News from Europe URI

29 June 2018, 12:29 PM

URI Europe Cooperation Circles build understanding, friendship and joint actions every day. In a world, where extremist views - right-wing populists or terrorist - get lots of attention, they show that people can connect as human beings, build bonds of friendship, create joint positive actions and work for the common good together.

While hate-speech or violence seem to be strong, in reality they are only weak.

Because good will, creating positive bonds – heart-to-heart, mind-to-mind - is the real strength.

Our kindness, engagement, courage to connect and positive action is what brings real progress and well-being to humanity.



What the URI EuropeTeam Has Done to Support Team - March/April 2018

·         URIE Assembly in Damme/Belgium, March 22.-25, 2018; 45 participants from across Europe and USA came to the beautiful Silence Farm Metanoia, itself a URI CC, established by long-term URIE chair, Patrick Hanjoul; exchange on interfaith action and intergenerational cooperation; individual action planning; meeting of topical groups; outing to local place of worship and dialogue – Orthodox church in Bruges; putting together training needs and offers; it was great having Alice Swett from USA with us.

·         URIE Regional Support Team meeting face-to-face in Damme/Belgium, on March 25/26, 2018.

·         Follow up ZOOM call to Damme Assembly on 23. April 2018. Various materials, action plans and resources sent to all participants and all European CCs after the Assembly.

·         DMLB CCs’ 30. Christian-Islamic Conference in Nordwalde, 3 days (27.-30.4.2018), 45 participants of all ages, own children’s programme; Sheikh BASHIR, Karimah, Chadigah on planning team; members of 4 German CCs attended; very positive feedback; URIE chair Dr. Duncan Wielzen joining for the whole time; Duncan delivered a workshop on interfaith dialogue and URI which was very well received;.

·         URIE represented at Reception of the German Bishop’s Conference for the Dialogue partners in Christian-Islamic Dialogue on April 13 in Frankfurt. Many high-level leaders of Muslim organizations, Catholic dioceses and other interfaith players present. It was moving that DMLB and URID with Karimah were the very first to be greeted by the Bishop of Limburg in his welcome speech. Sheikh BASHIR was acknowledged by the Bishop as one of the pioneers of interfaith dialogue in Germany. Marianne was likewise part of the event.

·         Easter brunch for Muslim and interfaith friends organized by Marianne with Intercultural Circle Bonn CC at her beautiful home on April 1, 2018, Easter Sunday.

·         Round table with the Bulgarian president Petar Stoyanov in association with the American University in Bulgaria dedicated to the 75th Anniversary from the rescue of the Jewish community during WWII ; April 10 - URI E Global Trustee Petar Gramatikoff -;

·         National Round table, organized by Plovdiv University and Regional Historical Museum dedicated to the 75th Anniversary from the rescue of the Jewish community during WWII; April 20, 2018, with URI E Global Trustee Petar Gramatikoff .

·         Student Aid Drop CC football tournament- raised 1400 BG leva for the refugee camp near Sofia on April 22, 2018.

·         BRIDGES CC - meeting with a Deputy Chief Mufti in Sofia on April 24, 2018- starting a collaboration between National Religious Council and Bridges - partnering for a Night of Religions.

·         In March and April preparations progressed well for the URI E - Arigatou pilot project “Bridge-Inter-Cultures” - Interfaith children camp in July 2018 - for the part in Bulgaria – Angelina working with Father Petar; for the part in the Hague - working together with Duncan and Lejla;

·         April - new application for a CC arrived from Italy / Tomasso – Joint Italy – Angelina working with Lejla;


And here are more CC activities from Europe :

·         From March 1st to March 4th BLGU Forum 2018 "Balkan Drivers of Change" was held in Belgrade, Serbia. The forum was organized by Balkans Let's Get Up, Youth for Peace partner organization from Serbia. YfP member Emina Frljak was representing Youth for Peace on this forum and within this event she held a workshop about stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination for the Forum participants, who are coming from Western Balkans countries, Germany and Russia.

·         From 12th to 14th of March, a second training for partner organizations within a project "Youth united" was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This time, the participants discussed about topics such as non-violent communication and overcoming prejudices and stereotypes. Zorana Marjanović participated to the training, on behalf of Youth for Peace.

·         20.03. -  Within their school trip through Bosnia and Herzegovina, high school students from Treviso, Italy, together with their teachers visited Sarajevo as well. With Youth for Peace members they visited religious sites, got to know about religious traditions that exist in BiH and learnt something about our rich history and centuries long coexistence.

·         21.03. - One day later YfP had another visit from Italy. This time high school students and their professors from Trento visited us and Sarajevo. With Youth for Peace team they visited Askenazi Synagogue, Bey's Mosque, Old Orthodox Church and Cathedral of Jesus Sacred Heart. After the religious sites visit, workshop "Stereotypes and Prejudices" was held in hotel Saraj.

·         The training within a project entitled "Supporting Employability through Self Development", is organized from the 21st to 28th of March in Prizren (Kosovo). The training is organized by THY, our partner organization in this project, with the support of European Comission, as a part of Erasmus + programme. YfP members Diana Cossi, Dajana Dejanović and Antonela Opačak were participating on this event, along with 30 other participants from 9 countries from EU and Western Balkans. The aim of this tranining is to improve the knowledge and the skills of youth workers, so that they can implement it while helping youth with their personal development, especially in the field of employability. 

·         31.03. -  YfP members Dajana Dejanović and Emina Frljak participated on a training organized by Ekumenska Inicijativa Žena - Ecumenical Women's Initiative (EIŽ) in hotel Saraj, Sarajevo. The training was dedicated to evaluation technique "Most Significant Change (MSC)", that is focused on qualitative evaluation of project activities. Currently Youth for Peace is implementing project "Building Peace is my Responsibility", funded by EIŽ.

·         5th of April - Celebrating The Golden Rule Day

·         6th of April -  YfP had a visit of group from Genoa (Italy). Within their trip through Bosnia and Herzegovina, the group visited Sarajevo, and together with Youth for Peace team they paid a visit to religious sites in our capital and learned about religious traditions that are present in BiH, as well as about the rich history of living together.

·         14.04.2018. - Friendships among Culture in Turkey CC attend fundraising lunch for Syrian refugees that are currently in Anatyla /Turkey. We gave our contribution and raised about 250 Euros for Syrian families. 

·         28.04.2018. -  In collaboration with the American Councils, Youth for Peace has organized a one day seminar dedicated to the topic "Stereotypes and prejudices", for high school students from Busovača, Jajce, Žepče, Stolac and Travnik. Our hard working educators have discussed with participants about identity, stereotypes, prejudices, about how it is to be "the other" and "the different one". The students have also suggested their ideas and plans about how should their school look like in the future, taking in consideration the fact that their schools are part of the system "Two schools under one roof".    

Cooperation Circles Involved


"Our purpose is to promote religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence between people of different religious traditions."

Friendship Among Cultures in Turkey

"Our purpose: to promote understanding among cultural traditions in Turkey; to enable dialogue and cooperation among faith and cultural groups in Turkey; to combat prejudices and discrimination towards the cultural "others" in Turkey; to be a local messenger and arm to the URI in the country and encourage the creation of Cooperation Circles (CCs) in Turkey; and to reach out to foreigners living in Turkey and engage them in activities about intercultural dialogue in the country."