The main aim of the project “1000 stories for intercultural dialogue” was to deepen the understanding of Mediterranean region and its culture, to find out more about situation of refugees and asylum seekers. The various events took place all over Latvia from 27th of March till 8th of April by organizing more than 30 educational events, discussions and creative workshops.
As indicate Vladislava Skele the coordinator of Anna Lindh foundation Latvian network “The biggest challenge for Latvia is not the refugees or asylum seekers, which is however a small percentedge of Latvian population, but the ability of society to be brave and accepting. The people who work with youth play a great role in this situation. Teachers and youth workers should encourage the conversation on these topics to increase their knowledge and foster comprehension about cultural diversity.”
Closing event of project took place on 8th of April in Riga. The part of it was high level panel discussion “Youth - agents of change for Refugees”. Participants of panel discussion were following: Ilze Viņķele (member of the Saeima), Egils Grasmanis (founder of movement “Gribu palīdzēt bēģļiem/I want to help refugees”), Reinis Grāvītis (coordinator of volunteers at NGO "Shelter "Safe House"), Suha Ismaila (director of organization “I-Dare for Sustainable Development” from Jordan) and Maira Asare (Classmate of refugee Abdul, head of student parlament of Vecpiebalga highschool).
As the participants of discussion concluded, youth have to carry out double mission – as they are more open for new cultures and easier adopt to something new, they are capable not only to help refugees to integrate, but also to promote tolerance among oldest generation which are more tended to refuse other cultures.
The member of Saeima Ilze Viņķele invited everyone to promote tolerance in society – share the best practices how to help refugees and how to remark if someone expresses their negative attitude. Only this way we can make life better for everyone.
While schoolgirl form Vecpiebalga shared her thoughts on huge impact on her peers left by displayed information about refugees on portals, particularly in the comments sections. She invited media to stop the distribution of hate speech in comments.
Project was implemented with aim to promote public awareness about cultural diversity and anti-discrimination issues, to provoke debate in Latvian public space on migration and refugees issues, promote tolerance and mutual understanding in society of Latvia, as well as to develop intercultural dialogue and partnership between Latvia and EUROMED countries.
More information about project in Latvian you can find Facebook page: Annas Lindes fonda Latvijas tīkls and Twitter account: @annaslindes