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Building Bridges
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Jul 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project consisted of three different activities : Two seminars and one training course, each with a capacity of hosting 50 participants, trainers or other organizers. The participants came from the social democratic youth sphere from Belarus, Lithuania, Serbia and Denmark – most of them experienced and with a position in their organisations. Activity 1 Far right rising (Vilnius, 26.03 – 29.03) with 42 people attending Activity 2 Standing up for democracy (Copenhagen, 26.06 – 27.06) 32 attenders Activity 3 European Identity – what brings us together? (01.04-06.04) 50 people The background for this project is an awareness of two problems that Europe are facing. In East we see a tense Russia and frightened neighbours. Inside EU we see a rise in far right extremists. In this context we wanted to bring “leaders of tomorrow” together for discussing some of the founding principles in the nature of human beings and the core of European history, and discussing: 1) the rising of far right. Is it a threat to democracy, and how can we advocate tolerance and understanding? 2) How are democracy threatened in our different countries? What can we do? What have been done earlier? How can we learn from each other? 3) What brings us together in Europe and how can we strengthen bonds for standing up against racism, homofobia and far right? Our objectives for the project are to open the eyes of our participants regarding different cultures in Europe, as well as building bridges between young progressive people from our participating countries. Furthermore our participants should in general grow personally through success during our activities, and specifically get their debating skills improved. Greater knowledge about organizations, political systems and civil society from Belarus, Lithuania, Serbia and Denmark, as well as specific knowledge about far right, European history and EU values and methods to stand up for democracy, are also part of the project objectives. At all activities our working methods were presentations, group work, group and plenum discussions, debate, ice breaker games, reflection cards and social contract. In general the project met its objectives. Our participants did grow personally (some more than other) and mostly everyones debating level were improved. Our evaluations also reflected more knowledge about different cultures, European history, common values and political systems. We have worked for and also experienced a reasonable bonding between the participants. In short term there will be – and has been - impact in the umbrella organisation YES in which our participating organisations are affiliated – and as a result of this project are working together for making statements and resolutions about issues adressed at our activities. Longerterm benefits could also occur since both YES and our participants are active on political level - either as European political youth organisation or as a political member. If our participants becomes “leaders of tomorrow” they have a better platform for understanding common problems and finding common solutions. And until then they will continue to stay in contact with each other and strengthen the bonds across Europe.
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