Twenty two Youth-workers meet in Armenia to initiate an intercultural dialogue on cultural diversity, human rights and to performing arts and group building activities. Group building initiatives has been addressed through critical thinking and non-formal educational workshops.
One of the most conflicted regions in the European continent – South Caucasus region – was put into the microscope of a youth mobility seminar, which took place in Armenia on 21st till 30th November 2017. Twenty two young people from Armenia, Italy, Greece and Russian Federation, gathered in Armenia as participants of the project “YEI – Insights through Exchange” and worked together to find and propose the most effective ways of planning grass root initiatives for development of European local communities.
Motivating youngsters (aged 17-30), who are having an active involvement as youth leaders in their home countries, were nominated as participants of YEI project. The group of participants is consisted of professionals or not who are having a direct working experience as social workers, artists & street performers. These people are mostly employed as youth workers or social workers into social inclusion organizations/ associations.
“People like these enriched our project. They were sharing their insights and good practices on adult education field, since they had hands-on experience into the project’s topic. We have provided a creative learning environment for our colleagues and we have learned a lot, from theirs’ experience”
– V. Tsillas, organiser
During these 10 days of “Insights through Exchange” mobility project, participants had the chance to discuss current emerging issues, they shared good practices on how to preserve peace in their regions and how to promote grassroots initiatives.
During this mobility project, several artistic workshops has been implemented such as: video editing, theatre of the oppressed, digital storytelling & incentives on critical thinking & writing. The outcome of the project, a hands-on tutorial with shared good practices, has been uploaded to the web.
Furthermore, a short theater performance (flashmob), took place at the Republic square’s metro station. Participants of the YEI project, had the opportunity to visit Brusov State University of Linguistic studies. We had the opportunity to interact with the community of Armenian and expat students and we have visited the museum of Brusov University and Italian, Greek and Russian language departments.
The main focus of the project to “equip” youth workers with a set of skills needed to enable their organisations to develop capacities for peer to peer learning and innovative educational methods. It is important to mention that during the follow up period, we have encouraged the partner organizations to connect peer to peer learning methods with workshops which has been implemented at their local communities, by using artistic methods (forum theatre, flash-mob) and creative innovative tools, as learning by doing, non-formal education workshops etc. Besides using simulation games and board games, we experienced as well the methods of Nonviolent Communication, Empathy and street performance. All those methods and all activities were based on non-formal education approach.
During these ten days of intensive Erasmus+ youth exchange, the strategy for employing active participation tool and methods, as well as stances & behaviors was created. One of the participants of the project, Stella Konstantinidou from Greece, was particularly happy with her first mobility of youth-workers experience:
“Some good practices in the field of youth work has been presented to the plenary. Additionally, we had the opportunity to deploy group-building activities and present our performance to a youthful audience”.
– Stella from Athens
The organizers of the project also evaluated these ideas as very promising and we also made a big effort into presenting good practices which has been addressed by Caucasus Cultural Centre, located in Athens, Greece.
In order to gain more knowledge and good practice on intercultural dialogue, the participants of the project were discussing about the principle and opportunities that the EU external policies bring to the region, were creating interactive videos about the biggest prejudices regarding migration flows, or any other emerging social issues and they were interested to get to know each other better, during the group building activities.
“There are many cultural differences between us, but I think we’ll find a lot of similarities, too”
– Sandy Thoma
Our main partner Academy of Innovation, from Krasnodar, Russian Federation wrote about the Insights through Exchange project:
International mobility project YEI gave opportunity to AI young activists, to share their experience in the field of modern arts and creativity. The exchange aimed to offer an opportunity for young people to combine their experiential learning competences and performance techniques, which is a crucial skillset for youth work.
Moreover the project aimed to empower Young People into taking an active involvement towards, group building activities and grassroots initiatives. This will be helpful not only for the project’s participants, but will also help in rehabilitation of deprived societies.
Some of the participant’s feedback :
“I was informed about this project by a colleague of mine, few months ago and I have decided to submit my application form for this project. Maybe the reason is that now I’m in such a time in my life in which I really need it. Now I’m in the moment of my self-development and waiting for a change in my life.
