YEN (Youth of European Nationalities) Easter Seminar in Albania

Hello everybody!

I am Livia, the EVS volunteer for Phiren Amenca, and I would like to talk about the great experience I had in Durres, Albania, before the Easter holyday.

The network of Youth European Nationalities, YEN, every year organize different seminars and trainings, gathering many youngsters from different minority all over Europe, in order to create the opportunity of dialogue and to raising the awareness of the issues of discrimination and polarization that nowadays affect our society.  I already had the occasion to participate at the Training for Trainers in Trieste, where I learned the importance of the role of the trainer and the impact of the Non-Formal Education method. In Durres I had the chance to cover the role of junior trainer and to observe the seminar from a different point of view compared to the participant one. First of all, it was interesting to observe the preparation of the program: we had two skype before the beginning of the seminar and I saw how everything had to be planned in advance and how the division of the time and the topics works. I am a very bad organizer and it was very motivation and inspiring to see the planning of all the different activities! And few months before I was a participant in the previous training of YEN, so I found very interesting to discover how works the “other side” of a seminar.

 

After this first part, we met two day before the beginning of the seminar in the venue and we started to organize and plan all the logistic things and to create the poster and the flipchart for the event. We discussed again about the program and we made some little changes in order to fix everything.

Two days later, the participants arrived. The first day, in Tirana, we had a presentation of the Vlach minority, from the hosting organization, Vlach Youth Concil of Albania, and after, we played some presentation games, in order to get to know each other. In the afternoon we went back to Durres and we started the activities: we divide the participants by distributing some closed slice of papers with draft animals inside. On the basis of the animal they found, they had to collect them self by doing the call of it. I found very funny the scene! We divided them into three groups and then each group did some different exercises. As a junior trainer, I was always with a senior trainer, never alone, and we played at the stick game, dividing our group (the crocodiles) in two, one in front of the other and let them trying to put a stick on the ground by using only their two pointer fingers. I was very surprised to see that the stick, at the beginning, went up instead of down, but after few minutes of shouting and laughing, they manage to put the stick on the ground. After some activities like this one, we did the debriefing and we went for dinner. The first day was gone!

The second day, the “Carousel day”, was very interesting, because we organize different activities on the basis of four main topics: Intercultural learning; Advocacy, Communication and Public speaking. The night before we divided all the participants on the basis of their experience, gender, age and nationality in order to have four balanced group, and the day after, they attended all the different workshop. The idea was to divide the whole day in four part, and each group turn from one workshop to the other. At the end of the day, all the participant had a full idea of all the topics and of their connections. I was a junior trainer in the Intercultural learning workshop, and we based it on the torch games: we divide, again, every group into four little groups and we allocated to each one some parts of the torches: some had all the batteries, other the body of the torches, and other the laces. The goal of the game was to create a functioning torch, and each group had to negotiate with the other, on the basis of the pieces they had at the beginning. We wanted to show the different distributions of resources in the real life, and to show how the different groups reach different results.  After this intense day, we had the exchange market, in which everyone brought sweets and food from their culture and we share all together! I had so much fun this night!

The day after the party, the participants went out for an excursion to the cultural heritage city of Berat and visited a local winery, while me and the other trainers spent the whole day organizing and planning the rest of the seminar. Was a very intense day, we finished for the dinner time, and I went to sleep very early, I was so tired!

The fourth day we focused on the drafting of the resolution of the seminar, we planned all the workshop with the editors, and we divide again the participants into three groups: 1) Language, Culture and Education; 2) Governance, civic sector and structured dialogue; 3) Participation and Active Citizenship; and last but not least 4) Inclusion and Exclusion. I was again in Inclusion and Exclusion. On the fourth day, all the workshop were quite similar, because the aim was to let the participants brainstorming about the different topics, and we essentially made a lot of different questions and tried to collect as much ideas as we could. After the workshop, we organize a World Café on the terrace of the resort, in which each group explained to the others their topic. For the night, we had a wonderful bonfire on the beach! It was great and the atmosphere was very friendly!

The last day we had a Joint Council simulation, where the participants became aware of the co-management system of the Europe’s youth sector.

 

I was a very intense seminar and I am happy to have been part of it! To be honest, I found it very challenging sometimes, because the group was very big, and I didn’t know anybody, while they were already a quite close group. For that reason, and for my shame of my level of English, sometimes was difficult for me be a trainer. But I survived, and I learned a lot from this “not always comfort position”. At the same time, I really enjoyed it because met so many very nice and interesting people, and, again, I opened my view over the different cultures and shapes that  make this world so interesting! There were youngster from each part of Europe, from Turkey, Nederland’s, Crimea, Russia, Ukraine, Ireland, German, Switzerland, Slovene, Denmark, Albania, Serbia…and a lot more!

I am very happy for this opportunity and I looking forward to attending to the next seminar!

 

Livia