Mitrovice/Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo/a.

August 2001 Seminar Focus:

"Multiethnic Grassroots Youth Peace Education Projects in war affected regions - challenges, accomplishments, future joint initiatives"

Location: Mitrovice/Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo/a

Note 1 - because of ethically mixed group of participants and the unstable
security situation in Mitrovice/a, we are working on an alternative location in Vushtrri; 

Note 2 - in case the seminar will take place in Mitrovice/a, participants will be accommodated on either South side of Mitrovice (Albanian participants) or North Mitrovice (Serbian participants). This arrangement is necessary due to security reasons. Internationals will be accommodated in either one of the above houses, subject to space availability and their preferences. Transportation to/from meetings will be provided.  Meetings will be held in KFOR confidence zone where we arrange for renting a conference room. 

Painting day - participants will join a project on the side of Mitrovice where they are accommodated

Dates: August 23rd  - August 29th 2001

Aims of the meeting:

The seminar has certain focuses

In particular, we will be discussing three things:

  1. sister school programs and how the use of modern technologies for cultural exchange can help reduce differences and tensions, thus contributing to peace and to improvement of education system as a whole;
  2. peace education through art - how teaching and making art can be used as a tool in peace building process;
  3. starting together a children's radio program on the internet, dedicated to peace (radio station being operated by children in various conflict zones, such as Kosovo/a , Israel (Jews and Arabs), maybe Ireland etc.)

Main programme elements:

During the first two and a half days, we will go around the circle and present our projects and accomplishments up to date. We will also show beautiful videos from "World Core Curriculum Schools" for Peace and Global Education.

We will then go around the circle once again and talk about challenges each of our organizations was facing, and how did we (didn't we) deal with the problems. This will allow us to learn from each other what works, to see what solutions can be used and have proved effective, etc. It will also make our programs easier to compare. The last part of these sessions will be dedicated on discussions about what we all have in common (finding common denominator).

There will be one day of a break in sessions after that, and participants will have a unique opportunity to join MCYPC Classroom Renovation Project, helping children pain the peace murals of their design in their classrooms. [in plan B - seminar outside of Mitrovice - this day will be for informal discussion groups and leisure, team building activities]

Next two days will be dedicated to working groups: - for people interested in sister school program; - for people interested in peace education through art; - for people interested in starting together a children's radio program on the internet, dedicated to peace (staff of two local radio stations - Serbian and Albanian - will be invited to participate in this working groups). The working groups will be organized in different timeframe each so everybody can participate in more than one (or all) of them. Finally, there will be fundraising/PR workshop, also open to everybody who wants to participate.

Last day will be a decision-making day; we will also be drawing a "plan of action" for future joint initiatives and networking. The seminar will then end with a dinner party to which several members of local and international media and organizations, KFOR and UNMiK staff members etc are invited.

Working methods:

The seminar is a direct follow-up of MCYPC activities up to date, namely: networking activities, summer camp project and classroom renovation project, involving many of the participants of the above programs. We want to organize this seminar in KFOR-protected confidence zone so every young person, regardless of their ethnicity, will be able to participate safely. We will create mutual learning situations based on participants' experience in their projects, working from this experience and extending it. The leaflets with pictures from summer camp and personal stories from participants of this and other projects will be produced and distributed.

In general, the group of seminar participants will remain active in MCYPC work, either directly or indirectly, and will create the very core of future multiethnic exchange programs. The personal ties and friendships they will have developed during the course of this as well as in previous and future activities will help them overcome difficulties of inter-ethnic communication, and they will be able to lead others by the example of their own goals and work.

Since the seminar participants come from different projects/organizations, and one of the meeting objectives is to develop long-term plans for cooperation, it is our hope that such plans, once produced, will result and many successful programs throughout the year and later. In particular, the seminar will produce detailed plan of action for Sister Schools program, Peace Education Through Art program, and Children Peace Radio Station project. We will also hopefully develop joined fundraising/PR strategies.

The intensive exchange programs following the seminar and organized throughout the year will combine regular educational activities as planned, recreational activities (such as sport and art activities) with regularly scheduled conflict resolution sessions in which young people, with the support of professional facilitators (both international and locally trained), will have the opportunity to learn more about their similarities and differences; confront their conflicts with each other in peaceful ways; build trust; and explore their hopes and fears about coexistence in a safe, supportive environment. We will also suggest setting up multiethnic "support groups" which could work on common fundraising plans, exchange experiences, seek solutions to problematic situations together etc. All of the above will ensure long-lasting, sustainable effects of the seminar.