I’m working on myself now, I finally have time to get deeper into myself, to participate in some human rights workshops, to get to know myself better, to change some of my “wrong” behaviours…and it makes me feel really well.”
“I wanted to try something new, to get some new skillsets. I was thinking to find my own style. I got informed about this project from my friend who invited me to join it.
I thought ” I can learn something new, get new skills, meet new people.” Besides the topic seemed extremely interesting to me: linking my academic background as a student of International Relations, with non-formal educational methodologies.
I was always looking for a youth mobility on creativity and applied arts. This seminar offered me insights on intercultural dialogue both in personal or organizational terms. I would like to extend my knowledge into this field, by attending a Training for Trainers course, as it was already suggested by the pool of educators. But I have never done it. I hope that soon, I will be given the opportunity to attend such an intensive course.”
Check our Youtube Channels or Facebook Page for all the videos created during the project
Video #1: Created by the Italian delegates
Video #2: Created by the project’s participants
Video #3: Created by the Russian delegates
Video #4: Created by the project’s participants
Video #5: Having fun, after the Greek intercultural night
Our participants, coming from Torre dei Giovanni, Campania – Italy wrote about the YEI project:
Once again it was proven to me that a week in this Erasmus multinational project can surpass our experience from the academic field. Everything is very intense….you meet a lot of people from different countries and cultures, you participate in many name games, energizers, workshops. During the evenings there are the intercultural evenings during which you have the possibility to share with the others your culture and traditions.
Being in this project was a very nice experience. We travelled in a beautiful country, we met a lot of beautiful people and, of course, we learned a lot of practical things about the topic. Our planet is in huge danger and we must learn how to face these difficulties by learning how to preserve peace. This is what this project gave us. One of the ways we can make a difference is by promoting active citizenship and educating youth to respond to social issues based upon critical thinking & active participation.
After participating in this project I am more and more aware about the importance of youth’s role, in modern societies. This is the reason why in my hometown I have some classes for kids – creative expression through artistic workshops and digital storytelling. Coming back home I was able to introduce some of the information learned in this project during my classes and also I added some new tools and techniques in my portfolio.
I recommend this kind of experience to everybody!
My team mates had also a very nice experience during this project. Here are some words written by them:
“It is a fact that humanity puts at risk the future of our planet. Civil wars, international military competition, financial recession, are merely few factors of the endagered worlwide balance. The YEI project aimed to raise awareness on intercultural dialogue, creativity while also promoted responsible behaviors. Although the theoretical knowledge is important, the project was not limited into the non-formal educational tools, but we also had good practical workshops about innovative tools and good practices of youth work.”
– Daria Nikolaeva, Russian Federation
“From my point of view, this experience helped me to become more active citizen. Furthermore, I got new best friends and some of them came to visit me twice already. I can say that this was one of the best experiences in my life”
– Ana Mazza, Italy
You can find project-related material here:
- Participant certificates (YouthPasses) can be found HERE
- Wondering how all the awesome videos were created for the project? Check the ABC for Amateur Film-makers HERE; and the guidelines for video creationHERE.
- Want to join other Youth initiatives yourself? Go on an EVS! Find a project that suits you HERE.
- UNESCO guidelines on intercultural education
- Teach Peace Foundation
- Intercultural Education – Taylor & Francis Online
- Varianty – Intercultural education
- Intercultural education in Greece: the case of thirteen primary schools
MEDIA ABOUT US
It is hard to follow all the project’s coverage on the Internet; however, here are some examples (list is being constantly updated):
- #yeinsights hashtag
- Insights through Exchange
- Dissemination of project’s outcomes, from the Russian partner:https://www.facebook.com/libertypro.ru/
- The Youth workers from Italy, have supported a similar initiative:http://www.associazioneabici.eu/erasmus/item/29-the-voice-of-generation-y.html
- The Youth workers from Western Balkans, have supported a similar initiative at their region: http://www.mladivolonteri.org/category/erasmus/
- YiA 18, Announcement of the project
- The Armenian delegates, have created their own report for the project:https://www.facebook.com/marketingclub.am/
- The Italian partner, Torre dei Giovanni, from Torre del Greco, Campania wrote about the project: https://www.facebook.com/TorreDeiGiovani/
The list is being updated still.#YEInsights