Logo_renovabis - transparentBetween the 2nd and 5th July 2017, MIJARC Europe ran the international youth peace camp “We are the others”, part of the annual work plan on the topic of peace. The peace camp took place in Portugal and it was co-financed by Renovabis.

DSCN7689Even though Europe is still one of the most peaceful and prosperous parts of the world, there are some regions on the continent that have become unstable and more insecure and where acts of extremism and an increased fear towards the so-perceived “others” – migrants, refugees or asylum seekers and any minority group – have resulted in lower levels of tolerance, respect of human rights and freedom. In rural areas, conflict often appears because of competition for land and natural resources. In addition to this, poverty, lack of employment and opportunities of a better future can nurture resentment and cause fertile social contexts for intolerance and extremism. Also, for young people living in rural areas conflicts often have devastating consequences making them even more vulnerable.

DSCN7757“We are the others” is a youth project that aims to prove everybody exactly what it says: that we all are responsible ourselves for all the situations we are part of. It sends the message that it is always in our power to generate change and play our positive role in our community, country, in Europe and around the world. The project aims to make the young people involved and those it reaches aware of the important and positive role they play in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security at all levels. Its objectives are to encourage tolerance, solidarity and intercultural dialogue exerted by young people as means of moving beyond the mistakes of the past and building the future, to help the rural young people participating in the project acquire intercultural competences in order to become more aware and active citizens for peace, countering radicalization and extremism, to promote a different narrative on the role of young people in conflict contexts depicting them as assets in peace building and peace maintaining and to create a tool for young people to spread their message of peace and social inclusion in their rural communities. It will do this by involving 30 young people from rural areas across Europe: Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Romania and migrants, refugees or asylum seekers located in Portugal. They all decided to join forces and invest in the development of their intercultural competences in order to be more prepared to work and live with vulnerable groups, to promote social inclusion in their communities and diffuse tensions that appear whenever we see those different from us as “the others”. Through the project, the young participants will create together a Position Paper and a travelling photo exhibition that will include portraits and stories of conflict and peace and photos that will suggest solutions for what young people can do today in order to build a safer and peaceful future.

DSCN7703The exhibition will be accompanied by an educational booklet, containing activities designed by the participants that can be done with the exhibition. This exhibition will travel to eleven different countries, to meet with 500 young people and it will also be displayed at a peace festival where it will be seen by more than 5,000 young people from all over Europe.

The first international activity of 2018 is approaching fast and the call for participants has been lanched. So, do YOU want to join our call for peace and bring your contribution to have peace for all? Don’t worry, it is not very complicated. Actually, it will be quite entertaining, funny and natural, because peace begins with each and every one of us and our attitudes.

“A call for peace for all” is planned to take place in Ribamar, Portugal, between the 1st (arrival day) and 5th of July 2018. Three participants interested in the topic of peace from each member movement* are invited to join the youth peace camp. In call below you will find some basic information concerning the organisation of this activity. Also you will find attached one promotion info graphic, which you can use to spread the word in your movements about the Youth Peace Camp.

Download the call: Call for participants _ Youth Peace Camp_A call for peace for all

Download the registration form: Registration form Youth Peace Camp_ A call for peace for all

Please, read this documents carefully, and, do not hesitate to contact us in case you need
any clarification or further information:
E-mail: office-europe@mijarc.info
Phone: 0032 (0) 485 36 84 74

The DEADLINE to apply is: 20th of May

*Not a member of any of the organizations in our network? Then send us an email and we will find a solution. 


As the second international activity of the work plan, the seminar built on the results of the study visit and the expertise of the people who attended the visit. Three of the participants who attended the study visit were part of the team who prepared the seminar and facilitated the work sessions.

 The aim of the seminar was to build participants’ resilience to radicalization leading to violent extremism by looking at what makes rural youth particularly vulnerable and by engaging them in a mix of reflection and action.

A group of 33 participants accepted the challenge of ”opening their minds in order to be able to open doors” and created a nice and joyful group who debated a very serious and profound topic: radicalization leading to violent extremism.

