UNITED’s conference “Power of Coexistence – TURN IT ON! Bridge, Cooperate and Overcome” was held between 15 and 20 May 2019, near Tirana, Albania.
The conference focused on coexistence, not only as a general value of understanding and peaceful living within a community, but as a practical strategy that can help facing the current challenges of Europe on many different levels.
Coexistence can in fact represent a key factor in planning the building of more diverse and tolerant societies.
The European Union has recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, stressing once again the need to face together the current challenges, having in mind the values of peaceful cooperation, respect of human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality and solidarity among European nations and peoples.
Nonetheless, the perception of unity that the public opinion connects to Europe is often referring to its role as a technocrat power, ruling on people according only to economic interests; the union of people and cultures has gradually been substituted by the union of banks and industries. This has led to a general feeling of distrust and frustration towards national and European institutions: if there is something that connects directly the European people among themselves it’s probably the rise of nationalism, populism and xenophobia because of this situation.
All these factors contribute to the weakening of the idea of a united Europe itself and of its values, in a moment in which they are mostly needed in the face of the new and serious challenges we are dealing with.
We should rely on the strengths of this continent instead if we want to promote a shared vision and the creation of a peaceful and common future. To do so it’s necessary to connect again the individuals to this vision and to empower them through a common strategy that will unify them in diversity, putting the value of coexistence at its core. Coexistence can in fact help us bridge our differences, make us cooperate among ourselves so that together we can overcome these challenges by turning on our common power.
Necessary steps to achieve this would be the introduction to topics and concepts such as those of cultures, identities, interculturalism, cross-culturalism and the process of acculturation, which will serve as pillars for this process.
For this reason, UNITED decided to invite activists from all over Europe who work on the field and to work together to build the basis for this strategy and to share the vision of peaceful coexistence as a possible and concrete achievement.
What could you expect?
Since coexistence is a broad topic and can involve several aspects of life, UNITED decided to make the working and understanding easier, so to facilitate the learning and the communicating process. For this reason, the conference included:
- Panel discussions with experts that helped clarify what coexistence means.
- Successful examples and good practices of coexistence.
- Focal working groups on Communication, Campaign, Advocacy, Education and Community Building as basis for a coexistence strategy.
- Practical workshops on how to raise funds for a strategy.
- Chance for networking and initiating joint actions to pave the way for future cooperation.
During the whole conference the participants were exposed to different methodologies of work to maximise the synergy between the different skills and expertise that were present.
This conference was prepared by:
- Youth Centre Perspektiva, Albania
- Projekte Vullnetare Nderkombetare, Albania
This conference was made possible with the financial support of:
- The European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
- The Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union
The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position nor the opinion of our sponsors. Sponsors are not to be held responsible for any use that may be made of it.