It is the third and final event of the series of 3 one-week-long residential sessions within the YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation project.
The aim of this initiative is to empower youth opinion leaders coming from conflict-affected areas all over Europe to act for change in their sending organisations and respective communities as multipliers of peace culture and cross-border dialogue.
The first session within this series took place in Istanbul, Turkey (October 2012), the second one – in Yerevan, Armenia (June 2013). At the session in Strasbourg the YMCA Europe plans to bring together over 30 participants, facilitators and guests coming from 15 European countries. Most of them have attended the sessions in Istanbul and Yerevan.
As part of the YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation project implementation plan in 2014, 3 – 4 follow-up projects will be implemented by the graduates of the Peace Work Institute.
They will be clustered in tandem groups, which are designed to bring together young people representing different sides of conflicts. In 2015 the Roots for Reconciliation project also considers Peace Work Institute Reunion for evaluating the results of the tandem projects.
`I am sitting here, torn between wanting to blog about how wonderful the Peace Work Institute conference has already been or how beautiful Strasbourg is, or how fortunate and honoured I am to be part of such an extraordinary conference that has the potential to inspire the world and bring change and hope once again.
We took a long and cold walk to explore Strasbourg city yesterday. Strasbourg, France Christmas Market (Christkindelsmärik, capitale de Noël in French) is the oldest one in France. It far exceeded my expectations…All of the buildings had some sort of decoration on them and there were banners leading down streets to other markets. Strasbourg is a beautiful city with so much to see and the Christmas decorations made it all the more wonderful. As the sun set, the smells of street food and mulled wine embalmed the air while a million tiny twinkling lights set the city off.
Today we starting working in our tandem groups on our projects “study visit to Karabakh” which is going well so far so good, the context of the project coming together and will have a great potential for both parties.
Young people can make a difference if they come together, reflect and share and act on there ideas, first thing is to change ourselves, then the others will look to us for inspiration and will act. Human potential is amazing… We have the capacity to create a world that is peaceful…one that spreads kindness and love rather than hatred. If we believe it to be so, it will be our truth, and we will create it.
I will leave you with a little saying ” Leave the world a little bit better than you came in to “
Peace and love!`
Frah Saeed, England