BounceThe programme of the seminar included activities that encouraged participants to share facts, stories and their personal opinions. Throughout the seminar the SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology was used. The SEE part included short presentations on the findings of the study visit, while in the JUDGE part, the participants analysed what fueled the process of radicalization, what were the new recruitment and communication techniques and where it was possible to intervene. Field visits and meeting with experts were also included. The ACT part focused on creating a common position on how to build the resilience of young people in rural areas.

Some of the highlights of the seminar are presented below.

World Café – defining the main concepts

Working in three groups, the participants concluded that radicalization can be positive or negative resulting in different outcomes. Radicalization is also being very ambitious and following your own ideas without any compromises. The official definition of the Council of Europe is focused on social and political aspects. Radicalization is according to the participants also not the opposite of open mindedness.

Workshop of hate speech and extremism

The conclusions was that for individuals it is easier to use hate speech online because they benefit from being anonymous.However, hate speech is used in the offline media all the time, mostly because people are not reacting to it anymore. The discussion also led to the idea that religion is not the cause of extremism but it is just a tool that, when finding the proper context, can lead to extremist behaviors. Finally, one interesting campaign which started in Germany was discussed. The campaign is called #hatehelps. It works like this: when you find a hate speech comment you can post this hashtag and an NGO will find it and write in the comments that they will donate 1 Euro to an NGO of their choice.

Panel discussion with experts – “Religion: a tool of love or a tool of hate?”

A panel discussion with two experts, Umut Cengil (Union of Young Alevis in Germany) and Simon Linder (Union of Young Catholic Youth Movements) took place. They discussed about Alevism, a religion born in Turkey, which deals with love, equality and believes that the human is something that is good. Umut explained that he knows of 5 cases of young people from their community to went to Syria to fight  and never returned. Simon drew attention on the fact that there are also many Christian-motivated crimes, not just Muslim-motivated crimes and that no religion in the world promotes hate or crime. The closing remarks showed that the most important thing is education and the second thing is to talk to each other. Education is important and without education it is easier for people to get into extremist ways.

Position Paper

„Living position paper” 

Position Paper

The participants used the method of a living position paper, collecting during the entire week ideas for the position paper which was finished at the end of the seminar and posted on the wall.Before working directly on the text of the position paper, a fishbowl discussion with 7 people took place to stress again which points were the most important ones. The draft version of the Position Paper can be read here. The Paper will be officially adopted next year.

This activity is part of MIJARC Europe’s annual work plan which is supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe. A unique foundation supporting activities developed with, for & by young people. The activity was also co-financed by KLJB-Germany.


seminar-infographic.jpegAs the first face-to-face activity included in our annual work plan, the international seminar represented its main phase. It took place between 25th and 30th July, in Macedonia and it gathered 30 participants, 13 boys and 17 girls from 10 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Macedonia, Turkey). The seminar made participants reflect on their personal, organisational and national realities about climate change, focusing on the effects that they can see in their countries, the measures that are taken in each country and what can be done at personal level. It placed the participants in a culturally diverse environment and asked them to reflect on how the topic is seen in their family and friends groups, in their organizations, by their authorities and by the citizens of their countries.


The seminar followed the traditional SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology of MIJARC (see more about this methodology here). The first day started with some introductory sessions covering the logistical issues, the agenda, MIJARC presentation and getting to know each other. Next, the two working groups were described:

Group 1 – changes in the ecosystemled by Veronika Nordhus

Group2 – social injustice and climate changes – led by Magdalena Rapeshovska

The participants were asked to choose their group. Then the programme continued with a short presentation of the online training course, the previous activity of our work plan. This was done through a competition between six teams that had to go through six different work stations, each station focusing on one unit of the training course. The afternoon was dedicated to exchanging realities about climate change. Group 1 explored this through a role-play game “Who’s most at risk”, in which participants received role cards and had to answer questions which made them reflect on their level of vulnerability. Group 2 played a game “Cross the river” in which they had to reflect on the inter-connections of the elements of an eco-system in order for the entire team to cross the river. The second session of the afternoon was a plenary session which started with the projection of the movie “5 ways to kill a man“. Next, the participants split in two groups and had a guided discussion about the movie focusing on several questions such as: What are the most interesting pictures in the film and what do they mean? Can you personally relate to what is happening in the movie?

