On July 21, two youth URI Europe CCs met in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina for a team-building training exercise as part of Coexister CC’s third Interfaith Tour. Together, Coexister CC from France and Youth for Peace CC from Sarajevo exchanged ideas, found inspiration in each other’s work, and planned future collaboration.
Coexister is a neutral and undenominational French youth movement that has been advocating Active Coexistence through peer education aimed at 15-35-year-olds since 2009. Young people from all faith and belief backgrounds are members of this organization, and youth are both the fuel and the engine of the movement, providing opportunities for those who want to act now to create change and understanding in their communities.
Seeking to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding, this organization draws motivation from the transnational implications and global perspectives surrounding the vision for religious coexistence. It seemed to them that limiting their activity to France would be insufficient, given that they hoped to achieve a sustainable local impact by learning to think on an international scale. The annual Interfaith Tour was developed from this desire to link the local to the global through youth exchanges to strengthen old bonds and establish new alliances.
Youth for Peace was founded by and is run by young people. They have gained their experience through years of working with youth in the NGO sector. YfP members come from different ethnic and religious groups, which were often in conflict in recent Bosnian history. They draw their strength from the desire for sustainable coexistence in the same country, organizing a numbers of different activities for young people and sharing their own experience of dialogue and interfaith collaboration.
The work of YfP is based on sharing experiences to heal divisions of faith, culture, and history by providing a positive example of coexistence and spreading the spirit of unity among youth. The organization’s main mission is to gather young people and empowering them to educate the wider community and encourage activism. From past experience, it is obvious that young people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have the opportunity to meet, socialize, talk, learn from each other, share life experiences and problems, or engage in any joint activities.
Youth for Peace’s activities for youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina are aimed at mapping the similarities and differences, while finding values that are common for all of them through dialogue and conversations. Young people are taught how to communicate while respecting others and their needs; quite often different perspectives can help in understanding each other. The workshops are interactive, moderated by the Youth for Peace trainers, all of whom are well trained themselves and have years of experience working with young people.
To learn more about Coexister, Youth for Peace, and their initiatives please visit the links below: