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A New Generation of Peace Activism Educators Gained Useful Experiences and Knowledge

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Zagreb, June 5, 2023

Youth Initiative for Human Rights and HERMES - Croatian Educational and Development Network for the Evolution of Understanding organized the Training for Peace Activism Educators in the period from 31.5. to 3.6.2023.

Twenty young people aged 18 to 30 from different parts of Croatia participated in the training and showed exceptional dedication and interest in human rights and peace activism.

With this training, we have increased young people's knowledge of human rights and peace activism during the 1990s in Croatia and the region to recognize and oppose the rise of nationalism and its consequences. 

We have contributed to empowering young people for active engagement within their communities and achieving positive social changes through the development of critical thinking, self-organization skills, as well as youth work and facilitation skills.

During the four-day training, participants participated in a series of interesting workshops that encouraged them to think and engage in interactive activities. 

The first day of training was dedicated to getting to know each other, establishing a group agreement, recognizing expectations and fears of the participants as well as the ways in which they want to contribute, and getting acquainted with the work of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights.

The second day began with a workshop "Introduction to Peace Activism" during which they recognized various forms of activist work, developed their definitions of peace, and then compared them with theoretical concepts of positive and negative peace. Through an exercise of associations with the term "nineties", they became aware of the militaristic approach to the past and the marginalization of peace and anti-war movements active in Croatia and the region during the 1990s.

The next two workshops of the day used the curriculum "Peace Activism in Croatia and the Region in the 1990s" and accompanying didactic material. Participants were introduced to basic concepts and key personalities related to peace activism in Croatia and the region in the 1990s, anti-war actions and initiatives, the contribution of independent media and culture, and the legacy of peace activism. 

When talking about today, they revised their knowledge of different generations of human rights through conversation as well as a "Pictionary" game and got acquainted with the pillars of transitional justice.

In addition to deepening their knowledge of peace activism, participants had the opportunity to develop their facilitation and moderation skills. Having jointly defined the attributes of the ideal facilitator, they gained experience moderating a discussion.

The second day of the training ended with a memorial walk on the Anti-War Campaign of Croatia (ARK) in which they learned about the establishment of the ARK, the charter of the Anti-War Campaign, efforts to prevent evictions, the fanzine ARKzin and the door of peace.

The third day of the training began with a workshop "Suppression of Nationalism" during which participants distinguished between nationalism and patriotism, evaluated the statements of politicians, and gave their (re)definitions of patriotism.

They continued to deal with this topic within the workshop "Civic Responsibility" during which they got acquainted with the work of HERMES and mapped the manifestations of nationalism in their local communities.

The last part of the training was aimed at empowering young people for their activist work. Therefore, the last workshop dealt with the organization of events in their environments whereby the participants were empowered to map and communicate with relevant actors.

Based on everything learned, participants were divided into working groups, further explored topics related to peace activism that particularly interested them, and designed creative ways of transferring knowledge in local communities. 

Their ideas included screening anti-war films and hosting discussions, conducting a workshop on the role of art for peace activism, developing an interactive quiz on key concepts related to peace activism, and setting up a house of peace that would include copies of independent media that have been active during the 1990s as well as stories of peace activists. 

With the successful completion of this training, participants have acquired new skills, expanded their knowledge of human rights and peace activism, and empowered themselves to actively participate in their local communities. We look forward to following them as they pass on the acquired knowledge to other young people in the next period.

Congratulations to all the participants for their hard work and dedication!


Project MLAD! is implemented with the funding of the Central State Office for Demography and Youth.


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