7 November 2023 - 14.30-16.30  / Room 8 Palais de l'Europe

Interpretation FR/EN

Sponsored by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The good neighbour looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers”.

Many conflicts emerge when people forget this simple truth. Fear from the one which is less known, coupled with the lack of interest to get to know better those who live next to us, often fuels prejudice and conflicts. What is the best way to create trustful relationships between different groups? Can we make respectful and constructive dialogue a norm among the people with different backgrounds? Can traumas of the past be overcome through human creativity?

Lab 7: Cross-cultural understanding

Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

Palais de l'Europe, Room 8 7 November 2023 (14.30-16.30)
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Interview with Prakash BHATTARAI, Executive Director, CSC, ‘Sadbhaav’ project, Nepal

initiative 1

‘Sadbhaav’ project - Centre for Social Change (CSC)


The organization works in addressing the various aspects of the changing socio-political dynamics of Nepal through active involvement of youth, women, Civil Society Organizations and civic groups representing all segments of the society. The initiative is named “Creating a congruent space among youth and students for trust building and social cohesion in Nepal”, in local language “Sadbhaav” project, which means harmony. The project started with the main aim of creating social cohesion and trustful relationships among youth groups from diverse religious, cultural, ethnic, geographical and political backgrounds. To achieve this objective, the existing societal conflicts were first identified, in order to develop meaningful artistic creations, interactive workshops and dialogue initiatives valuing art as the core component. The core of the initiative is that ‘art’ was used as a tool to address the major conflicts and to initiate conversations around them through ‘art-based dialogue.’ All the art-based dialogue workshops demonstrated that art products provide a platform to envision a common understanding of social issues.




Executive Director, CSC, ‘Sadbhaav’ project


Prakash Bhattarai is currently acting as Executive Director of Centre for Social Change (CSC), a non-profit research and advocacy institute in Nepal working on issues around peacebuilding, governance, migration, climate change, and civic engagement. Prakash holds a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He also holds master’s degrees in Population Studies (Tribhuvan University, Nepal) and in International Peace Studies (University of Notre Dame, USA). He is also a 2018 Asia Global Fellow at Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong. Prakash has more than 20 years of professional and leadership experience with his associations in a number of national and international organizations as well as the UN agencies.

initiative 2

The People Dialogue Festival (PDF) - The Centre for Multiparty Democracy Kenya (CMD-Kenya)


The Centre for Multiparty Democracy Kenya (CMD Kenya) is a political party’s membership-based organization that exists to promote, strengthen, and defend multiparty democracy in Kenya. PDF is a multi-actor civic engagement forum that leverages on the power of Artivism to bring Kenyans together to dialogue on national issues. It provides a platform for participants to jointly understand and manage the tensions and paradoxes by breaking down the power imbalances. In a country where interparty strife and polarized relations between political factions have served to block development, dialogue has the untapped potential to foster peace, stability, and sustainable growth. PDF ensures that this dialogue goes beyond Kenya’s political elite and accommodates gender equality.



Tracey OSOGO

Coordinator of The People Dialogue Festival (PDF)

Tracey Osogo is a public policy analyst who specializes on civic engagement, international policy, and public administration. She completed her bachelor’s degree in international relations, security studies, peace & conflict transformation at Daystar University and her master’s degree in public policy and administration – international policy and management at Colorado State University. The 2020 SAS Tutu Ubuntu Scholar has actively engaged in work around governance, the institutionalization of democracy, intra and interparty dialogue, political party strengthening, inclusion of special interest groups and youth development. At the Centre for Multiparty Democracy Kenya, she leads in planning and coordinating the People Dialogue Festival. 

initiative 3

Better side of Srebrenica - House of good tones Srebrenica


The organisation implements projects aimed at supporting the processes of reconciliation and the creation of better social environment for children and youth in Srebrenica. The main objective of the project is to enhance the development of sustainable peace in B&H and affirm intercultural values at the level of the local community and society through educational, cultural and activist activities for children and young people. The activities help children and young people develop social and individual identities, teaching how to be a part of a group and function individually.




Director of the House of good tones organization

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ismar Poric (35) is the Director of the House of good tones organization and an social entrepreneur/teaching artist/professional musician from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with more than 13 years of experience in developing and implementing social, art and cultural projects in the Western Balkans. Dedicated to Community development to empower individuals and groups of people with the skills and knowledge to create changes within their communities.


Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.


Cemal BAŞ

Spokesperson on Environment and Climate Change of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe


Cemal Baş graduated from the Department of Financial Management at La Trobe University in Australia. He worked as a Financial Researcher at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Securities Industry Research Center of Asia Pacific (SIRCA). After the 2008 global financial crisis, he prepared the "Islamic Financial Instruments and Securities Analysis" report for the Australian Ministry of Finance. He continued his doctoral studies on "Spatial Economy in Future Cities" at Ankara University. He started working in the Union of Municipalities of Türkiye in 2011. In 2014, he was appointed as the Secretary of the Turkish Delegation to Council of Europe Congress. In 2017, he was elected as a member of the Financial Committee of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Organization. In 2018, he was the lead-author of the Middle East and West Asia section of the 5th series of the UCLG-GOLD report which is the world's most comprehensive local government report. He was elected as the Councillor of Keçiören Municipality in the 2019 local elections. Currently, he is the Vice President of the Turkish National Delegation of the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities; Congress Thematic Spokesperson on Environment and Climate Change; Political Committee Member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR); member of the European Young Local Politicians Commission of the CEMR; Local Finance Policy Councillor at the UCLG and a member of the Working Group on Türkiye of the European Committee of Regions.

VUKSA 2023


Congress youth delegate

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Željko Vukša-Fejzić is a youth delegate to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who was born in post-war Sarajevo. He is a youth rights advocate with a background in law, as well as in policy development and politics. During his studies, he served in The European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) as the Vice President of the Sarajevo office, and as the Secretary General at the national level. Additionally, he served as the Chair of the Youth Council of the Centre municipality (Sarajevo), as speaker of the Youth council of Canton of Sarajevo and as Delegate to the Youth council of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Currently, he is President of the SDA Youth association and of the Ideological and Internal Affairs Commissions of the Youth of the European People’s Party (YEPP). He is engaged in international organisations such as the Advisory Board of Generation Democracy of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the G9 initiative of the the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Recently, he was appointed to the appeals commission of the City of Sarajevo and to the Youth Commission of the House of Representatives in the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.



Deputy Spokesperson on Youth of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg, in charge of international and European relations


Véronique Bertholle is originally from Dijon. She studied at the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies from 1997 to 2001. From 2001 to 2002, she spent a year living and working in Berlin, as part of an exchange program between the French National Assembly and the Bundestag, as a parliamentary assistant to Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who sat on the Human Rights and European Affairs Commissions. From 2003 to the end of 2021, she worked for several European associations and NGOs (creation and management of European projects, network coordination, representation and relations with institutional and financial partners, etc.). In December 2021, she was elected to the Strasbourg City Council. Within the municipal team, she is Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg in charge of cross-border, European and international relations and European institutions. Her political group is "Strasbourg écologiste et citoyenne", which is the majority group. Véronique Bertholle is also a member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and, since 2022, has been the Deputy Thematic Spokesperson for Youth, appointed by the Bureau of the Congress.


Charlotte BINGHAM