The second day was dedicated to the SEE part. Group 1 played an interesting simulation game with three teams, involving country cards, continents and the task to carry a balloon full of water on that continent following special rules. After the simulation, the group analysed the different country cards and the challenge to raise the life standard and the wish to consume more without raising the ecological footprint. Group 2 started with the “Web of life” game, which reflected how everything is connected and how destroying one element results in the destruction of the entire web. Next they continued split in three teams who had to research and present to the others the causes of climate change: 1. Internal factors 2.External factors 3. Human factors.

Tpjimagehe third day was dedicated to field visits and meeting with an expert on migration and refugees. The field visit took the participants to the Ancient Megalithic Observatory of Kokino and it was led by a geography teachers from a high school in Kumanovo. The idea of the visit was to reflect on the influence of man on his living environment, the adaptations that he had made as well as the effects of the geological and climate factors to this site. In the afternoon, the participants met Aleksandra Davidovska, an activist who started working as a volunteer when the migration crisis in Macedonia began and ended up working for an international organisation on the topic of migration and refugees. Her input was intense and provided a great correlation with the lectures in the online TC that focused on climate change-caused migration.


The last day focused on the ACT part and the participants spent all day creating tools and putting their ideas into practice. They can up with many nice outputs which included:

  • Position Paper – which summarises the conclusions of the entire seminar and gives the guiding points of the approach that young people should have during the summer camp and their local campaigns
  • a video message – to encourage the participants at the summer camp to act for real changes
  • Clue Game – to have fun while discovering the main facts about climate change
  • a flash mob idea – to be done in every movement

How was it?

The post-seminar evaluation showed that most of the objectives were achieved: 90% of the participants said that they got the chance to exchange about the realities in their country concerning the sustainable practices to prevent climate change. More than 50% considered that they developed their creativity and critical thinking. 80% appreciated that they were able to create a common position of all the participants on the topics addressed by the seminar, identifying commitments and demands for the follow-up of the activity and more than 60% considered they developed practical tools and examples on how to help and raise awareness on the issue of climate change.

Who prepared everything?

wp_20160725_10_46_56_proThe Think Tank, of course! The Think Tank was the team who prepared the contents of the seminar and facilitated the sessions. There were all young volunteers who responded to a call of interest launched by MIJARC Europe in the network of its member movement. The Think Tank members were: Veronika Nordhus (Germany, member of the European Team), Jeroen Decorte (Belgium, member of the European Team), Magdalena Rapeshovska (Macedonia), David Vermeulen (Belgium), Bledi Cami (Turkey) and Daniela Ordowski (Germany). The Think Tank was supported by the Secretariat of MIJARC Europe, represented by Alexandra Solomon (Romanian, living in Belgium) and by Florina Potirniche (Romania).

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Thanks to the support of the Council of Europe through the European Youth Foundation and The Arkleton Trust Fellowship, MIJARC Europe organized a seminar from the 28th July to the 2nd August 2014 on the topic of sustainable agriculture.

This project is entitled: “Eating, Producing and Deciding: our choice and our voice for the future agriculture in Europe” and it took place in Marconne in the North of France.

Why this topic? 

Agriculture is historically one of the main topics within MIJARC. A few decades ago, in France’s, Germany’s, Belgium’s, Spain’s, and surely in many other countries’ rural areas, some priests have put their faith into action by going to meet the farmers, and especially the young ones, to “improve” their social condition. For many of them, the situation was the same as for many centuries backwards: hard work, small wage and poorness.

Nowadays, the agricultural landscape has totally changed. Not especially in the hard work and the small wage, but in the place it takes: the number of farmers exponentially decreased, merging lot of small farms into few big ones, and thus making it even more difficult – especially for young people – to take over a farm or settle as farmer.

