Cross-border youth environmental campaigns and language courses for mixed ethnic groups in Kosovo are among the headline proposals to emerge from the Council of Europe’s 2012 Youth Peace Camp.
They were agreed by the 51 young people from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel, various communities in Kosovo, the Palestinian National Authority and the Russian Federation who took part in the peace camp at the Strasbourg European Youth Centre, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
The camp, now in its eighth year, enables young people and youth organisations from conflict-stricken regions to engage in dialogue and conflict transformation activities through human rights education and intercultural learning. For many participants, it is the first opportunity they have had to talk face to face with young people from “the other side.”
“Too often young people are involved in violent conflicts against their will,” said Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio (photo). “They are among the first casualties.
“It may seem more difficult to engage in dialogue than to replicate hatred, prejudice and rejection. Dialogue is more rewarding and infinitely more sustainable than conflict and hatred. Dialogue is about understanding each other, in spite of differences of opinion. It is about making friends, not enemies. Dialogue is the path to peace.”
Gallery: Photo highlights from the peace camp workshops
Information: Youth policies at the Council of Europe
Webfile: Council of Europe and young people