*** CALL FOR NOMINATIONS ***
International UNITED Conference near Lake Ohrid, FYR Macedonia
***New deadline for nominations: 26 August 2016***
UNITED invites your organisation to nominate a delegate for the UNITED Conference near Lake Ohrid, FYR Macedonia:
“Living together: Transform a divided past into our common future”
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.
About the situation in FYR Macedonia
Recently, FYR Macedonia marked the first anniversary of its latest security challenge, which disrupted the recently-established peace between different ethnic groups. However, the events of May 2015 had little in common with previous conflicts, as was proved by public reactions from the local population who expressed their willingness to live together and respect each other. The civic engagement and immediate response proved that there is a space for dialogue and creating sense of citizenship among different groups in FYR Macedonia. Despite this, there is an ongoing sensitive political situation that has now lasted for more than a year – as well as new fresh energy expressed by the grassroots civil society movement driven by common civic values.
What can you expect?
Considering this complex situation, our conference aims to create a platform to:
- understand the ethos of conflict through case studies and personal testimonies;
- share best practices and practical tools to be used in the reconciliation process;
- provide guidelines for NGOs on how to work on reconciliation;
- initiate joint actions and pave the way for future cooperation;
- join the campaign activity planned for the upcoming International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism (9 November)
- design the focus of the upcoming European Action Week Against Racism in 2017.
The conference programme will combine debates, workshops, sharing of experiences and local situations, simulations, political cafés and many other methods for learning from practical experience.
What is UNITED?
UNITED is the largest pan-European anti-racist network of 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 April 2016 in Torino (Italy) participants from 28 countries discussed the issues around narrative of migration in Europe. For an impression from previous conferences have a look at the posts on facebook.com/UNITEDnetworkConference.
Hate Crime training
A special training on Hate Crime by OSCE-ODIHR is scheduled to take place directly after the conference (31 October – 1 November 14:00). The training “OSCE training workshop on hate crimes for civil society representatives” will discuss the concept of hate crime and provide strategies for NGOs to address and monitor hate crimes. If you would like to join, indicate your interest and motivation for the training on the nomination form. A maximum of 30 Conference participants will be selected to attend also this training.
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FORM
If your organisation is interested in nominating a representative, please fill the online expression of interest form (in English) as soon as possible (deadline 15 August 2016).
Debates, workshops, trainings, presentations, political cafés, icebreakers, good practice market, cultural activities, excursions, open forum, sharing good practices, etc.
The conference is planned for 75 participants (living in the countries of the Council of Europe) who represent (inter)national antiracist, antifascist, refugee, and minority rights organisations. Active grass-roots groups from all over Europe are also invited. We are especially interested in nominations from organisations working with minorities, and on the topics of antidiscrimination, hate speech, and hate crime. As a participant, you should have:
- knowledge of and passion for the topic,
- advocacy and/ or campaigning skills,
- experience with strategy development,
- plans on multiplying the knowledge gained into your organisation’s own activities.
Participation is rotated from one conference to another, so you might not be selected if you were a participant at another recent UNITED conference, and organisations are advised to nominate delegates who have not participated at previous UNITED events.
Priority will be given to nominations from young delegates (upto 30 years old), and to delegates with a minority background. Preference is given to our official supporter organisations and those organisations that actively take part in UNITED campaigns. Participants should act as multipliers, spreading the information to as many people as possible. Since we have limited sponsored places, organisations that can cover (part of) their delegates’ travel costs have a higher chance of being selected. We will try to reach an equal balance of female/male participants and a good geographical distribution.
Each organisation can nominate only ONE delegate.
The conference language is English. All participants are expected to have at least basic knowledge of English. But don’t worry; English is almost nobody’s mother tongue. If you have difficulties in expressing yourself, we can help each other.
DATE AND PLACE
The conference will take place in a conference centre situated 2,5 hour bus drive from Skopje Airport and will start on Wednesday 26 October 17:00 with a transfer from Skopje Airport (OR KUMANOVA) to the venue.
On Monday 31 October, we will organise a bus transfer arriving at Skopje airport at 13:00
(For participants selected for the OSCE-ODIHR training on 31 October to 1 November we will organise a transfer arriving at Skopje airport on Tuesday 1 November)
If you wish to arrive earlier or stay longer (on your own costs), we can help you to arrange your stay in Skopje.
- Before nominating for the conference, please make sure you read the financial conditions.
- Please fill in the online form completely providing all data as requested and in English. If you invest more effort in the application it has more chance to be successful!
- Each organisation can nominate only ONE representative (living in Europe).
- Sending this form to UNITED does not guarantee that you will be selected for the conference – we receive many more nominations than we have places for participants at the conference.
- Only selected candidates will be informed about the result of their selection and receive further information via e-mail around 5 September 2016
Organisations interested in nominating a delegate should fill the online expression of interest form before the deadline: 26 August 2016 24:00
This conference is prepared by:
* ASSAM-Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants
* CID Center for Intercultural Dialogue
* KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Anti-racism
* Refugees Welcome Greece
* STUBE – Ost. Das Studienbegleitprogramm für Internationale Studierende in Mitteldeutschland
* Útilapu Hálózat – SCI Hungary
* UNITED for Intercultural Action
This event is made possible with the financial support of:
* European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
* Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission
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.