Maison de I’Europe de Paris is implementing a new project called EUbyCITIZENS in cooperation with YIHR BiH and another 9 partner organisations from Europe.
The European Union is facing up to the mistrust of European citizens. The Maison de l’Europe de Paris and its partners are convinced that, by stimulating the knowledge of the history and the current role of the European Union, the distrust which prevails these days might disappear.
Therefore, the Maison de l’Europe de Paris developed the EUbyCITIZENS project, which aims to reach many citizens from various groups through partners established in 10 countries. The project takes place in Member States (France, Bulgaria, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Romania) and candidate countries (Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia), from East to West in Europe. This political and geographical diversity represents the wealth of European culture. It allows having a contrasting outlook of the EU and its issues and guarantees the relevance of the project.
The goal is to give the keys for a better understanding of European history and current European policies in order to better involve the citizens in the democratic process.
To this end, experts from civil society debate in several countries with citizens representatives on three topics: the history of the European Union, its values, and the impact of European policies in daily life. They write together a booklet entitled “The European Union seen by the European citizens”. The authors could be inspired by a former booklet written by the “Maison de l’Europe de Paris” with 3 partners (from Luxemburg, Poland and Germany) in 2012 and available in 3 languages (French, English and Polish).
Concurrently, several activities (street interviews, conferences, questions on social networks) are put in place in order to collect the opinion of the European citizens from the 10 countries regarding history, values and future European issues.
In the end, the booklet and collected opinions will be brought together in a digital and educational tool in Prezi format.
The partners meet with the experts and citizens representatives: in February 2016 in Paris during a preliminary meeting, and then for 5 meetings to draft the booklet (in April 2016 Warsaw, June 2016 in Sofia, September 2016 in Belgrade, December 2016 in Ljubljana, January 2017 in Barcelona, March 2017 in Bucharest and May 2017 in Paris)
The impact of this project results from the booklet and the digital tool. They guarantee wide dissemination and allow teachers and educators to have access to a pedagogical tool and teaching aid. Our relays, in civil society, in formal and in non formal education, are the first beneficiaries of these tools. They will in turn spread the information.
The quality of the project is guaranteed by the cooperation between experienced partners, which call on experts and citizens from 10 different European countries.
The opinion report from Bosnia and Herzegovina is available here: Opinion report – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Civil Rights Defenders is an international human rights organisation based in Sweden that defends people’s civil and political rights and works to empower human rights defenders at risk. In the Western Balkans, in accordance with our Regional Strategy, the organisation closely co-operates with a number of human rights organisations. We also advocate for improvements in the realm of human rights in the Western Balkans, both with regard to the general public and decision-makers. In addition to long-term support, we organise a variety of events, participate in coalitions with local partners, and conduct other joint advocacy and lobbying actions. Providing capacity building support and other kinds of assistance to human rights defenders is also part of our activities, in addition to publishing ad hoc reports on human rights in individual countries of the region/WB.
The tasks are varied, and include assisting in administrating the programs and with preparation of various activities and events in Bosnia and Herzegovina, assistance with human rights research and monitoring of countries developments, drafting reports and articles and similar.
- Eligible are applicants whose university studies include an internship period or applicants who graduated from university in the past year.
- A genuine interest in human rights and a basic knowledge of Civil Rights Defenders’ work.
- Good knowledge of the Bosnia and Herzegovina and the human rights landscape in the country.
- Preferred degree in law, political science, journalism, human rights or equivalent.
- Fluency in BCHS and English are a must (spoken and written).
- Excellent communication skills and the ability to work independently and responsibly.
- Good drafting skills and experience in writing reports, articles and doing research.
- Experience of event planning is an asset.
The internship is unpaid and part-time. The internship starts April 1, 2017. The application must be written in English and should include a cover letter and resume. Please send your application to Sarajevo.Office@civilrightsdefenders.org no later than March 19th 2017.
Regional network of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, the Center for Balkan Cooperation LOJA and the Franco-German Youth Office are pleased to announce the call for application for three seminars that will be organized in the light of establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office.
During the Paris Summit on the Western Balkans which will take place on 4th of July prime ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia will sign the declaration on establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office. This office will provide youth in the Western Balkans with opportunities to participate in cross-border exchange programs that will contribute to the process of reconciliation and improve of the regional cooperation.
