Young Activists for Peace
Start date: Jan 1, 2015,
End date: Dec 31, 2015
In view of eruption of hotbeds of war and growing tension between Russia and its neighbouring states as well as the European Union, young Europeans are affected and sometimes have a distorted view on the process of European unification. Contrary to the aims of the EU the approximation of some Eastern European countries causes division and mistrust and becomes a threat for peace. Against this background the project "Young activists for peace" brought together youth and voluntary service organisations from Georgia, Russia, Ukraine as well as from Estonia, France and Germany in support of peace education and action. The project’s main objective was to enable direct encounters between young people from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and from 3 European Union countries (Estonia, France and Germany) in the frame of the Erasmus+ Youth in Action Programme. The activities aimed at breaking enemy stereotypes nurtured by the media and to turn them into positive personal experiences in order to foster active citizenship for peace and understanding between countries which are currently in conflict with each other.
The project activities took place in summer 2015 and consisted of a kick-off training for youth leaders of 6 days and of 2 following youth exchanges of 13 and 14 days to which 60 young participants and 17 youth leaders participated. The kick-off training in May 2015 was successful in training youth leaders engaged in international youth exchange activities in the methodology Betzavta as well as in methods of non-violent conflict resolution according to the concept "young people becoming agents of peace" (Jugendliche werden Friedensstifter) in order to prepare them for their role in the following youth exchanges within this project.
Then, in July and August 2015, the two youth exchanges took place in cooperation with local peace initiatives and institutions of peace education in Germany: Seminarwerkstatt Antikriegshaus, Sievershausen as well as Falkenheim Freundschaft in Denkte. 30 young people of all 6 participating countries lived, reflected and worked together. They engaged in democratic decision-making processes as well as non-violent conflict resolution activities and simulations. Within a diverse and creative programme offer they worked on peace theatre performances or engaged in visual arts, video or other creative workshops, expressing their own views about Peace. They got to know and supported local partners and projects and discussed about the effects of wars on their own life and on the lives of young people in Europe and worldwide.
These shared experiences contributed to overcoming barriers and breaking enemy stereotypes between the participating young people from Eastern and Western Europe and particularly between young people from Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. The group grew more and more together. Participants and leaders gained the conviction, that young people on both sides of the newly established boarders share similar interests and needs regarding their life in peaceful Europe.
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