It is our pleasure to inform you that Council of Europe`s Programme Committee on Youth approved our proposal for a study session “P.E.A.C.E. – Peace, eActivism & Campaigning Education” to be held in cooperation with the European Youth Centre Budapest. The project (a component part of our Peace Work Institute scheme) will take place from the 16th to 22nd of September 2018, involving 35 young people from all over Europe.
This project aims to train youth workers and leaders (from different countries and backgrounds) that work with young people, how to encourage their respective beneficiaries to interact more by creating and sharing digital stories, creating online campaigns or learning about e-Activism. Everyone has a story to tell, and those digital stories are always very powerful, since in many cases they highlight very important issues, such as violence, discrimination or a struggle to find one’s place in the society. They also break down barriers as in our experience a unifying cause or message can often overcome ethnic or society divisions.
There are many ways to be a peacebuilder, and we find that many of our YMCAs and participants come from marginalized communities or from countries with frozen or ongoing political and ethnic conflicts. We believe that starting to work at a grassroots level with young people, that in most cases were born after the conflict, will be of benefit for future generations too. This does not necessarily mean tackling big issues right away. The culture of peace can be translated into numerous forms of action and within this study session we would like to cover the following topics:
- eActivism for change;
- Online Campaigning & Fundraising;
- Communication and Social Media;
- Positive messages and unbiased opinion.
This will also offer us an opportunity to introduce Digital tools and methods to greatly improve the messages we are putting out in the world. Quite often much of the informal peace work within countries is undertaken by NGOs and they often struggle with capacity and funds. Therefore, communication work is frequently left to good volunteers and at good will. However, we know that social media platforms reach more people than our projects at times and have the potential to go viral and offer a digital space for comments and dialogue.
The study session will focus on improving the visual and verbal communication skills of youth workers & leaders. The competences they will develop during this session will help them to better engage with different audiences and hold the attention in order to promote peace and understanding as widely as possible.
The study session is designed as a one-week-long event, including 5 full working and 2 travelling days. The daily programme of the training session is composed of the following learning and group dynamic blocks:
- Message of the Day: Each morning the day will start with a 15-20 minute message led by facilitators or participants. There are two reasons: firstly to set the tone of the day and give the group something to think about; secondly to share an issue or concern of a global scale or personal challenge and/or opinion. It is also designed as a tool for the group to bond.
- Morning Sessions: with emphasis predominantly on hard modules, such as plenary inputs and lectures. The idea being that it will offer a space for theory, experience, debate and showcasing tools and methods.
- Afternoon Warm-up: time for participants to offer energizers and team-building activities.
- Afternoon Sessions: with emphasis predominantly on soft modules, such as interactive work, simulation activities, group work on campaigns, media awareness. We will also offer a choice of different workshops for the participants led by different members of the facilitation team; this will in turn allow space to go deeper into certain topics and tools within a small focused group.
- Home-Group Methodology: There will be 4-5 groups, mixed prior to the conference and with specific tasks during the conference; they will also provide support and feedback for the participants – each day a representative from each group will feedback to facilitators ensuring concerns expressed within the group are dealt with and quality of performance is maintained.
- Evening Programme: with focus on activities for building positive group dynamics, such as intercultural evening, movie night, quiz sessions and various challenge activities. This also allows the participants to have social time and to relax after a heavy day of learning.
This study session is designed as an experiential learning scheme. The knowledge, skills and attitudes gained by the participants at the training sessions will be put into practice through homework tasks and follow-up actions / campaigns at grassroots level.
Marius Pop – Spain / YMCA Europe, Adrian Davies – Kosovo / World YMCA, Ani Arakelyan – Armenia, Andreea Lazar – UK, Rezi Shavladze – Georgia / YMCA Europe, Bogdan Imre -France / External Trainer selected by the Council of Europe.
- Prof. Björn Stockleben – Germany. Is professor of New Media Production at Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF since September 2016. Previously he has been working for Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg as technical manager and UX consultant in EU and USA funded research projects such as HBB-NEXT, ARTES-COTV and TV-Ring. He is an expert in participative media, interactive service design and personalized storytelling. Among other interactive formats. Function: Storytelling, media platforms, media strategy, media theories.
- Vardan Hambardzumyan – Armenia: Executive Secretary of YMCA Europe. Educational team member of YMCA Europe Training the Trainers and Training Programme Developers series, Catch the Vision Conferences, Peace Seminars, Programme Festivals, Big 6 joint training initiatives on youth policies, etc., including sessions in EYC Budapest and Strasbourg. Special training in Conflict Management delivered by EED Germany. PhD in YMCA History. Function: Peace Work Expert, link to YMCA Europe Peace work, Experience in media reporting from the frontline of conflict.
We expect participants to have plans/projects/campaigns to be implemented upon completion of the study session in their organisations and communities. Together with the participants we will set a timeline for these projects and also the methods used to publish/advertise.
We will also create a small working group from within the group to document and produce a handbook of best practices, tools and tips (most of them for free usage) from the project week. This can then be used by all participants, their organizations and networks. Hoping that those individuals or organizations unfamiliar with initiatives like “No hate Speech” will consider joining or getting more actively involved.
The participants are all expected to be pragmatic actors for peace, with significant number of them coming from conflict-affected areas (Caucasus, Balkans, etc). Apart from general requirement like age, language skills, etc., they should show evidence-based motivation and commitment to conflict transformation work, online campaigning and activism during and beyond the study session.
Profile of Participants:
- Representatives of a youth organisations & informal groups;
- Representatives of formal education & administrative bodies working with youth;
- Freelancers supporting youth work on a regular basis;
- People ready to fully dedicate their time and be part of an intensive learning process;
- Able to work in English;
- Citizen or resident of an European country;
- 18 – 30 years old.
Preference in selection will be given to applicants dealing or planning to deal with communication/digital/social media matters and/or have some experience with the project’s topic.
Place: European Youth Centre Budapest
Date: Arrival on the 16th of September / Departure on the 22nd of September 2018
Places available: 30
All costs related with travel, visa, accommodation and materials are covered. The study session has an enrolment fee set at EUR. 50. The fee is deducted from the refund of travel expenses.
Deadline for applications: June 8th 2018.
Please visit our webpage for more information.