text: Olena Afanasyeva
photo: Max Revega,
As the result of the Workshop «Diversity for peace» «Totem» Centre developed practical manual for public organizations and educational institutions. The aim of this brochure is to spread experience of development and organization of activities for young people directed to increase of tolerance, development of abilities to build dialog in local community and to diminish the level of aggression, to understand and promote principle of “unity in diversity” as one of the base European values.
South of Ukraine is a multicultural region historically. Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish, German, Swedish, Turkish, Roma people lived together during centuries (more than 130 nationalities). Due to the war conflict in Eastern Ukraine (Donetsk, Lugansk) the level of tolerance to “other” people was decreased catastrophically. In local communities people with some differences (such as language, appearance, persuasions, convictions) are perceived as “enemies” a-priori, and in the present situation the main instrument for conflict resolution is very often a force, not dialog.
Young people are more vulnerable than others, because they are dependent on opinions of elder people, pressure from mass media, stereotypes of behavior. The European vector of development of Ukraine was welcomed by youth, but the war conflict was started in the East of the country so fast that the youth had no time to adopt the European values deeply. At local level it means absence of tolerance, non-understanding of a role and features of local community/city/region in the wide context of the future of the country, escalation of aggression towards other people using hate speech. Another problem is that even progressive young people have no possibility to express their opinions in local communities, they have no instruments for that and as a result the community does not hear the voice of youth or it is used as the instrument for manipulation.
This manual contains information about methodology of workshop, features of forming of group, basic themes which answer general aims, and basic methods which can be used (for example, «Living library» and thematic quests for young people). The examples of exercises and tasks are presented, and practical results and ways of their achievement also.
Finally, you have to remember, that successful workshop will lead to forming of new connections between participants and appearance of new ideas, impressions, suggestions in society. Workshop is not training, after which participants go home, hang on new certificate to the wall and that is all. Well-done workshop becomes a part of life of young people, one of the brightest flashbacks; in fact, it could help them to feel that they can do something real to change the world to the best.
The project «Diversity for peace» is financed by the EUROPEAN YOUTH FOUNDATION