GAZIANTEP, TURKEY—In August, AIC began implementation of an anti-violence program in Gaziantep, Turkey, aimed at peaceful conflict resolution by preventing revenge and retaliatory violence through educating influential Syrians from the liberated Syrian areas in innovative methods in community violence detection and mitigation.  Gaziantep is very close to the Syrian border.

The program launched between August 11-22 with a three-day session for Syrian trainers and two two-day training sessions for Syrian participants drawn from the liberated areas.

The training program takes a public health and science-based approach to violence, which has proven successful in combating violence for years in some of America’s and Iraq’s most violent urban areas.  Over the course of the two trainings in Gaziantep, 30 participants took part in practical exercises on how conflict affects communities—how to detect and interrupt its spread and transmission.

Originating in the University of Illinois’ Chicago School of Public Health, this approach views the spread of violence much like a disease. If ignored, violence spreads as an epidemic. Therefore, the source of violence—societal norms— must be targeted. Work with trusted community leaders has proven effective in changing these norms.

This project is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Conflict and Stabilization Operations Bureau with the intent of speeding the fall of the Assad regime by stabilizing and legitimizing the organic governmental structure that has arisen in the liberated areas.  The project is a collaboration between the head grantee and implementer, AIC, and its two sub-grantees, Cure Violence and Free Syria.

The American Islamic Congress is a nonprofit, non-religious, civil society development organization serving Muslims and Non-Muslims by promoting civil and human rights through advocacy, engagement and education. Visit for more information.