Since its inception back in 2007, there were more than 40 International events organized within the Roots framework. And being there from the very first steps that project took, I can safely claim that I have been part of at least 30 of them.
The recent “Be a Voice, not an Echo” Study Session organized at European Youth Center Budapest on September 12-18, 2021 was arguably one of the most challenging of them all due to many aspects – amidst the pandemic and related restrictions, cancellations and general uncertainty.
But there were other “most”s too and perhaps they were the main reason why my initial expectations during the build-up for the event – “this will be an activity to forget” were totally disproven while that one week in Budapest.
To start with – this was one of the youngest groups we ever had – 37 young people from 10 countries of all corners of Europe had very little experience in international work, but an immense desire to learn and grow! And so they did – never before I have seen such an immediate change and impact, it was happening right in front of our eyes!
How?! Through a variety of workshops and activities dedicated to building values, reconciliation, critical thinking or peace building methodologies; “world cafe” to learn more about different tools and resources related to the topics above; practical exercises in national or mixed teams and elaborating of projects to be supported by Roots at their implementation phase.
It was there that Roots Peace Award Ceremony took place – The Council of Europe Youth Department & YMCA in Kosovo were celebrated for their outstanding support and cooperation with the Roots. The video recording of the ceremony is available here.
And all of it accompanied with good vibes and positivity – this was the group of young people that longed for interaction and human touch and enjoyed it to the fullest once they got it.
Their voices grew louder in Budapest and I am sure we’ll hear them soon all over Europe – those of friendship, empowerment and change.
It was all that we wished for…
Full photo album is available in high resolution here
An article by Rezi Shavladze