense of the depth of experience underpinning the workshop method;
  • to set a tone of respect for each other and to mark clearly a transition from ‘everyday life’ to the space of the workshop; and
  • to set immediately expectations that the workshop method is unusual (active, peer-to-peer learning)

Adaptation notes

  • the welcome portion of the opening should be tailored to participants’ traditional means of showing respect. In some cultures, a light and brief welcome of a few minutes by any organisation representative is adequate. In other cultures, a welcome would be much more elaborate – who opens an event and how are extremely important in sending clear signals of respect for the participants and the workshop itself; and
  • the opening ceremony portion is adaptable – it can range from a simple, yet effective, act, such as lighting a central candle to a more elaborate ceremony. In selecting and designing the act or ceremony, remember that first impressions matter. The ceremony should ground participants in the space and begin connecting the group.