“We believe in the values of diversity and we can achieve anything we put our mind to”, was one of the affirmations developed by the young participants between 18 – 22 that came together on 13 – 14 May in at Hotel Gračanica to discuss and co-create the concept of Positive Peace. The activity was the kick-off of a project that is developed together with forumZFD Kosovo, Roma in Action from Gjakova, Local Peace in Leposavić as well as SIT – Center for Counseling, Social Services and Research in Prishtina.
Positive peace refers to the attitudes, institutions, and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. This can include issues such as social justice, human rights, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. During this workshop, the participants developed their own visions as well as project ideas that could help work towards a more peaceful society in Kosovo.
Several issues were discussed that show room for improvement to achieve positive peace in Kosovo: ethnic separation in school classes, discrimination in accessing jobs as well as medical care, persisting gender inequality, discrimination due to sexual orientation, focusing on borders and nation states instead of equal rights of the population as well as environmental protection.
The young people came up with different visions and ideas of positive peace:
Positive Peace is achieved when
• people are treated fairly and there is no violence caused by social or political structures
• we concentrate on environmental protection since this is a factor that unites us
• everyone can be themselves, speak their own language and everybody can achieve inner peace
• we see society as a puzzle with different pieces that come together
• we acknowledge that difference is a unique value
Different methods were used during the workshop to develop these ideas together, s.a. brainstorming methods, poetry, dance and art. Two concrete project ideas were also developed: 1) Showing positive peace in Kosovo through art and culture by starting with children and their parents; 2) Organising a Balkan fest, where different communities can show their culture through clothing, food and music.
The project will continue with a research phase that goes more deeper into the questions, which uniting visions young people in Kosovo have when it comes to building peace, which limiting beliefs still persist, how to overcome then and create conditions to enable young people to get active in building positive peace in their communities.
As a last impression from the workshop, we want to finish with a poem that was developed by the participants:
Kosova youth, so full of life,
Endless potential, the world is rife,
With opportunities for you to seize,
And make your mark, however you please.
From Pristina and all the cities
From Gjakova to Gjilan,
We're not spirit pickies
And that’s the reason our future is bright
To chase our dreams, and take a chance,
The world is yours, in your hands,
And never forget, wherever you go,
Kosova's youth will always live
Kosova youth, with hearts so pure,
Your strength and resilience will always endure,
Through the toughest times, you'll rise above,
With hope and love, and unwavering love.
Kosova youth, you're the future bright,
With determination, you'll reach new heights,
Your passion and drive will take you far,
And show the world who you really are.