Seminars on youth and conflicts 

Statement by the participants of the Youth and Conflict Resolution conference (Europa Park, 1-7 July)

We would like to express our gratitude to the Council of Europe and Europa Park for making possible for us to have this extraordinary experience which we will remember for a long time. We were able to use the rides and all the other facilities of the great Europa Park, but more important we were able to spent time with interesting people and deal with an important topic.

As you already know we come from four different ethnic communities that are locked in two difficult conflicts, Israeli Jews and Israeli Palestinians, as well as Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians. Over the past few days we have shared our opinions and views on our problems and discussed possible ways for progress based on common interests.

We tried to explain to each other the situations we live in. Participants opened up and told their stories of the conflict. At the beginning we were divided on ethnic lines, but with time people began to develop sympathies and understanding for each other.

We learned more on the feelings of the other side in the conflict and in other conflicts and it got very interesting for us to see how other teenagers deal with the conflict in their country.

We have conflicting opinions on many issues regarding our everyday life in our countries, but we began to learn how to create friendship despite the differences. We found friends here. That made us debate with more thoughtfulness and tolerance, instead of talking like enemies.

Sharing tents in the lovely Tipidorf brought us closer together. We had fun, we joked, and we discussed things other than our conflicts.

We had a really good experience, but we just began the process and only at the end moved to more in depth discussions on the conflicts. It is not enough that people now return home and only remember the event here. We should maintain the contacts between the participants and discuss further our mutual problems. We need follow-up activities so we could continue efforts to at least ease our conflicts and let other people know that cooperation is possible.

We would prefer to be able to come here again. We had a lot of fun and that made easier for us to go through this experience.