6 a.m. Heathrow airport, London. I am taking a flight to Kosovo: excited, nerves, exhausted. I have been texting Karina the whole week; I don’t know who she is, what she looks like, but we are going to have an incredible journey together.
She is a YMCA staff member working in Day Camps in Fairthrore Group, UK, and she has been chosen to be part of Bridges of the Future for a week in Pristina, Kosovo.
This project is dedicated to train young people from ‘Balkan Countries’ (with the collaboration of YMCA England and Ireland) to run topics and plans to promote Peace.
But, what is? How can we get it? What can I do?
Peace is an easy word which you can hear all the time in news and songs… But is hard to get the answer, it’s difficult to get it between people with historical conflicts; and maybe, this projects could be the first step to creating links between young people from the different sides of the problem.
“The conference will be basically, eat, sleep… Share a full week with people from the other part of the conflict” Adrian Sheremeti, a Kosovo leader, said.
YMCA Europe proposed that these young leaders, use different media tools to show what peace means to them; the 36 leaders are splitter in 6 groups to explain their ideas using videos, articles, etc.
One of these groups is ‘New Beginning’ in which Karina is involved as well as Eglantina, Razvan-Victor, Liora and Kristian. He is a Serbian volunteer for the YMCA who is directing their video looking for to answer ‘What does Peace mean”
“Peace has lots of meaning, but what is important… is what you do to get it”
His conversation was fluent and I could feel his pain speaking about the rivalry in the Serbian population.
It was a wonderful experience to talk with the whole group; although they are from varied countries, with different ages, they considerate themselves as a great team, having a massive support and connection into the team. Every idea was considered by the group, disputed and decided as team.
So we can consider that YMCA Europe with the ‘Bridges for the future’ project have realized their expectation: opening minds to promote Peace and projecting experiences as opinions about the conflict, and above of all… about Peace.
World Peace is a big step, probably we will never get it, probably we will never understand each other, therefore, all of us must make an effort day by day to change the conflict, to change the situation, and maybe, changing ourselves, being empathic with the opposite opinion, being more realistic and respect that the world is huge and we need diversity to have our personal idea.
“In countries where there is peace, people take it for granted”
So maybe the solution is as easy as we think, maybe it is in ourselves, having happy and good energy, sharing positive messages and promoting the understanding in our communities and families… And at the end, give our personal meaning for Peace.
By Sofie Kerouac