The fourth edition of the UNAOC Summer School on “Building Peace in the Mediterranean” will be taking place in La Valetta, Malta, from September 3-7 2012.
The aim of the Summer School is to bring together around 30 young people (from 18 to 30 years old) from various geographical horizons with a special emphasis on the Euro- Mediterranean region, with different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, academic and professional profiles, and with a strong interest in facilitating dialogue, mediation and conflict resolution issues.
During a week-long course participants will acquire knowledge and tools to strengthen their ability to communicate across difference, interact with the “other” and look at diversity as an asset for cross-fertilization and inter-cultural exchange from which mutual trust, better understanding and an innovative mindset can emerge and proliferate. Participants will compare their approaches to youth work, youth participation and youth role in using dialogue as a process for transforming relationships, in mediation and in conflict resolution practices.
Moreover, this course will be a unique moment of a practical follow up and implementation of some of the outcomes of the Global Forums of the Alliance held in 2008 (Madrid), 2009 (Istanbul), 2010 (Rio de Janeiro) and 2011 (Doha).
The first UNAOC Summer School, which took place on the campus of the University of Aveiro, Portugal, from August 15 to 21, 2010 concluded with the utmost success and impact on its 110 young participants from 44 countries around the world.
Under the theme “Bridging Hearts, Opening Minds and Doing Things Together”, the aim of this UNAOC Summer School was to bring together young people to enhance their knowledge and reinforce their ability to communicate across difference, interact with the “other”, and look at diversity as an asset for cross-fertilization. This course was a week-long program using a variety of educational approaches such as methodological and political inputs, small group discussions, peer-led workshops, visits to religious sites, etc. Themes such as multiple identities, globalization, the role of media in breaking or reinforcing stereotypes, human rights and diplomacy, etc. were explored thanks to the contribution of several regional and international experts who came to Aveiro to share their thoughts and have dynamic discussions with young participants.
The course also allowed strategic networking and search for partners as young participants are expected to implement joint projects and initiatives advancing the objectives of the UNAOC. One of the tools at the disposal of young participants to implement these projects is Dialogue Café, a global network of public spaces where people can come together via video conference, to share information and ideas, learn about new projects and collaborate on new ways of addressing social problems.
Quote: Anam Gill- Pakistan: I had a question, a clear question about whose responsibility it is this to ease the world of its worries. After attending the UNAOC summer school which gave me a chance to meet so many inspirational individuals doing remarkable work in their contexts, I am an answer. It is the young people like us who can take an initiative and fulfill their part of this responsibility. The UNAOC summer school gave me a clear insight of the world’s diversity … which is beautiful. It not only broadened my horizon but also added greatly to my personal and professional development. It was amazing to see how the world is connected albeit the differences we have.