YOUTH CONSULTATION ON HEALING AND RECONCILIATION
From the 3 to the 4 of May 2010 the GNRC Europe organized a consultation with 10 youth participants in the European Consultation on “Healing of Memories,” organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Foundation for Reconciliation in South-East Europe (RESS), in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The participants came from Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Serbia and Sweden and represented the Christian, Muslim and Indigenous religious communities. This meeting gave them the opportunity to examine the issues of identity, healing, values for peaceful living and others, from their own experiences and perspectives. The workshop included information about the GNRC, the Learning to Live Together Manual and the Healing of Memories process.
At the end of the meeting they prepared a report that they shared with the other participants in the Consultation on Healing and Reconciliation who came from 20 European countries. In part of the report the young participants said:
…”Due to the economic crisis, accelerated globalization, xenophobia and the lack of opportunities in some European countries, many young people are experiencing growing indifference, fears and a sense of insecurity. In many situations, they do not see many chances for building peaceful and meaningful lives. During conflicts young people are often the first to become involved even if they have had no say in the process that lead to the conflict. Post-conflict, they are the individuals that carry the greatest burden of the frustrations and destruction generated by such conflicts. In some instances, this causes young people to not be interested in inherited concepts of religion and interfaith dialogue. Thus, the "story" of the reconciliation process is closed.
Conversely, when young people are given the opportunity to participate in peace-building and reconciliation processes they can contribute substantially because of their willingness to listen and openness regarding various perspectives that are present in multicultural and inter-religious contexts. Young people tend to be idealistic and represent the hopes and dreams of a community or a society…”
They also discussed ways of collaboration around the issues of peace and reconciliation. Practical recommendations to the GNRC and the other organizations included a local youth workshop in Sarajevo and a European youth meeting in 2011. Mrs. Marta Palma, GNRC Coordinator for Europe, has participated in other meetings of the Network on Healing and Reconciliation initiated by the WCC and the RESS. There are some positive initiatives of collaboration between the three organizations with a specific focus on children and young people.