The youth workshops are part of a project Fostering of Advanced Inter-ethnic Dialogue and Inter-community Relations implemented by Center for Intercultural Dialogue and supported by OSCE Mission to Skopje as a response to the violent altercations in Kumanovo in May 2015. The aim of the project is to support the confidence building and enhance the inter-ethinic relations between members of different communities in Kumanovo.
The Youth Workshops happened during the months of April and May held in the following weekends:
- 7-9 April for young people from Cities Gymnaziums
- 21-23 April for young people from Nace Bugjoni
- 5-7 May for young people from Pero Nakov
Guided by a group of experienced facilitators in intercultural learning, the workshops included activities that aimed at breaking the stereotypes about the other cultures , understand and celebrate diversity based on common values and interests. The last part of the workshops was focusing on youth activism, with the aim of encouraging young people to be more active in their own communities.
For the purpose of exploring youth activism, the participants learned about the ladder of youth participation, designed by the sociologist Roger Hart. By going through the ladder, the participants assessed the step at which the youth of Kumanovo and of Macedonia is identifying at the moment. The final youth workshop will focus on designing an action plan that will upgrade youth participation in the community, with the assistance of the MultiKulti youth center.
Other activities included a simulation in which the participants had to imagine that they belong to a tribe and develop the characteristics of the tribe; they developed a way in which they could present Macedonia to a stranger by using 50 cards with images. Such activities helped them reflect upon the concept of collective and individual identity and learn to appreciate the value of cooperation and understanding of the other identities.
Baftiar Mustafa, one of the participants, mentioned the following:
At the time I gave the interview at the CID offices in Kumanovo, I was sure that it would be an unforgettable experience in Ohrid. I enjoyed the activities so much that I could not describe and I am convinced that we can do great things if we cooperate. We can break every wall that separates us and we can build bridges that unite us for a brighter future. When we played a game where we were divided into tribes, I realized that in the end we are all people and we can respect each other’s traditions and culture; this for me was something impressive.
Anabela Ivanovska shares Baftiar´s enthusiasm about the workshops:
One of my favorite things about the workshops in Ohrid was realising that by one ordinary and simple game we learned so much more about the surroundings that we live in. This project also helped me to say what I want without thinking that I may be judged about my opinion.