10 different countries collaborate in a first of its kind youth orientated peace conference in hope that it can build bridges for the future.
Nations across Europe, many of them who have experienced conflict either with each other or with other outside countries have been brought together in a YMCA Europe project in the Capital of The Newborn state of Kosovo. Between the 5th and the 11th of September, the conference has brought a new approach to community relations in the hope that the future will bring positive diplomatic relations between and within the countries. Nations involved such as Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania could have never of seen this happening as recently as 10 years ago. Also countries such as Ireland, Cyprus and Macedonia all came together to share about their counties internal affairs, foreign affairs, culture and solutions for peace in the future.
The conference has provided an opportunity for the attending nations youth to gain many new experiences and information to take back to their homelands, Mladen from Bosnia and Herzegovina stated that the conference has given him “new information about the attending countries cultures,” Giving him more experience of, “Youth Activism and new ways of bringing peace to conflicting nations” but most of all he believes he can go home having gained a “new network of friends across Europe.”
In many ways, the conference has been a complete success. Participants have gained great life experiences and motivation to continue with this kind of work, building strong bridges for the future. The nations involved have YMCA Europe to thank for an incredible conference and hope similar conferences will be funded and organized so the message of peace can be enhanced across the Balkans and indeed all of Europe.
Martine from Ireland, when asked what her message to potential founders of similar projects was, “To build a stronger future for our young people across Europe we must create opportunities to bring them together and explore their cultural backgrounds and socio-political & religious differences. In this way, barriers are broken down and young people become better equipped to promote peace and reconciliation in their context.”
Blog post from Craig Martin, Northern Ireland, who had his first international experience with the YMCA via http://ymcagloballink.blogspot.ro/2014/09/first-of-its-kind-peace-conference-in.html