Bridges For the Future II

It was an epic showdown – YMCA Serbia, Ireland, Romanian and Kosovo all fighting to keep their seat at the table. Looks of disgust were exchanged and manic cheers of glee erupted at the failure of another. It was a game of cards on the back of the bus as we travelled together to see more of the sights, sounds and beauty of this wonderful place, Kosovo.

IMG_3045That image captures much of what the YMCA has to celebrate – young people from countries all over the world laughing and joking together, building friendships which hold infinite possibilities still to be written. It’s one of the many unmeasurable outcomes from the week long Bridges for the Future peace work conference here in Prishtina.

Personally it has been a new experience and challenge being part of the facilitation team. 28 participants from 10 different countries all with their own individual hopes and fears that accompany taking part in an international YMCA event. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of having a greater awareness of how the group is getting on and taking on responsibilities to help with the smooth running of the conference. In this respect I’ve been learning much from the rest of the facilitators.

This afternoon 6 groups presented their work from the past couple of days, the result of which was journalist articles and short videos on the theme ‘what does peace mean to us?’. Incredible work – more of which you will see appearing online soon if you follow the ymcaeurope and roots hashtags.

Tomorrow is the closing day of the conference but not the last day in Kosovo for me. Three years ago at my first international YMCA event I met a bold and ambitious youth worker – Adi Davies. At that event we became friends, three years on and he has invited me to visit and stay with him and his fiancĂ© Dorina for a couple of extra days in their hometown of Gjakova. Dorina, Adi and their team of young people from Kosovo have been incredible hosts throughout the conference and I’m incredibly excited about hanging out with them over the next couple of days!

Article by Andy Hamilton via


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