Several weeks ago Europe commemorated one very important date – 100 years from the end of the First World War. For many European countries this event announced the beginning of the new history – history of independence. The program of celebration, national symbols on the each corner, common singing of anthem – these standard things are generally normal for such kind of celebration. But there are also other events, which are going on parallel, maybe absolutely not connected, but still characterizing those changes, which have been happening in the European society for the last 100 years.
When NGO “Kreisau Initiative” e.V. was planning the project “Fit for mobility” on the topic of “´Change”, the date of the project was not chosen purposely. The project had to take place in Poland on the first part of November, and only later it came up, that on these days Poland is celebrating a big jubilee – 100 years of independence. Participants from Germany, Russia and Poland came to the project to work with the audio and radio methods, and the main topic of the project was ‘’Change’’. What changed in their lives, which changes they are considering as important ones, and how we can change ourselves inside. The topic is very open for the discussions and for the searching, that is why the results of the project are various, but at one moment, it was understandable, that this youth exchange is also different from others. The fact, that the participants from these exact countries – Russia, Germany and Poland – came all together to make one common project was very symbolical. 100 years ago these countries were put on different fronts by the First World War, and even less than 4 decades ago it was impossible to make such international project. Now different political tendencies, relations and influences could be observed in these countries. They are providing their own independent policy, some governments are popularizing nationalistic views, some are trying to be dominant in economic influence, and some are interested of being as a unification power. The borders are clear, but not closed anymore and that is giving a big possibilities for young people to communicate with each other on an absolutely new level. Could it be considered as a main achievement?
One of the participants from Poland, Gabriel, has his own opinion about the connection between the small, but international event as youth exchange project with the big, but domestic one, as a celebration of Polish independence day: “Although I'm not patriotic at all, I think it couldn't be a coincidence for such an important day for polish people to take place at the same time as such an awesome international project. After the common evenings, workshops and just informal communication, my “black and white” vision disappeared. If a person is open for discussion and new information it shouldn't be difficult for them to change mind on certain subjects. I'm the example here.
Accidently or purposely, some events are a vehicle of changes. Maybe one youth meeting will not change a lot, but at least it can give a new vision of the things and open a new horizons of perceptions. And then, maybe not everybody, but some people will come up with the idea, how world changed for the last 100 years, that now youth from such a various countries are sitting together during the lunch and peacefully discussing the possibility of the next meeting.
Link to the web-site of NGO ''Kreisau Initiative e.V."
Photos were made by Yazan Jarbou