Baia Mare (Romania), 26 September - 2 October, 2011

“Creating New Bridges”: a project run by young people for young people

Representatives from ten different national youth organisations came together in the famous “Land of Dracula to attend workshops, debates, seminars, panels, as well as taking part in games, trips and guided tours with the shared intent of promoting democracy and social awareness across borders

Di Francesca Bisbano (translator Giulia Gelmini Hornsby)


Creating new bridges, establishing connections between volunteers and youth support workers, bringing different cultures together to create strong and lasting foundations for solidarity and mutual respect: these were the central themes of “Creating New Bridges”, the youth exchange that took place in Romania between September, 26 and October, 2, this year.
Furthermore, the meeting was aimed at encouraging transnational mobility over and beyond borders and empowering young people to express themselves, promoting active citizenship to give new generations a real chance for international cooperation and direct participation in their community life.

This very special event took place in the city of Baia Mare, the district capital of Maramureş in Transylvania, where 30 young volunteers and facilitators from Italy, Spain, Poland, the Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Romania and Bosnia Herzegovina came together to attend workshops, debates, seminars, panels, as well as taking part in games, trips and guided tours of the famous “Land of Dracula”. The event involved representatives from ten different national youth organisations with the shared intent of promoting democracy and social awareness across borders.

Nine different Countries were represented by the following organizations:

  • Italy: Human Rights Youth Organization, a non-profit organization inspired by Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Together Italy, a youth group aimed at involving young people in the Youth in Action programme;
  • Spain: Libertas International, a youth organisation aimed at promoting intercultural dialogue and the development of equal opportunities for all;
  • Israel: Spark, an NGO based on inter-religious dialogue among peoples in the Euro-Mediterranean zone;
  • Azerbaijan: Integration of Azerbaijan Youth to Europe Organization (AGAT / IAYTE), a private institute aimed at encouraging the development of connections between the science, culture, social and public sectors between Azerbaijan, Europe and other countries;
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina: the University Student Group for educational psychology at the University of Sarajevo;
  • The Republic of Moldova: Challenge for a New Generation, a group of professionals in the areas of human rights consultancy, facilitation and mediation
  • Turkey: Mugla Youth Center, an informal group aimed at supporting young people in turning their ideas into concrete projects;
  • Romania: project leader Yellow Shirt, an NGO aimed at supporting integration of young people into their community;
  • Poland: Happy Team, a scout group with a strong interest in exploring different cultures and connections.
These organisations were attracted to this event because it offered a great opportunity for them to liaise and start new collaborations.

Work, fun, engagement and commitment were at the heart of this event, where intercultural team building was facilitated by the hands-on nature of the activities involved, thus enabling everyone to realise their potential for problem solving and project planning. Moreover, this event showed how informal learning and shared experience can provide an important context where different cultures can thrive together.

So what are youth exchanges like “Creating New Bridges” and why are they so important? The reasons are manifold. This type of projects brings about a unique potential for cultural enrichment that can only be experienced in contexts that are different form our own.

A cultural exchange is more than just a holiday for young people: it represents a precious opportunity for exchange among people who share the same age, the same dream for cultural integration and the same call to become part of the history of tomorrow as European citizens. Finally, it is important to note that this sort of events plays an important role in facilitating the dissemination of knowledge about relevant EU projects. These projects could represent a concrete support to help young people build a super-national alternative to the local social, political and economic powers that all too often impose their restricted view over young people’s enthusiasm for a global democracy.


Argomenti:   #baia mare ,        #bridges ,        #jung ,        #romania ,        #rumania ,        #volunters

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