ILAB Experts meeting and Training in Tortona
It was such a joy hearing that I am one of the participants of the I:LAB experts meeting. Although not sure if I could consider myself as an “expert” on something, I’ve decided to accept the invitation and join the journey…
While I was traveling to Tortona, I was asking myself: “What is intercultural learning for me?”. Despite all the education I have and experience in youth work based on peace building education, I haven’t had the opportunity to truly reflect on my feelings and went all introspective on interculturality as a part of my everyday reality. So, from 16 th to 20th of November last year in Tortona, Italy I had that honor to exchange and reflect on interculutrality with several amazing colleagues coming from Wels, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Galicia…My gosh, you should hear those discussions first two days! It was very fruitful, from analysis of local contexts, our understandings of intercultural learning to what tools are used and how much they are efficient nowadays…
For sure, one of the greatest conclusions is that intercultural education of young people needs to be seriously revised. Approaches in youth work got old, often not following the dynamics of change of young people, methods are “old school”, youth workers unequipped with digital and other tools for approaching young people…In offline youth work, we noticed that there is lack of truly holistic approach toward intercultural learning of young people, especially of emotions. Radicalization is widespread, young people are lacking opportunities to be involved together, democracy in Europe is in crisis and interculturality is suffering…There is a urgent need of enhancing intercultural learning of young people everywhere and additional support of youth workers in terms of fostering intercultural learning is profoundly important on all levels!
The best part of the meeting was intercultural activity delivered with the support of the hosting local NGO La Fenice, where we had one day participation of many young people from Tortona (around 40 of them). Altogether, we were painting big wooden planks inspired with the question “What is Tortona for me?” We were having some great energizers and name games and it seemed that everyone enjoyed! Personally, I really liked that activity because it connected me with my local youth work roots which I nearly forgot. Informal talks, smiles, questions, fast and short classes on basics of Italian language…intercultural learning was happening on so many levels and was present in each of the doubt and smile of us involved in painting and playing.
What should we do with intercultural learning now? Young people showed us that with genuine active listening and properly organized opportunities where they can be involved, intercultural learning can still be powerful and simple like a coloring the piece of plank. Planks were masterly decorated with various motives and feeling about Tortona, which will stay like a reminder of our effort to be there with young people and learning from them that youth work can still find its place wherever and whenever in time of interculturality…
Next step: T4T on Intercultural learning for youth workers in Tortona on the 14th of March 2018.
YEU PET member