Peacing it Together Youth Seminar
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To mark the 29th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and 20 years since the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, UK-German Connection, in cooperation with NICLT, organised a youth seminar to discuss themes surrounding peace beyond borders.
In November 2018, 44 young people from Northern Ireland and Germany met together to discuss, explore and share their ideas and thoughts for the future on themes such as:
- growing up in a post-conflict society
- the role of intercultural youth relations in peace-building
- creating a shared future
“I have never spoken or had the opportunity to talk to people of a similar conflict. The youth conference allowed me to speak to other people my age and be able to learn from them to move forward in my community to be able to bring new ideas and leave the past behind us.” (Northern Irish participant)”
Discovering Belfast: past and present
Alongside thematic discussion sessions, the young people had the chance to delve into the Northern Irish capital's history through different expert-led excursions, exploring Belfast's past, present and future, which included:
- a workshop on shared education
- a historical tour of the city
- an interactive trip to the Peace Walls
a visit to a local museum
“It was really interesting to learn about the conflicts in Northern Ireland and the efforts made by the people believing in a peaceful and united post-conflict society. Talking about the society in Northern Ireland made me think differently about the impacts the separation of Germany had and still has on our society.” (German participant)
The seminar provided the participants with a unique opportunity to explore parallels between experiences of borders within their own community and within an international community, and to compare and contrast the impact of such events among others from the same generation. In many cases the participants were able to view their own community from a new and wider perspective, as well as learning more about the post –conflict society of their international counterparts.
Bringing Belfast back
Since the seminar, the participants have been sharing their findings with their own local communities, through PowerPoint presentations, newspaper articles and word of mouth! Many of the participants remain in contact with each other and have continued to discuss the theme of peace beyond borders, with this leading to discussions on other current political and social events as well!