Reinventing Our Future
Our Future Europe
Will Serbia and Kosovo become part of the EU? What do people from these and EU-member state countries imagine when they think about this abstract topic?
These are two of the fundamental questions that are addressed during the youth exchange program Our Future Europe (OFE). During OFE, youths from the Netherlands, Serbia and Kosovo come together to think about their common European future.
What started as Our Future – European Integration in 2003, became Our Future – European Union later on, and is now called Our Future Europe. Just like the name, also the content of the exchange programme changed over the years. In 2012, for example, the Our Future program still focused on a combination of research and journalism, and resulted in an impressive publication. The concept for 2014 is a combination of good practices established over the past years, involves less research, more writing and outreach activities.
The first part of OFE 2014 was a study visit to Belgrade, Serbia, (11-15 August). The participants from Serbia, Kosovo and the Netherlands (six from each country) got to know each other, discussed topics of press freedom, censorship, hate speech and the experiences of the repressive regime of Slobodan Milošević, president of Serbia during the break-up of Yugoslavia and consequent wars on the Balkans during the 1990s.
The three full program days followed a tight schedule. In the morning, the participants visited institutions like the Serbian ministry for Youth, the Dutch Embassy, NGOs and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe). In the afternoon, trainers from the three organizing NGOs used simulation, peer-to-peer education and other non-formal learning methods in order for the participants to understand social processes like the escalation of hate speech, and train them incitizen journalism.
Workshop on how to do a workshop
One of these trainings dealt with how to set up your own workshop. This training also served as a preparation for the second exchange of OFE, which will take place from 11 – 18 October in Ommen, in the Netherlands. During this exchange, the participants will give the workshops they started to prepare in Belgrade, and will finish before the program in the Netherlands begins.
The participants were divided in international teams of three to develop a workshop for their fellow participants. The workshop contained four rounds, within which they would fill out a form. Each round guided them to another element to include in the preparation of their own workshop. The participants made lists of what they could possibly teach others, and what they would like to learn. These lists were distributed among the participants. Next, each team had to pick their preferred topic.
In the next phase of the workshop, the teams received toolkits with which they further structured their workshop into at least three parts: introduction, core and conclusion. Once they had managed all of this, the teams presented their ideas to an embassy manned by trainers, who gave advice on how to go further. The workshop ended with the teams determing the means of communication between the exchanges in Serbia and the Netherlands, a task division and timeline.