Introduction: This exchange meeting is organised as part of the “East Project” led by the National Youth Council of Switzerland. Since 1991, the “East Project” has supported youth organisations from the Western Balkans and it is now focusing its activities on the non-EU countries in the region. The goal of this project is to develop collaborations between young people from the Western Balkans and Switzerland. Participants have the opportunity to learn from each other and also to discuss common problems with the aim of finding solutions together.
Objectives: The exchange meeting’s theme for this year is “Youth Transforming Conflict”. The notion of conflict is here understood in a very broad sense. It refers to everyday conflicts within an organisation, between an organisation and local institutions, or conflicts surrounding an organisation, which becomes affected even if not directly involved. The main goal of this conference is to exchange strategies to transform conflict situations. In particular, expert facilitators will guide the participants in structured discussions about how to face conflicts, how to understand conflicts, and how to work with conflict to transform them. Participants will have the opportunity to listen to lectures expanding on the issues at stake, they will also be involved in group discussions, and they will be presented with concrete examples of conflict resolution’s techniques to better understand how to intervene in the case of conflict.
Venue: Hotel Alpina, Mavrovo (Macedonia)
Dates: 31 August – 4 September 2013.
Eligibility: young people aged 18 to 30 coming from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Serbia. Candidates must be named by a youth organisation working in one of the eligible countries. They must prove to be highly motivated and willing to take active part in the conference. An organisation can name maximum 2 people.
Why it is important for NGOs to attend it: This exchange meeting will appeal NGO workers from the Western Balkans for two main reasons. First of all, the topic chosen for the meeting interests everybody. In particular, the discussion on conflict transformation will benefit young activists who might not have developed strategies to neutralise conflict situations within and outside their organisation. By the end of this exchange, participants will possess basic knowledge and practical know-how to deal with conflict situation in a proactive and positive way. Second, the fact that this exchange targets civil society actors from the Western Balkans means that participants will have the opportunity to meet likeminded individuals from neighbouring countries also with the intent of exchanging ideas and information about what their respective organisations are doing. As such, this exchange meeting has also the potential to start new collaborations and further exchanges among young people from this region.
Fees: The Swiss National Youth Council will fully reimburse travel costs of the participants up to Euro 150, 4 nights lodging, and meals.
Application deadlines: 31 July 2013 (midnight).
Additional information can be found here