36th YEU Convention “Variety is the spice of life – try walking in my shoes” - CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS!
YEU is opening a call for participants who will take part in 36th YEU Convention “Variety is the spice of life – try walking in my shoes” supported by the European Youth Foundation.
About the Organizer:
Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU) is an International Non-Governmental Youth Organization established in 1986 and member of the European Youth Forum in Brussels as an INGYO. YEU looks forward to increase tolerance and awareness between different countries, cultures and traditions, and to promote a greater level of comprehension through the development of various youth activities. The main aim of YEU is to promote peace, understanding and cooperation between the young people of the world, in a spirit of respect for human rights. YEU is a non-profit making youth organization independent of all political affiliation, run by young people for young people by means of a democratic structure. Visit our website for more details about YEU: http://www.yeu-international.org/
About the Convention:
Place and dates: Greece/Albania/FYROM Macedonia; 14-26th July 2017 (travel dates included)
We live in ever-changing societies – at the same time world seems both so close but so distant and estranged at the same time. There is a need to connect among people, but at the same time, there is lack of understanding of the differences that exist among us: are we the same as we are always saying?
We in YEU believe that there is a need to enhance understanding about our cultures and identities. How independent we are from norms imposed by societies/communities in which we live in? Only in 20th century we started taking into consideration equality. After strong civil rights and women’s suffrage movements, societies started opening up to individual identities and the fact that personal identity has an aspect one can’t take over such as colour of your skin or gender. On the other hand, individual identity is influenced both by biological and environmental factors and culture is one of the most important one.
However, not all cultures are the same – individualist ones promote and support different values that the collectivist ones. Depending on culture, strength of individual identity and its traits varies across cultures. European societies are different per se and are constantly being challenged in order to improve personal freedoms, concepts and values in the name of human rights. With the new wave of migrations, fear and uncertainty prevail among people as different cultures might mean changing the habits. Only in 2015, over one million people arrived to Europe via Balkan route and Mediterranean Sea with three nationalities mostly represented: Syrian (49%), Afghan (21%) and Iraqi (8%) of which 58% men, 17% women and 25% children (source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees).
Being human, showing solidarity and accepting people in need should be priority for each one of us. How to ensure intercultural dialogue especially from gender perspective if not by understanding and accepting the differences of your neighbours and of each individual as such? As stated in White paper on intercultural dialogue of Council of Europe: “Freedom to choose one’s own culture is fundamental; it is a central aspect of human rights. Intercultural dialogue is therefore important in managing multiple cultural affiliations in a multicultural environment. It is a mechanism to constantly achieve a new identity balance, responding to new openings and experiences and adding new layers to identity without relinquishing one’s roots. Intercultural dialogue helps us to avoid the pitfalls of identity policies and to remain open to the challenges of modern societies.” Freedom to choose your own gender practices is equally important in order to develop happy and healthy personality, not supressed by environment and justified with nature or tradition.
36th YEU Convention represents the second activity of our annual workplan “VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE”. The convention, entitled “CYCLE OF LIFE: TRY WALKING IN MY SHOES”, will gather around 50 young people across Europe.
Throughout the convention we will go deeper into the topics of intercultural dialogue from gender perspective, we will discuss about and analyse intercultural societies, through cultural traditions related to cycle of life events: birth; adulthood and death and we will try to deconstruct them and approach them with gender sensitive lenses. The aim of the activity is to take participants to a journey of a lifetime asking them: how do you celebrate birth, how do you grow up and how do you mourn. But there will be a twist: for each of the traditions presented, they will have to put on new gender glasses. Apart from learning about other cultures’ traditions, we will be relating each one of them to certain human and social rights as well as discussing the gender roles: when do we start imposing gender boxes, do we accept those that are out of the boxes or we label them as the strange ones, not-normal, not-natural?
- Cultural norms: when a child is born, what do you do? How do you celebrate? Do you impose religious choice to your child? Is physical punishment approved? (“A beating stick came out of heaven”) who are heroes in your bedtime stories?
- Gender norms: Is pink for girls and blue for boys? How about the toys?
- Rights based: is abortion allowed? How are single mothers seen in society? Do children always get father's surname? Can same sex couples have, adopt or raise children?
- Cultural norms: are you expected to get married - when and how? How many children you should have? Should you leave home? Will a woman keep its own surname? Is it a shame to have relationships before marriage? Is domestic and sex violence acceptable? Is community violence (towards Others) acceptable? Creating friendships, is it or should be biological-sex-based (women or men groups) or mixed groups are also acceptable? Where can you “hang-out” as set by your culture (male-coffee shops/ female- home)? Where are you expected to sit in religious buildings and where does your freedom “ends” based on religious and cultural expectations?
- Gender norms: Are you expected to work or stay at home (as a woman)? Is your clothing provoking by being short? Should you get education? If a woman, what does first period bring for you? If a LGBTIQ+ person, what sexual awareness brings you? If a heterosexual male - what is your role now? Entering adolescents, are you expected to act differently (men-masculine/ women-feminine)?
- Rights based: apart from getting political rights, do you also get autonomy depending on your gender? Is gender-based violence justified? Are same sex marriages/partnerships/parenthood allowed? Are you free to express yourself, participate or express your identity freely based on your sex or gender?
OLD AGE and DEATH:
- Cultural norms: are you the head of the family even in old age? How do you mourn the deceased ones (e.g mourn songs)? Are graves of your ancestors sacred? How are you expected to express your mourn based on your gender (cry)?
- Gender norms: if your partner dies, are you to remarry? If the “head” of the family/house passes over are you expected to take over based on your gender? What clothing are you expected to wear?
- Rights based: can you inherit your partner’s property? Are you free to decide for yourself from that point and on or someone else does based on the family line (brother “taking over” the leadership)?
To get to know other cultures through simulation of most important life events
To learn how to think outside of the gender boxes by breaking the stereotypes set by cultural and gender norms
To show that different and more equal world is possible by offering different solutions for current practices
To test the approaches and methodologies before and after Convention
Non-formal education methods will be used throughout the youth exchange as we strongly believe in its power to develop the competences of young people. In this process of learning, there are no teachers and students. The activities are organized according to the needs of the participants while the sharing of experiences in healthy environments of trust and mutual respect is encouraged.
Greece (Thessaloniki) - 14/18 July 2017
Albania (Saranda) - 18/22 July 2017
FYROM/Macedonia (Ohrid) - 22/26 July 2017
YEU will cover food and accommodation for the events you will be attending. Travel costs will be reimbursed up to 200 EUR.
Reimbursements will be done based on actual travel costs upon presenting the original documents and in accordance with conditions described in this call as well as with YEU standard reimbursement procedure.
To participate in the 36th YEU Convention, there is a participation fee of 30 euros.
PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS:
We are looking for dedicated and committed young people with good level of interest regarding topics of the programme who can dedicate themselves to the whole process and contribute to development of new approaches to gender and intercultural dialogue.
•Between the age range of 18 to 30;
•Are able to work in English;
•Are committed to work for the successful implementation of the convention;
•Full attendance for the duration of the Convention;
•At least basic knowledge on the topics of the Convention.
Participants will be selected by YEU on the basis of their applications, priority will be given to Members of YEU Member Organizations.
THE CALL IS OPEN FOR PARTICIPANTS FROM ALL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. If interested, apply here not later than June 11th 2017 23:59 CET.