Unity in Diversity? From Challenges to Opportunities

From 30th of March to 7th “Armenian Progressive Youth Progressive Youth” NGO together in partnership with “Active Ukrainians in Europe” NGO launched a multi-layer project entitled as ‘Unity in diversity? From challenges to opportunities’. The project gathered 32 youth workers and youth educators from Armenia, Denmark, Georgia, Italy, Moldova, Poland,Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine  in Yerevan, Armenia to discuss how current military conflicts and migration processes affect young people and analyze the current migration challenges in Europe trying to offer solutions from the perspective of youth work.

12967419_1160384577314220_72783385713376247_oAs a response to the recent refugee crisis Armenian Progressive Youth NGO has also organized a conference on migration and youth. The conference aimed at highlighting the importance of youth workers and young people in the public debate on migration and discussing how youth workers can use the intercultural dialogue tools to combat intolerance towards migrants and refugees. The Conference involved Civil Society Organizations, youth workers, experts, academics, young migrants and refugees from Armenia,Denmark, Georgia, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Sweden,Turkey and Ukraine.

Kateryna Bublyk, a participant from Ukraine, says that the word “unity” in her language means standing close to someone,  supporting each other, feeling safe and friendly. “It is the sense of a fellowship, and it doesn’t matter what nationality, religion, sex or social status the other person obtain”, she says.

Maya Zakhova, 31 years old from Denmark, adds that for her these topics are very important because she is herself an immigrant in Denmark. “Copenhagen is very multicultural city and I’m a part of it. For me “unity and diversity” are not just words but daily reality.”

Olga Sevcenco, 26 years old from Moldova, describes that for her the training is about inclusion of immigrants, which is highly relevant at this time. Melanie Celina Jane Marchand, 36 years old from France, concludes that the project was about how to get united even if we are coming from different countries. How to create an awareness of the different problems that migrants can go through and in that way create tools to make them feel 12891097_1156090134410331_508253120229537994_obetter in their welcome countries and give them the opportunity to build their personal and professional live. From the trainings, she continues, I got a more precise idea of that is going on in different countries in Europe and inspirational ideas for new joint projects.
Tatiana Prodan, 27 years old from Moldova, adds , “We must understand that the refugees do not come to out country to harm us, they flee from their countries to find better living conditions. That is why we should not marginalize or exclude them”
. Kateryna Bublyk recognizes the importance of these topics in her home country: “As military actions are hold in my country, a lot of people are forced to leave their houses and move with their families all over Ukraine. Trainings like these help us, the Ukrainian youth workers, to overcome the difficulties in communicating with our own refugees.”

Olga Sevcenco stresses that one of the highlights from the training was the session were they were giving theatrical performance based on given12983991_1163573413662003_8122491659337591728_o

scenarios: ”It was very challenging to put ourselves in the place of an immigrant, to act as them and to receive feedback of others etc. From my point
of view, unity, is a term that can be interpreted differently by everyone but the most important is that it brings us together and remind us to respect each culture, vision and diversity. She adds that: ”also, the project was a great opportunity to learn a about culture and history of wonderful and amazing Armenia. The breath taking view of Ararat and delicious Armenian cuisine is still in my mind and heart.”

”After “Unity in Diversity”, Kateryna Bublyk inserts, ”I became more active in social life. Now I try to take part in the majority of projects and activities organised by our local NGO “Centre for European Initiatives”. And I like it! I feel like even being just a simple local citizen I still can participate in the city life, do something good and change the world.”12970881_1161312393888105_5060455718478023478_o