YEU Academy - 23 days around Europe
Travelling around Europe as a part of a team of professionals – youth trainers, media and documentaries journalists and project manager, in so interesting and innovative project – YEU Academy of/for Democracy - youth participation for intercultural dialogue”, which was held between 7 – 30 June, 2010, brought me to the opportunity to be challenged by so many realities. The core team of the project was the project manager Marko Paunovic, the media team Marta Duarte and Sandra Dos Santos, together with the trainers Lorenzo Nava and Nataliya Naskova, supported by the partners organizations. The project took place in 5 countries around Europe – starting from Faro/Portugal and finished in Viimsi/Estonia. One of the main themes of the project was to enable the youth people to use media online tools to increase active participation of young people. Challenged by realities and different practices assisted us to explore and discuss more on how to approach and implement ideas and how to make the technology work for us.
Common local actions in Faro
We started the project in Faro on the 10th June, which coincided with the National holiday of Portugal. Although that we expected the weather to be sunny, we had a wonderful cloudy weather, which as well assisted us. The Participants were representatives of NGOs, international students and teachers, who were looking as well for networking. An interesting element of the training was the commitment and the initiated debate of a future common local action in Faro during the summer 2010. It was discussed as an outcome of the inspired actions during the training and as a way/form to reach the local community, addressing their needs.
Diversity of the country's realities
The training in Cyprus took place away from the urban area of the cities, and we saw the diversity of the country’s realities from the village of Palendri in the mountains. Speaking about the concept of Democracy and how can we better participate in it, perceiving our role in the civic society, initiated interesting debates. The sunny weather was a focal point for our good mood and interesting activities. Mass media activities and targeting communication activities were widely appreciated by the group, who as well developed interesting video clips and own concepts on the youth participation and intercultural dialogue.
Starting to use web 2.0 tools in local communities
Not so far and not so near we continued our road to Istanbul via Athens. The metropolitan city, embracing so many cultures, reveled for us its beauty, contrasts and history. Facing the borders of Internet as a tool to promote the new social media and youth participation we saw the great enthusiasm of a very motivated group, coming from many Turkish cities and as well EVS participants. Exploring the topic of stereotypes and prejudices with the case of Tareq was the starting point for the training, and assisted t hem to share, give input to definitions, and to come to the main topic of being active participant in society, community. Furthermore we continue to enable communication with the creation of the blogs, where all the participants decided on the content and shared to what extent the web 2.0 instruments can be used and emerge in their communities.
How the history has influenced us
The next stop – Poznan/Poland brought us to 21st June. We were welcomed and inspired by the enthusiasm of the two local youth organizations from the town, which managed the meeting. The Polish Utopia activity gave opportunity to discuss realities and to express visions in the working space of the private University of the town. Trends and practices were shared by the participants, who were as well coming from other cities and countries. It was very interesting that speaking about intercultural dialogue and participation, we were as well looking to the history and how it impacts us.
Signs in the forest saying "Internet connection"
Our final destination was Estonia, where we saw that the day can be like the night – with so much light. In the country where in the forest there are signs – saying “Internet connection” we raised a dialogue on how to better use the instruments of Internet for the needs of the community. Exploring the participation from a personal point of view enabled the participants to act to be unique. We focused on the meaning of starting a social movement/action, realizing our potentials and needs for community, being a leader/being aware of the power of the social media networks.
The intercultural dialogue was outlining all of our trips and activities, speaking about Portugal sardines, Cyprus legacy, Istanbul’s contrasts, Poznan pototoes and the future European football championship, which is going to take place in Poland and Poznan, Tallinn’s architecture and Estonian landscape.
Brainstorming, punctuality, sleeping, gestalting, filming, editing, interviewing were some of the keywords in our 23 days conversations and work.
Focused on the goals of the projects we managed to see realities where young people can be actively involved.
Trainer of YEU Academy