Diversity Is Opportunity: Promoting Tolerance As a Means of Reconciliation and Democratization

Diversity Is Opportunity: Promoting Tolerance As a Means of Reconciliation and Democratization

Objective of the project

Kosovo hosts a very heterogenous multi-ethnic society, where communities live in both geographically mixed and dispersed regions. Its well-being depends on interethnic tolerance and understanding. However, the ethnic barriers between communities remain huge as a result of the memory of the 1990s conflict and the continuing political tensions. These ethnic divisions are cemented amongst the youth in Kosovo mainly as a result of the extremely low contact between youth from different communities and the lack of possibilities for becoming acquainted with values of diversity and tolerance, either through school or social activities. Young people are often completely unaware of the cultural heritage, traditions and history of other communities.

In order to address these issues, the aim of the proposed action is to bring young people from Albanian, Serbian, Roma and Bosniak communites in Mitrovica/ë North and Gračanica/Graçanicë closer through trainings, creative workshops and study visits promoting values of cultural tolerance and democracy. In a formal and informal manner, young people will be able to present themselves and their communities to young people from other communities and, at the same time, learn about the others. Taking into consideration that Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe, such efforts are paramount for breaking the barriers between ethnic communities, thus contributing to meaningful and sustainable conflict resolution and reconciliation, and the creation of a stable multi-ethnic Kosovo society.

Activities

Activity 1: Identification and selection of potential participants from Albanian, Serbian and Bosniak youth in Mitrovica North and Albanian, Serbian, and Roma youth in Gračanica. We will select 6–8 young people from each community, up to a total of 32 participants, evenly divided between both municipalities. The program and call for participation will be presented to the potential participants through social media and through focus groups with youth in both municipalities where the program will be presented and youth will be invited to participate.

Activity 2: A two-day training on cultural tolerance and respect for diversity, to be held in North Mitrovica. The training will focus on interactive participation and discussion.

Activity 3: Study visit to the old town of Prizren, to illustrate the cultural intertwinement and diversity that were central to the first training.

Activity 4: Two-day training on minority rights in international and Kosovo legislation, to be held in Gračanica, with visits to relevant central leval institutions.

Activity 5: Throughout the duration of the program, a series of workshops will be held with the aim that the participants make a reportage related to their personal experiences with cultural diversity in Kosovo. The reportage will be published online (ECMI Kosovo website, Twitter and facebook) and through other media outlets in order to raise awareness among a broad audience on the existing ethnic distance between young people of different communities in Kosovo, and how cultural tolerance and openness can bridge the existing ethnic gap.

Activity 6: Closing ceremony in Gračanica, where the project will be presented and the reportage will be first shown to the audience, in the presence of all participants.

Implementation period

1 September 2015 – 31 March 2016

Funding

This project is funded through the US Embassy Pristina Democracy Commission Small Grants Program.


Contact person

Dijana Hasani

hasani@ecmikosovo.org

045 484 574

+381644331040

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