22.06.2011 - UNESCO Venice Office

Struga hosts the 2011 edition of the National Youth Conference on Shared Visions

©UNESCO/Z. NaskovaYouth conference

The Community Development Institute (CDI) in Tetovo, in collaboration with UNESCO Venice Office, is holding its second annual youth conference “Shared Visions 2011” from 28-30 June 2011 at Hotel Biser in the town of Struga. The National Youth Conference seeks to empower youths by debating the opportunities and challenges of living in a multicultural environment, promoting the peaceful coexistence of communities, and enhancing the capabilities of young leaders to communicate and realize shared visions. The Conference will gather around fifty young people, aged 18-24, from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The organizers particularly wish to sensitize young participants to the richness of ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity in the country, a diversity that is both legitimate and valuable. Through panel discussions and work groups, participants will have the opportunity to explore their own role in advancing interethnic and interreligious relations.

The conference will place particular emphasis on new media and social networks as tools for promoting tolerance and understanding. As underlying ethnic tension remains a problem in some national media, the young participants will receive a training to identify signs of bias and discrimination. Participants will then be invited to share their own experience of tolerance and intolerance in digital media, such as online forums and social networks, and to reflect on opportunities to harness the latter for open dialogue. As recent developments in the Arab world have shown, social media can give a voice to young citizens whose opinions often fail to impact on established socio-political structures.

This year’s programme builds on the first National Youth Conference held in Skopje in 2010. The location of Struga on the shores of Lake Ohrid has been chosen to provide young people with an engaging environment to collaborate, get to know each other, and make lasting contacts. UNESCO is pleased to support “Shared Visions 2011” under the umbrella of the UN Joint Programme “Enhancing Inter-Ethnic Community Dialogue and Collaboration”.

The MDG-F Joint Programme on “Enhancing Inter-Ethnic Community Dialogue and Collaboration” in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a three-year programme financed by the Spanish Fund for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG-F). It is jointly implemented by the three UN agencies UNDP, UNESCO, and UNICEF.

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