The conference “YOUth ACTivism shaping our Intercultural Europe” took place from 14 to 19 October 2015 and focused on the role of antiracism youth work in shaping European societies. You can find the report on our Facebook page under October 2015.
Europe is facing a moment of great difficulty. Politicians across the spectrum are misusing the difficult economic circumstances to gain votes for populist causes, targeting ethnic minorities and, increasingly, the migrants coming to Europe in search of a better future. As a result, nationalist parties are polling highly, and racist rhetoric and intolerance are on the rise, often disguised as economical arguments.
Traditional anti-racism work is losing ground, and it seems that the majority population is less and less perceptive to the values of solidarity and tolerance. We have to take a deeper look to understand the root causes of racism, and how it is enhanced by the political and social environment, to help us better target mainstream society.
UNITED believes that to achieve this aim, much greater efforts need to be made to mobilise young people. Thus, along with our partner Foundation for Subjective Values, we invited young activists from all over Europe to participate at our conference #YOUACT: Youth Activism Shaping our Intercultural Europe in Budapest, Hungary from 14-18 October 2015. The conference aimed to explore new ways in which youth work and youth activism can be effective in countering xenophobic tendencies.
About the context in Hungary
In the last few years, Hungary has seen a rise of nationalist-populist sentiment. The ruling government appears unable to oppose these trends, and they themselves regularly victimise human rights defenders and immigrants in their political speeches in order to hide their incompetence in finding alternative solutions. A large number of young people in Hungary have already lost their belief in mainstream democratic parties and are one of the main target-groups for far-right parties.
The most oppressed minorities: Roma, the LGBTQ community and Jews, are frequently targets of hate incidents and there is no sign of effective protection or prevention programmes. But all these worrying developments only make us more motivated not to give up, but work even harder for equality and against all forms of discrimination. The lesson that we have learnt is that human rights are not something we have inherited and will be there for us forever: we have to constantly work to protect them.
What were the aims of the conference?
Considering this complex situation, our conference aimed to create a platform to:
- explore and reveal the core economic and psychological causes of racism as a step to identify adequate response for them
- understand the recent developments, risks and challenges in Europe by exploring the local and regional context of antiracist work
- exchange and create new methods and good practices in antiracist youth work offline and online
- build opportunities for working together more efficiently whilst increasing motivation for innovation and networking through youth work
Debates, workshops, trainings, presentations, political cafés, icebreakers, good practice market, cultural activities, open forum, sharing good practices, etc.
Conference prepared by:
• Foundation for Subjective Values (H)
• MRG Minority Rights Group
• YAN Youth Alliance via Networking / NHSM (ARM)
• DFUNK Danish Refugee Council Youth (DK)
• Service Civil International (RO)
• No Borders Project – Social Action Center (UA)
• Tbilisi European Youth Centre (GE)
• FURD Football Unites Racism Divides (UK)
• Center for Intercultural Dialogue (MK)
• Human Rights Institute (SK)
• UNITED for Intercultural Action
UNITED network conferences
UNITED is the largest pan-European anti-racist network, linking more than 550 organisations. Twice a year, at the UNITED network conferences, antiracist and human rights activists from all over Europe meet and discuss effective ways of combating racism and discrimination. At a recent UNITED conference held in May 2015 in Spain participants from 35 countries discussed the topic of Migration and social inclusion in Europe. For an impression from previous conferences have a look at the posts on Facebook!
This event is made possible with the financial support of
• European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
• 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.