The Democracy in Practice (DiP) Team composed of Andrea, Danae, Elena, Eleonora, Evrim, Johanna, Lia, May, Noemi, Sora, and Zeynep, is part of an AEGEE-Europe Project that has one of AEGEE’s experienced Project Managers, and candidate for the Comité Directeur at the Spring Agora Bergamo, Lia Tuska from AEGEE-Kastoria. In this article, the founder of the aforementioned Greek antenna tells us something about her campaign against terrorism ‘Make Room for Peace’.
‘Democracy in Practice’ is an AEGEE-Europe Project that aims to raise awareness among young people about the importance of human rights as the basis of a healthy democracy. They do this by promoting social and political participation of young people in their local, national, and European environment.
The project includes three types of activities: workshops, thematic events and full DiP events. The members hold workshops at different kinds of events like Network Meetings (NWMs), pre-events, Agorae and European Planning Meetings (EPMs). They also promote the idea of celebrating international days such as the Human Rights Day and Democracy Day. That is why they created the Guidelines for Human Rights and Democracy Activities. “Many locals want to organise European events. They can take care of the logistics and we can take care of the content”, says Lia. For example, currently, DiP is collaborating with AEGEE-Eskişehir and AEGEE-Patra on Summer Universities. In addition to those abovementioned activities, DiP members have their own events which aim at informing the participants about human rights, explaining to them the link between democracy and human rights and making them more aware of the importance of democracy. Last but not least, they encourage them to be active citizens.
“The Project is going to close at the Spring Agora Bergamo and reopen for a new cycle with new people, so if you are passionate about active citizenship, democracy or human rights, don’t hesitate to contact us” , adds Lia. The founder of AEGEE-Kastoria focuses on why the campaign ‘Make Room for Peace’ has been launched. In fact, after the terrorist attacks that took place in the last six months, the members of DiP were deeply saddened just as many other members of our Network. Therefore, they thought that they should do something in order to take action against terrorism by launching a campaign, and thus they created the campaign called ‘Make Room for Peace’. With this campaign, they are calling on young people, AEGEEans, who strive for mutual understanding and terror-free societies. “Our weapons are the words, actions, mind and love. We do not need arms, our arms are for hugging the world!”, says Lia. Every AEGEE member can become an ambassador. The tasks of an ambassador are: to promote the activities of the campaign, to answer the questions from locals and other members regarding the campaign, to follow the activities of the campaign and to communicate with the Project team in case of questions. Also, all members are more than welcome to share their ideas to improve the campaign by adding more activities. The peace ambassadors are also expected to help them collect the materials, like photos and summaries of what locals did regarding the campaign, at the end of the campaign.
Then, a video will be created two weeks before the Agora in order to be first presented on Saturday, 21st of May, on the International Anti-terrorism Day. But until now, there are not many locals that have taken part in the campaign: only some members of our Project, AEGEE-Brescia, AEGEE-Eskişehir, the participants of ‘European Problems, Humanitarian Solutions’, and the participants of the Local Training Course (LTC) organised by AEGEE-Budapest and AEGEE-Debrecen have participated in the campaign so far.
As part of the campaign, DiP members prepared a set of workshops that have been and will be held at four events. They have already had the chance to provide workshops at the ‘European Problems, Humanitarian Solutions’ event organised by AEGEE-Athina and at the LTC organised by AEGEE-Budapest and AEGEE-Debrecen. In Athens, the participants were introduced to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a game of charades, then they learned how people’s lives are influenced by the refugee crisis. In addition, a discussion on how those aspects are all linked to the rise of terrorism in the last few months took place. At the LTC, the participants received an introductory session on how European bodies work and then they had a role-play activity which aimed at raising awareness about the inequality of opportunities, developing their imagination and critical thinking and fostering empathy with less fortunate people. This activity closed with a discussion on how the participants felt about the roles they got. DiP members are going to have a workshop at the ‘Borderless Europe: Blessing or Burden?’ event organised by AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca and Your Vision for EUrope. The last of the workshops will be held at the Spring Agora Bergamo 2016 and it will be carried out in collaboration between DiP and Your Vision for EUrope Project. There is going to be an article about the results of the whole campaign where we will explain everything.
At EPM Leiden, DiP held the workshop ‘The stories they confess’, where participants were introduced to stories of people influenced by the refugee crisis. Every AEGEE member can check some videos of their workshop on their Facebook page. DiP was also present at the EPM Fair where it promoted the Summer Universities, context in which DiP members collaborated along with AEGEE-Eskişehir and AEGEE-Patra. Lia’s group also introduced its ‘Fact Cards’ to the people who attended the Fair. These cards had information about the Refugee Crisis and Human Rights on them.
Written by Matteo Lai, AEGEE-Cagliari