UNITED is pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the upcoming UNITED network conference near Lake Ohrid, FYR Macedonia. Entitled “Living Together: Transform a divided past into our common future“, the conference will focus on the topics of conflict resolution, reconcilliation and nation-building, and will take place from 26-31 October 2016. Selected participants will also be invited to attend an OSCE-ODIHR training session on hate crime, which will take place at the same venue immediately after the conference. The deadline for nominations is 15 August. -For full details and nomination form, check out the upcoming conference page-
Our lives as a community depend on how we can handle cultural, social and ethnic differences, and make strength out of diversity. Our success as nations depends on how we can learn from the experiences of our ancestors and not repeat the same mistakes again and again. When we select our leaders, we must pick them carefully, avoiding those that wish to set segments of society against each other, or appear to be fighting against imaginary or selected enemies instead of working for the best interests of all. As societies, we must come up with better visions and strategies for Living Together, and learn to accept that although this is not always easy, it is necessary.
When it comes to political participation, Europeans seem disinterested and detached. Many feel a sense of powerlessness because politicians fail to hear their fears and concerns about different issues, including immigration. Right-wing populists and extremist groups have been successful in appealing to people’s general sense of dissatisfaction and build a narrative based on prejudice, nationalism and anti-European sentiments. Incidents of hate speech and hate crime targeting migrants and minority groups are happening more frequently across Europe, leading to more fear and concerns.
In such times in which Europe is still grappling with the painful realities of oppression and racial injustice of a divided past, there is a need for European human rights activists to join forces to address critical topics such as ‘Ethnic Privilege’ and ‘Cultural Dominance’. We should refresh our memories by listening to testimonies, discuss historical developments and repeated mistakes in order to mobilise against discrimination and set actions for a model that guarantees not only social cohesion and coexistence but also justice and reconciliation.
To achieve this, UNITED invites activists from antidiscrimination organizations to join the conference in Ohrid, MK, where we will work together to find common strategies to address the situation.