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"Think, Learn and Transform: The role of international voluntary service in promoting peaceful transition & solidarity in Europe"
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Throughout the 95 years of its existence, SCI has been working to promote peace, non-violence, human rights, social justice & international understanding as an alternative to war. Today also in Europe we believe that this objective is as valid & relevant as ever. The on-going conflict in Ukraine, the rapid deterioration in the relations between the EU and Russia, re-appearance of "enemy images", rising right-wing nationalism & hate speech, discrimination of minorities, threats to democracy and civil society from oligarchy etc. are all a threat to European unity. Finding solutions to all these complicated challenges cannot be left only to politicians alone - we need active citizens from all nations & societies to engage for peaceful & sustainable development. The main objectives of this project are therefore: - To gather together key actors of the international voluntary service movement in order to analyse in depth the current situation in Europe, particulary in Central and Eastern European countries during the period of transformation towards democracy and adoption of European values - Foster a deeper and more compehensive understanding of the causes & consequences of current conflicts & the respective interests of various stakeholders, as well as of the fears, motivation and needs of those directly affected - Facilitate a clearer understanding of what we mean by promoting "Peace and Human Rights" and how this can be achieved in practice under current circumstances - Identify, elaborate & define (common) priorities, goals and implement innovative projects in the voluntary service sector to promote peace, human rights, sustainable development & social inclusion as well as cross-border cooperation - Support concete actions in solidarity with the victims of war & violence The project will be implemented in three stages: a) An opening thematic seminar in January 2016 in Berlin, Germany for 30 youth workers: "Peace and Solidarity - Make It, Don't Break It" b)The second stage of the project will involve implementing a wide variety and range of activities throughout the EU and in neighbouring countries, designed to engage & empower citizens in local communities in realising the goals & priorities agreed during the opening event. The projects will be focused on specific thematic areas (promoting peace, non-violence & human rights, overcoming stereotyping, hate speech, discrimination and social exclusion, fighting against Anti-semitism, right-wing extremism, promoting of gender equality and intercultural understanding etc.). c) The project will initially culminate in a "Trade Fair" in Poland in September 2016, where 30 participants will meet again to present, evaluate and disseminate the results of their activities, benefit from additional training sessions, share new ideas and elaborate further activities to raise the scope, quality and dimension of future cooperation. The methodology will be based on tried & proven informal and non-formal learning methods which are regularly applied within our network The overall result will be to enhance to the skills & competences of youth workers engaged in this field, increased awareness, networking and cross-border cooperation in the field of peace & HR.

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