Over the past week, 40 youth workers, educators, and youth trainers from 14 countries have gathered in Dilijan to address and transform online hate speech in a safe and transformative way in the scope of “Unleashing the Power of Youth Work to Counter Online Hate Speech – UP!”. The project aims to equip young people with the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools to support their fight against online oppressive narratives, propaganda, and hate speech.
The project started with different activities that would help the group get familiar with each other as they were going to start working on their activities together. For the participants to understand hate speech better the group worked together to explore diversity, inclusion, and prejudice and talked about different stereotypes. After studying diversity thoroughly, the participants came up with scenarios for the “Theater of oppressed” which helped them look at things from different perspectives and discuss ways to help people who are facing discrimination. As a result, the participants prepared and conducted their activities and later on received feedback from each other.
Nikos, one of the project participants from Greece, shared his experience of participating in this project. “Nowadays, online hate speech is a very common problem we as youngsters face. This project was an amazing opportunity for me to learn more about hate speech and most importantly understand if there is a way to fight it. I also liked how the whole training was conducted and how much new information I gathered in only a few days. The skills that we gathered will be helpful for us when we get back home and start working on different projects to fight against hate speech”.
The project is implemented by the Armenian Progressive Youth NGO in collaboration with Jongeren voor Uitwisseling en Begrip (JUB). The project is funded under the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.