This was a six day training course that explored the relevance of different faiths and beliefs to young European Citizens which was delivered to youth workers and leaders from EU Member states, the Balkans states and Eastern European countries outside the EU.
Peace, Faith and Communication was a six-day training course that explored the relevance of different faiths and beliefs for young European Citizens. It was delivered to youth workers and leaders from seven European countries that all travelled to Ključ in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Participants on the course were youth workers and young leaders who are engaged with young people in their country. During the course participants explored the topic of faith and belief in Europe from a historical and modern perspective, looking at conflict management and development of non-violent communications skills, but overall teaching tolerance. The course gave an insight into a variety of faiths and deepened participants understanding of these beliefs. The group also looked at conflict management and practiced non-violent communications skills.
The course’s objective was to demonstrate methods of discovering the topic, enhancing their theoretical knowledge and build a praxis though non-formal education that they can share with the young people they work with. Overall our hope is that this will work towards fostering peace and understanding amongst young Europeans from a wide range of faiths and beliefs.
We chose to hold the course in Bosnia & Herzegovina for 2 reasons, first because of the strong commitment and passion to create this course by the coordinating partners and the second, because of the history of conflict in the county falling along religious divides for many centuries. Hosting the course in the country massively contributed to the learning and reflection of participants, who were able to see the results and hear the stories from the community on how conflict impacted their lives.
Quotes from participants:
“ It was so touching and gave us a great insight to what happened listening to what is war from someone who experienced it”
Yunus Emre Memmi (Turkey)
“ The talk about Bosnia and the war really touched me powerfully”
Lynette Golnaragti (United Kingdom)
The group has stayed connected as the result of a Facebook page. This page has been used to share good practice, further information and reading as well as sharing what they have learnt.
Follow on projects planned:
Partner Organisations involved in the project:
Overall the project was a great success and participants demonstrated learning and development around the topic matter. Participants gained further knowledge about different faiths and how they came into Europe. Participants also learned new theories about conflict resolution and the art of non-violent communication. It is also clear that participants were deeply moved about the local story of Ključ and how its people were affected by the war in the early 90’s. The project seemed to be enjoyed by all and resulted in further international cooperation and many friendships.
About Ključ: The host city of our project:
Ključ is a small city situated in North-West Bosnia & Herzegovina. Today, it has around 6,000 inhabitants living in the city and in rural areas, although during the summer the population can increase up to 30,000 people with tourists coming to fish in the local river during the annual Sana fishing Regatta.
Ključ is an important historical city in Bosnia & Herzegovina, as it is the place where the last Bosnian medieval king “Stjepan Tomasevic” (1461 to 1463) was captured and over-thrown by the Ottoman Empire, this then led to a 450 year rule by the Ottoman’s ending the Bosnian Kingdom. Following the Ottoman Empire Ključ would see itself falling under different leadership from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the Socialist Yugoslavia. It was not until 1992 that Bosnia & Herzegovina gained independence, however, and this was not without it’s own struggle. Ključ, like a lot of other places in the country, suffered a bloody war. The war saw over 100,000 people killed and 2 million displaced in the country. Ključ now has a significantly reduced population with many of its residents not returning to the city or the county.
Now, almost 20 years post-war, Ključ is a city that is still rebuilding itself. No longer troubled by war, its issues today (like a lot of Europe) are more economic. Ključ suffers from high unemployment rates (around 60%) and lack of employment opportunities in the city, Although having a strong agricultural sector, once young people reach an age of employment, many leave the city to search for employment opportunities. Ključ needs more projects that can help boost its local economy and develop the entrepreneurial spirit of the young people.
As more people are discovering the country, Ključ invited them to enjoy it’s beautiful nature and clean open environment, it’s a friendly welcoming city with a great local community atmosphere, surrounded by beautiful mountains and the river Sana flowing through. An idyllic setting to visit and a great city to host our course.
Funded by: The Youth In Action Programme, administered by the British Council
Hosted by Kosmos, Training delivered by Act Global