Since young people are the main beneficiaries of the future Regional Youth Cooperation Office, as well as they already gained a lot of experience through various regional programs organized on nongovernmental level, it is of crucial importance that their voice is heard. Three seminars will be organized as platform for young people to share their opinion about the importance of dealing with the war past and European integrations as well as initiate the discussion on how their personal lives were changed after participation in youth exchange programs.
We are inviting young people to apply for one of three seminars:
- The Role of Youth in Reconciliation Process in the Region
Seminar will take place in Belgrade between July 2nd and 4th. It is open for 30 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia.
- Regional Perspective on EU Integrations
Seminar will take place in Podgorica between July 2nd and 4th. It is open for 20 participants from Kosovo and Montenegro.
- My Personal Experience in Youth Exchanges
Seminar will take place in Tirana between July 2nd and 4th. It is open for 20 participants from Albania and Macedonia.
Since these three seminars are organized as a part of side event that supports the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, the results of the work of 70 people gathered in Belgrade, Podgorica and Tirana will be presented at the conference which will take place in Paris on July 4th. This conference will be organized for youth from Europe and attended by all regional ministers in charge for youth polices.
Application requirements for participants:
- Age between 18 and 30;
- Come from one of seven target countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia;
- Fluent in English;
- Highly interested in the process of improvement of regional cooperation in the Western Balkans;
- Participated in some of regional cross-border programs (for seminar in Tirana this is especially preferable);
- Candidates from smaller communities outside of regional centers and capitals are encouraged to apply.
In order to apply for this program, you should submit an essay (up to 1000 words) on one of following topics:
- Seminar in Belgrade: What is the role of young people in dealing with the past processes?
- Seminar in Podgorica: How do I see the European Union in 10 years?
- Seminar in Tirana: How did the participation in cross-border program change my perspective of regional cooperation?
Deadline for application is June 24th. You can find the application form HERE.
Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Please bear in mind that candidates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia can apply only for seminar in Belgrade, from Kosovo and Montenegro for seminar in Podgorica and from Albania and Macedonia for seminar in Tirana. The organizers will covers costs of transportation, accommodation and meals during all planned activities.
Kota in geography represents the height point, in the war it is defined as line of confrontation. Kota is also a place which is abandoned an unused. Dobre kote represent public spaces that are niglected and can be transformed into play areas and alternative forms of gatherings, which lack in the city of Sarajevo.
Sarajevo due to lack of care and usage of public space is full of good kotas.
Dobre kote project aims to revive these places, integrating art into public space. Dobre kote will “travel” in the city, where they will be integrated in the new location including art (photography, paintings, poetry, prose, installations, sculptures, video art) in an abandoned space which will be partially renovated and revived by organizing joint working actions.
Artistic settings will be set or left within public space, since it is planned to monitor the relationship of art works and public spaces to see the reaction of people to these instalations. We plan to visit the good kota settings regularly, take pictures and record any changes ( we support the theft of art, as well as any response of citizens to instalations that will be set up). At the end of this process, the research will be turned into a scientific work and it will be available to the public.
The ultimate goal of the project is the integration of art into the daily lifes of citizens, with emhpasis on kids and young people that can use good kotas for non formal education . Our work will transform previously unused public space. Future usage of this space will be examined together with the residents in the part of the city in where kota is located. We plan while implementing this project to write petitions and appeals to local selfgovernance councils to ensure investments to repair for example ruined parks for kids.
Photo exhibition was organized on the first transformed Kota. The atmosphere during this Friday on Kota can be checked out on the videolink below.
Web platform Good Kote was created as part of the YouthLINC (Linking Innovators Who Network for Change), which is implemented by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina (YIHR BIH). This project is supported by the Network of Internews. Project YouthLINC Supports group of young people 18 to 24 years who come from six different countries in the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia). Young people are enganged in creating a social platform online to promote public dialogue, to discover similarities in different countries and to join forces in solving problems within their local communities and the region as well.
Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed 40 young people from Afghanistan during their study visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This study visit was organized with the help of Counterpart International and USAID. For many of them this was first trip out side of their own country, and also for some of them this was an opportunity to leave the province they are coming from for the first time.
