YEU Convention 2013 - Time to log in for social inclusion and for human rights!
Here is the latest update from the core team of the 2013 YEU Convention held FYROM/Macedonia. The core team consisted of Eleni Michael, Kostas Kompotis, Manos Polychronis, Matej Manevski and Julia Douma while coordinated by YEU Secretary General, Tamara Gojkovic. As the core team, we were responsible for the content and execution of the whole convention. Local organization CID was responsible for the logistic part of the convention and of great help for us.
The title of our convention was 'log in for social inclusion, log in for human rights'. The Convention lasted from the 25th of July till the 6th of August and in this time we visited four cities: Kumanovo, Mavrovo, Struga and Skopje. We had a total amount of 64 people involved in the convention, 45 of them were participants coming from 18 different countries ranging from western Netherlands to eastern Azerbaijan. At the beginning of the Convention the cultural and personal differences were a bit difficult, but after several days people began to look at their similarities and the interaction between the participants helped them forget about the problems between their countries and focus on their mutual ideals.
The interaction with the local community was a bit more challenging for the people, who do not speak the language, but the local waiters were eager to speak and we learned about their culture through witnessing two local weddings. However, we also had work to do. Our participants learned about social inclusion and human rights. Later in the week we focused upon the promotion of these topics through social media. We got help from Ludo Keizer who visited our training to give two sessions about social media and the different tools that can be used. Furthermore we talked about the hate speech online and we asked for their input for the 'no hate speech' campaign. The participants enjoyed these sessions a lot and said they learned a lot as well, it became clear to them that there was not one social media but that the term covered lots of different tools that all could be used in their own way. What they especially found out was that in order to accomplish something, you need perseverance and you need to believe in your cause. Therefore part of the session on social media forced them to think about their personal causes in life.
Afterwards the participants made a booklet about the topics they dealt with, ranging from the inclusion of prostitutes to cyber bullying to youth from migrant background. With the use of social media you have a better chance of reaching these youths, because it takes fewer steps to participate in social media and the barrier between youth from different backgrounds disappears. In that way you can use social media to tackle problems in the neighborhood, but also to organize parties in which these youngsters can meet each other. These sessions closed the learning part of the convention and then it was time for the participants to teach each other about what they had learned. When I was writing this article, the participants were busy with the preparations of the task. In front of me one of the participants was writing a song, the chorus of which says 'human rights, go for it! Tolerance, go for it!' Outside people were preparing a flash mob about hate speech. Meanwhile the first fortune cookie was already consumed; inside there was a quote from Voltaire on the topic of freedom of speech, written in three languages. Then, we saw what the inhabitants of Struga think of our messages, but even then it was clear that our participants were willing to log in for human rights and to log in for social inclusion.
On behalf of Core Team,