ALBANIA/BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA/KOSOVO*/SERBIA – Within the third RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, Projekte Vullnetare Ndërkombëtare (International Voluntary Projects) and High School “Jordan Misja” from Albania, Public High School “Skënderbeu” from Kosovo, Global Analitika and Javna Ustanova Mješovita Srednja Škola Sapna from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Udruženje Svetlost from Serbia, implemented the project “You(th) up for intercultural dialogue and learning” which took place from January 2020 to March 2021.
The project led young people on the path to reconciliation and regional collaboration by using intercultural learning competencies and non-violent communication approaches. It fostered their understanding and practice of intercultural learning and dialogue and empowered them to undertake an online campaign on peace.
“During the exchange, we performed a flash mob to indicate togetherness, the connectivity of the hands symbolized our connections, how close and knotted they are. We had the opportunity to creatively send a message to our friends about how dialogue, togetherness and co-existence are both possible and desirable, and that we should all invest in good neighborly relations,” project participant Ms Maria Radosavljevic stated.
Speaking of friendships and connections made during the project, another project exchange participant, Mr Arton Jakupi added: “The closer you are with each other, the harder it is to be apart. I never thought that I would create this kind of connection with new people for such a short time.”
A youth exchange in Tirana, local workshops, and a flash mob in an open space in Tirana were the main activities of this project.
“Through playing games and practicing non-formal activities together they felt free to talk and express themselves. Each day we saw the difference in their behaviors, happiness in their faces, the good mix they were making with other participants, no matter where they came from,” Project Coordinator Ms Oltiana Rama emphasized.
“For me, this exchange is about getting out of my comfort zone, meeting people from different places, and practicing foreign languages,” project participant Ms Aida Maslo highlighted.
The youth exchange brought together 30 young participants to practice intercultural learning competencies, break barriers, put down their fears and strengthen their capacities to positively influence their peers towards regional collaboration.
“We shared music, comics, movies, problems, stories about fears, hopes, and love. Those were the moments in which the young participants and us, as teachers, youth workers, and citizens, have a chance to learn from each other, to have fun, and feel the real, simple, and peaceful, life of one community,” Project Coordinator Ms Rama concluded.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.