For Sayara Ashory volunteer in the youth network and a member of group of Afhgan Women’s Writing Project. ‘ I find this program very interesting. It is like a cultural exchange. Here we got a chance to do a comparative analysis between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Afghanistan. I like it here, because you can not tell apart just by looking at people’s faces who belongs to which group, eventhought this is a multireligious and multiethnic country. It is valuable experience since we got to talk about eduacation and politics with experts in these areas. Young people in my country are facing many challenges, but non the less they are very hard working and optimistic. We do not have schools, education takes place in shelters. But despite this we keep on insisting on education because we are fully aware what it means for us and our future.’
Speaking about Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina from the international comunity point of view is the fact that both of these countries were used as a polygon for mayor international interventions. Unlike Afghanistan where there are still basic challenges regarding securty and peace, eventhough billions have been invested so far in rebuilding this state. Bosnia and Herzegovina on the other hand is considered to be a good example due to the fact that conflict was resolved with peace agremeent, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is considered to be a safe country, said Emir Nukic Bosnian who lives in USA and works as a consultant for Counterpart International.
‘This program for young people is important because thos who have proved themselves worthy being called a lider in civil society organizations have the opportunity to exchange experiences wiht colleagues here in Bosnia and Herzegovia. This study visit enebled us to understand the relationship between cso’s and institutions as well as with the media in postconflict country. ‘The aim of this study visit is to expose them to the mistakes that have been maid here so they can be avoided in the future. Also this was an opportunity for young people to understand the mistakes that have been made by international comunity when it comes to topics of transition and role of cso’s in peacebuilding, securty and democracry.’-said Nurkić.
There are similiraties, despite the many differences from which valuable learning lesssons can be thought. Acorrding to the information from Afghan Government, 65% of population are young people, which makes Afghanistan the youngest country in the world. However, the efforts of civil society organizations to lobby for the Youth ministry which would deal with with capacity building, identifying priorities and facilitating the return of young and educated in Afghanistan still has no visiable results. ‘ What fascinates me here are young faces I got to see in governments, municipalities and high ranked positions. This is something you can not see in Afghanistan. Only bunch of all people with conservative ways of thinking. They do not need the change, their time hass passed and they belong to the past’- sadi Sayara.
Sandra Marie Phelps, director of youth and equality sector at Counterpart in Kabul says that she could not think of better place for young Afghans to come and visit, other than Bosnia and Herzegovine, thanks to the great collaboration with Youth Initiative for Human Rights.
‘On basic level, this study visit is about self confidence building among these young people, exposure to new experiences and different views. Many of them have had no opportunity to travel outside Afghanistan, they have no vision what other realities look like. We provide them with skills and needs to think about their own community. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina is a post conflict country, it is much easier to relate with people from Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is a lot of work to be done through out dedicated and focused approach to young people, as YIHR BIH does with their youth.’- Phelps said.
Position of women in society is one of the similarities between these two countries.. Sayara says she lost an opportunity to get a job, because she was not allowed to travel outside of the province she comes from. She was told it is due to security reasons. ‘We have couple of seats for women in the Parliament, number of gender oriented discrimination is decreasing, but the violence towards woman increases. According to research from 2014. number of women who get educated is increasing, and number of woman who go abroad for Masters or PHD studies is also increasing, but regardless of this there is still lack of women in leading positions in power and high ranked positions in government.’
One of international community failures when it comes to gender issues and equalities, is exclusion of men within this process. I consider the programs which are dealing with this topics rather shallow.’ says Sandra.
‘I believe that men, especially young men are extremely important when we speak about fighting against women oppression. There is a long way a head of us, but my approach means inclusion of both women and men in these programs. Sometimes separately and sometimes in joined groups. The fact that we are living in a country where most of the population is Muslim does not justify mistreating and degradation of women, especially taking into consideration the fact that the Prophet Himself was advocating for women’s rights also. I believe that we need to take things slowly. I do not believe that one company can change much. It takes generations to see true changes’- said Sandra.
Program that is trying to give an answer to the question wherther those who are similar but different enough can join forces and create an opportunity for the third path, a different solution. For Sayara, three words that describe this experience are peace, unity and cooperation.’
‘We are in need of young new minds, new technologies so we could bring and see some positive changes around here. That is something I have learned here and with the help of God I am coming back to my country joyfull to share all of the thoughts about the trips and to tell about all of the places we have visited in lovely Bosnia and Herzegovina. I will speak about the organizations, networks and ways of keeping in touch upon our arrival, said Sayara.