Educating youth on cultural diversity. Mid-term reports from Albania and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
In April, the National Commission for UNESCO of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with the support of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), coordinated a meeting between 3 UNESCO clubs selected to take part in the “Understanding and respecting cultural diversity – motive for cultural cooperation for and from youth“ project. The clubs have now presented mid-term reports on their respective efforts to raise awareness on cultural diversity among younger generations.
The “Interactive Education and Resource Network” – IMOR from Bitola, in partnership with the Albanian Foundation for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation of Disputes, presented a project titled “Learning about Cultural Diversity – an Opportunity for Youth Cross-cultural Cooperation”. The activity aims to foster dialogue and cooperation between youth from The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania through ICT activities, Cultural Camps and community outreach programmes.
Organisers selected youth leaders and educators to attend training camps in cross-cultural cooperation and diversity in the 2 countries, where they prepared multi-media presentations and performances illustrating the cultural heritage of their communities. Participants were then encouraged to convey the information gained through this experience to their communities, and to continue to reflect on the project activities and topics.
The “Youth Alliance” association from Krusevo presented “Cultural Crossroads”, a project developed in partnership with AEGEE Tirana. It featured an open call for a creative contest on the topic of cross-cultural cooperation, as a prerequisite for applying for the training course. The course, attended by 25 young people from both countries, took place successfully between 5 and 9 June 2014.
The “Embassy for Peace” association from Skopje and their Albanian partner, Shkolla “Rezistenca e Goricareve” from Pustec, produced a project titled “Understanding and respecting of cultural diversity – enhancement of the cultural cooperation among youth”. A series of workshops used ICT to convey the importance of cultural diversity, traditions, customs and handcrafts in fostering dialogue between people of different cultural backgrounds. Young people discussed traditional crafts and customs specific to their region as well as looking at the wider, multi-cultural social context.
In a region so recently torn apart by conflict, encouraging young people to move beyond cultural barriers and to share their backgrounds and experiences is of the utmost importance. The value of formal and non-formal education programmes in teaching young people about cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, and the crucial role of civil society in the area of inter-ethnic relations have long been at the heart of UNESCO’s mission around the world.