The activities will be conducted throughout the year, both in Mitrovice and in partner towns, as agreed upon during the seminar. The Sister School Program will begin September 1st 2001, with 6 Western and 12 Kosovar (Albanian and Serbian) schools participating at the beginning. To make sure that necessary support and follow-up is given to the partners, a mobile support team consisting of local and international youth leaders of MCYPC will be created. The team will visit each of the partner projects at least once a month. Leaders of partner projects will also be encouraged to visit MCYPC on a regular basis. In addition, regular NetMeetings will be held. In November 2001, some of the seminar participants will join the conference for outh Leaders in peace Education, organized by Bridges For Education in Hungary. This will create an opportunity for preliminary evaluation of joint programs' development up to date. For those who will not be able to attend, evaluation forms will be produced and distributed for regular updates.

Profile of the participants and recruitment procedure:

The majority of participants are Balkan youth leaders with experience in peace-building work with children and youth. They are Albanian and Serbian youth from Kosovo/a, and the participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina and from Albania. Those from the outside are present because they either have long experience in peace education, or they have successfully run a program to this extend before. Participation is rather competitive because of this. >From outside of the Balkans, there will be a person who has worked successfully on multiethnic sister school project (USA-Kosovo/a) for over a year, and Prof. Edna Aphek from Israel working of peace education (Israeli/Palestinian) there. We will also have an artist from Singapore, and another grassroots activist from Poland. The participants are recruited from various MCYPC partner organizations/initiatives in the Balkans. They are asked to present the contribution they want to make to the agenda. It is then discussed openly through MCYPC mailing list, and based on that discussion, a final decision is made by preparatory team.

Age range: The majority of participants is 17-25 years of age; International Coordinator is 33, and two of invited speakers are respectively 39 and 46.

Type of lecturers/experts to be invited:

Eve Tan In In, Singapore - Artist, are designer and leader of various multicultural community art projects in the past 12 years. Art educator.

Prof. Edna Aphek, Israel - educator, consultant to the College Department in the Ministry of Education in Israel, academic adviser to High Schools Department, Director of Kamrat - Israeli-Palestinian Sister School Program.

Jill Cerqueira, USA - a social science teacher, with teaching certification in history education and psychology. Mandel Fellow with the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the recipient of the John Hopkins University Excellence in Teaching Award in 1999. Speaker/consultant at the United Nations Conference on Children in War-Affected Areas. Founder and coordinator of Global Connections Sister School program linking high schools in New Jersey with Albanian and Serbian schools in Kosovo/a.

The seminar is prepared and organized in a conjunction with the following organizations:

M.M.M. = Mouvement pour un Monde Meilleur = Organization for a Better World, Paris, France Voluntary Association located and registered in 1993 in Paris, France, with an initial purpose to assist and integrate the excluded disadvantaged youth groups in France (the homeless, refugee groups etc.) Activities: - direct and social assistance to the groups of focus, Internet courses and thorough computer education, etc. Foreign missions carried out in cooperation with Order of Malta, Guilde Européenne du Raid, Enfants du Mékong, Pour un Sourire d'Enfants, FIDESCO and other organizations, to Kosovo (1999), Rwanda (1994), Bosnia (1994), Cambodia (1995), Armenia (1996) to provide basic but efficient social help in refugee camps where there was a lot of hate and tension. The aim for the following months is to develop the activities of the association through the creation of international contacts and to carry out new projects with foreign partners like MCYPC.

Balkan Sunflowers (BSF), Tirana, Albania - a local NGYO registered in Albania in September 2000 as a locally rooted continuation of the programs of BSF International. BSF brings volunteers from around the world to work as neighbors and friends in social reconstruction and renewal.  By organizing social and cultural activities, BSF exchanges ideas and energy in order to promote understanding, further non-violent conflict transformation, and celebrate the diversity of the lives and cultures of the Balkan region.

Bridges For Education (BFE), Buffalo, NY, USA/International - The purpose of activities organized by BFE is to promote tolerance and understanding using English language as a bridge, thus BFE emphasizes activities that promote team building, consensus, debates, leadership development, self awareness and esteem, peace education, cultural awareness, and conflict resolution.

The Centre for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence (CCPN), Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - a non-profit, non-government, local organisation, funded in august 1997, as an independent citizens' association, registered in Ministry of Justice Tuzla Canton. CCPN program aims are: developing a culture of peace and   non-violence, strengthening  peace process in B&H, region and wider, building civil, democratic  society. In realisation of these aims, CCPN works through: education programs, establishing of inter-ethnic, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, networking and  making links between different groups, research work and advocacy for peace and non-violence. CCPN program includes: workshops/training and seminars, by interactive method  of learning, in programs which are group specific, meetings,  conferences,  camps,  gatherings, round-tables, etc., using print and electronic media. The CCPN has activities are on three levels: local (city, state), regional (co-operation with post-Yu  countries andcountries from SE Europe) and international. Programs are conducted by the CCPN team, with  many local and international partners.

Service Civil International - International Voluntary Service (SCI-IVS) USA - SCI-IVS USA, a bilateral partner of MCYPC, is a branch of SCI International, the oldest world network for promotion of peace and cooperation through voluntary services and actions. MCYPC cooperates also with SCI SAVA Working Group (which focuses on Balkan cooperation).