The online Youth Peace Week successfully took place from 30 June to 7 July 2020 to support young people and youth organisations active in conflict transformation and peacebuilding by sharing educational resources, capacity-building and networking possibilities to enhance young people’s role in peace and security processes. This online educational programme was offered as an alternative to the 2020 edition of the Youth Peace Camp that was postponed to 2021 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease.
More than 60 participants from several Council of Europe member states and beyond followed the programme of the week that offered a combination of webinars and interactive workshops with around twenty experts and trainers – all of them with a great experience in peacebuilding, youth policy, human rights and conflict transformation and other relevant topics. The programme was complemented by six e-learning modules where participants had the opportunity to learn more about the Council of Europe and human rights, as well as to get an introduction to the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security.
Among many others, Matjaz Gruden, Director of Democratic Participation, Council of Europe addressed the group. In the official opening the programme the director emphasized the importance of having strong democracies as prerequisites to peaceful and inclusive societies. He recalled the importance of active youth participation, pointed out the co-management of the Youth Department as a good example and called the attention of participants to relevant reports of the Secretary General on the state of democracy in the member states of the Council of Europe.
The activity also contributed to enlarging and strengthening the network of young peacebuilders in Europe and empower them to make joint efforts as multipliers on local and international level for building more peaceful societies and for contributing to the creation of an universal culture of human rights.
The Youth Peace Week took place in frame of the programme of the Greek Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
Similarly to the residential Youth Peace Camps, the programme of the Youth Peace Week emphasised interpersonal dialogue and cooperation based on human rights education and conflict transformation. Adapted to an online environment, the methodology and activities presented in Council of Europe publications such as the COMPASS: Manual for human rights education with young people and the Training Kit (T-Kit) 13 Youth Transforming Conflict were used in interactive video workshops.
The programme also included space to reflect on emerging issues in relation to human rights, such as health and sustainability and their intersection with peace and conflict. According to participants, learning about non-violent communication, sharing about and listening to each other’s stories about own personal experiences and inputs by experts were among the highlights of the week.
The programme took place in the following formats:
Webinars: Online presentations and discussion with experts with possibility for asking questions through a facilitated chat room.
Online workshops: Interactive workshops for a limited number of participants for developing skills and spaces to discuss and share about different experiences, realities and ideas related to peace and conflict.
E-learning activities: Moodle based online exercises and tasks that can be accomplished by learners individually or occasionally in cooperation with other participants throughout the whole week.
Open event/online action: Informal events offered for participants during and collaborative online actions after the Youth Peace Week.
Registration and how
Participants will be required to apply for the programme of the overall week and will be able to decide which specific activities to join or skip.
Some activities will be only available for a limited number of participants (online workshops) and will require registration, while others (webinars, open events and online actions) are open to all.
E-learning activities can be accessed online anytime and completed by the given deadlines.
Aim and objectives
The Youth Peace Week supports young people and youth organisations active in conflict transformation and peacebuilding by sharing educational resources, capacity-building networking possibilities to enhance young people’s role in peace and security processes.
The main objectives of the Youth Peace Week are:
- To support awareness and learning for conflict transformation, peacebuilding and dialogue;
- To facilitate the online usage and adaptation of educational resources of the Council of Europe such as COMPASS and the T-Kit on Conflict Transformation;
- To share experiences, projects and challenges among Youth Peace Camps alumni and other youth peace activists in coping with conflict and violence as multipliers and peer leaders with young people on regional/local level;
- To associate young people and youth organisations to the Council of Europe’s work for peaceful and inclusive societies, through its Youth for Democracy programme. To stimulate networking and mutual support among young people and youth organisations involved in peacebuilding activities.
The Youth Peace Week will be primarily open for young people, youth leaders and activists interested by peace-building and conflict transformation. Young people from conflict-stricken communities, such as former participants and candidates of future Youth Peace Camps (including those who expressed interest on participating the Youth Peace Camp 2020 (cancelled due to the COVID crisis) are especially encouraged to join the event.