On the 16th of October we organized a roundtable in Kumanovo as part of the project “Developing a new generation of sport fans”. The main aim of the roundtable was to explore the reality of North Macedonia regarding sports fans, prevention, and statistics on violence on stadiums as well as intercultural dialogue and hate speech. We had the opportunity to host guests from Football fans association “The Gentlemen” and Football club “Lokomotiva” from Belgrade, Serbia, and A.S.T.E.R.I Association from Thessaloniki, Greece.
We started the roundtable with welcoming words from our executive director Nami and a short presentation of our vision, mission, and activities of the organization. Andrijana continued the discussion with a presentation of the project to the guests of the roundtable.
Next on the agenda was a presentation of OSCE Mission to Skopje’s campaign against hate speech and hate crimes at sports events through a series of short videos under the motto “Hate doesn’t play on our field! Let’s exclude it from the stands too!”.
Our long-time friend and collaborator Violeta Bogdanovska, the Head of the prevention department in Police talked about statistics regarding stadium violence and preventive measures taken by the Police for our Northeastern region. A positive note is that the disturbances of public order and peace at sports matches are declining, and crimes are even non-existent. The Local councils of prevention are composed of representatives from different institutions, the NGO sector as well as the Police, and every one of them is working for the same aim: to cheer for our favourite teams without insult and violence.
Florim was our last speaker at the roundtable. He talked about the impact our youth center MultiКулти has on young people on overcoming nationalism in the multi-ethnic society that we live in. He also talked about the No Hate Speech Movement that we were part of and our annual School against hate speech. The discussion did not pass without mentioning the annual race Born2Run, and how sports such as races are making our youth more inclusive.