Back to Western Balkans programme

The Future We Want – Summer Camp

Regional Summer Camp in Struga, North Macedonia from 11 – 17 June

16 young peace activists from Kosovo, North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina took part in a week-long summer camp to address topics such as stereotypes, conflict resolution and multi-ethnicity. Through different methods and tools, they learned how to become more accepting of others, to open up to new views and perspectives, understand different forms of oppression and how to get active and promote peace in a multi-ethnic environment.
The Future we want-Summer Camp
© forumZFD

ForumZFD offices in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia together with their local partner organizations in the field of youth peace activism: Akva Struga (North Macedonia), Public Youth Center in Skenderaj (Kosovo),  Roma in Action in Gjakova (Kosovo), Initiative Link in Mitrovica (Kosovo), ADOPT Srebrenica (BiH), Omladinski centar Gornji Vakuf/Uskoplje (BiH), Omladinski centar  Bugojno (BiH) and ReACT Sarajevo (BiH)  organized the summer youth camp "The Future We Want" that took place in Struga, North Macedonia in the  period 11 – 17 June 2022. 

16 young peace activists between 16 - 25 from Kosovo, North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina together with local experienced trainers addressed topics such as: stereotypes and prejudices, conflict resolution, multi-ethnicity, multi-perspective approach and promoting peace in local communities through different methods as Theatre of the Oppressed, World Café, Conflict Mapping and many more. They were given the tools to actively counter ethnocentric narratives within their surroundings, to explore a common understanding of peacebuilding and their active role in it as well as to develop ideas to work for a more peaceful and inclusive society. 

© forumZFD

The idea of this regional project is to show the necessity and importance of bringing young people from the Western Balkans together to create an opportunity for them to break barriers and supporting them in getting active in their communities through local peace actions. It is important to create a safe space where cooperation between young people in the field of activism and peace building can start and grow. 

© forumZFD

Some of the participants shared the following:

Sandro (20), Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina: 

I decided to go on camp just to meet new cultures, people and to travel. Anything that happens and comes with that is perfect, even the bad things because we can learn from it. We are all different, the similarities are there just to keep the differences together. We need to find these similarities, even superficial ones, in order to agree on something and overcome conflicts.

After the camp I want to continue to share my experience with friends, inviting them to accept an invitation to events like this if given the chance. It may be a small thing when we look at it this way, but it only takes one spark to make a huge fire. I am also announcing an art exhibition of my photographs with text that could encourage reflection on the changes that are needed, especially in the Western Balkans.

Jeton (17), Gjakova, Kosovo: 

Initially, this weekly camp was very useful for us as young people from Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia. I want to emphasize the trainers who have given examples of overcoming stereotypes and prejudices among us as young people in the Western Balkans. As young people of the Balkans we have the opportunity to collaborate on various projects and programs in the future. As a result, this cooperation will have an influential power in improving the skills of young people, personal and interpersonal training and development, as well as networking of social groups, regardless of ethnicity, religion or nationality.

Nadica (17), Struga, North Macedonia: 

I always join activist multicultural activities that can help improve equality, so when I heard about this camp from our local NGO AKVA, I applied instantly without hesitation and I haven’t regretted it at all. The main learning from this camp is the importance of peace-building and to grow a healthy surrounding for the people of the world. As long as I am alive my idea is to work towards equality and a better society for everyone. I’ll definitely use everything I learned these last couple of days and implement it in our school surroundings and our club. Step by step, without leaving anyone behind. 

© forumZFD

At the end of the camp, the participants conceptualised a local peace action and the implementation will take place some time during the summer and in the fall. The aim is to also create a network for sharing and learning. Participants from projects of the former years are now beginning to become facilitators themselves and their local organisations as well as the forumZFD offices can profit from their knowledge within other projects and activities.

Back to Western Balkans programme