Parallel to this, due to many factors, the work in itself changed: First, the use of chemicals along with the intensification and mechanisation of the cultures brought the consumers into the debate: what do I eat? Is it healthy, hazardous? Is it sustainably produced, environment-friendly speaking?

Besides this, the globalisation of the economy brought the concern to the policy-makers: how can we regulate this world-scaled marketing of food? In Europe, the choice has been done through the long process of creation of the European Union, investing public money into this vital sector (the so-called Common Agricultural Policy – CAP).

This topic is today’s reality of agriculture in Europe.

What was discussed during this seminar?

In this context, we spent the 4 days seminar among a diversity-full European youth group to:

1) observe this context: namely the place of the youth in farming, training facilities, consumption behaviour and taking into account young people’s mind in the process of policy making; (SEE)

2) judge it, through field visits and expertises; (JUDGE)

3) propose actions and remedies to what we will find out (ACT)

During the SEE part the participants worked in two groups:

Group 1: The production and consumption behaviours

Today’s agriculture is part of the global market and at the two endings of the branch, the producers and the consumers, impact on it a lot. By considering the behaviours of these 2 major actors, the group was trying to specify what is the agriculture model of tomorrow. This axe led to three subtopics:

– the production behaviour: what are the possibilities, constraints and challenges for the producer who is at the very start of the chain? How should the agriculture of tomorrow look like to feed the planet by ensuring a sustainable development?

– the consumption behaviour: which choices is the consumer faced with when buying? What are the solutions to deal with the problematic of local food in a global market? We will discuss about the influence of the consumers: by your decisions during the shopping you are able to change things. Also you will learn about new alternative ways of selling agricultural products. We will lastly speak about the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms of selling.

– the food sovereignty: how can a people be at the decision-making of its food-related issues? How should the agriculture of tomorrow be organised at the world level to ensure quality and quantity of food in a sustainable way?

Group 2: The place of Youth in Agriculture

In every sector, in every project, young ideas and new power are essential to avoid conducting to death. But in agriculture, the place of youth doesn’t always go without saying! The group focused on the access to farming for young people, tackling 3 subtopics:

– the image of agriculture among young people (the “psychological barrier” to farming) : especially in the growing Eastern Europe, but also in the rest of the continent, youth are often relating agriculture to dark rurality and absence of horizons in life. But may know that it is something else in fact! How can we change this?

– the access to land for young people (the “financial and social barrier” to farming) : the property of land has become a big challenge, and youth especially suffer from this reality. Because they come from a non-farming family, or because they are at the beginning of their life and do not have enough financial resources to purchase land. Moreover, the farming model of big farms leads to more and more concentration of land and hardly allows someone to start a new farm. Even if this is to ponder for each region, the question is : is it possible to settle as a young farmer today, and if yes what are the factors that lead to a successful settling?

– the training facilities for young people (the “educational barrier” to farming) : lack of facilities for training may also be a obstacle for young people to settle as a farmer. Moreover, the training content is maybe not diversified enough to allow every kind of farming model to develop. How is the situation and how can we move on?

Coordinating Team of the Seminar:

Think Tank (group of volunteers who engaged in research about the topics and facilitation of the working groups):

Severin Kessler (Germany), Marina Grigorova (Bulgaria) , François Bausson (France), Jeroen Decorte (Belgium), Jan Vanwijnsberghe(Belgium), Olivier Dugrain (France).

Publications and outcomes

The Think Tank members and the Secretariat of MIJARC Europe were also responsible for the creation of a complete Report of the seminar, featuring the description of the activities, links to videos, games and presentations and illustrated with photos from the event.

You can find the videos on MIJARC Europe You Tube channel:

News              Access to Land

Each day the participants were asked to describe the activities and share their feelings about them. The MIJARC Europe Secretariat has collected the opinions in the Report written by the participants.

By the end of the seminar the participants have created a Newspaper with press releases on the topics discussed during the seminar.

Daily posts were published on MIJARC Europe Facebook Page.

The participants were encouraged to publish articles in their local/regional/national media. We will post hereby the links as soon as they’ll be available.