OUR FUTURE NETWORK

E-mail: geertluteijn@hotmail.com, nenasanja@eunet.yu
Web: http://www.ourfuturenetwork.eu/

Ciljevi/Misija

At the moment there is, unfortunately, almost no contact between Serbian and Kosovar citizens. Distrust and hatred hinders contact between citizens from both societies and it is extremely difficult to open up contact. With this project we did not want to force a discussion about the future of Serbia and Kosovo. Whether Kosovo will become independent or not, in all forms the Serb and Kosovar societies will remain neighbors. It is of utmost importance that for those citizens willing to meet each other, communication channels developed. Through our project we sincerely hope that such a channel is established.

We did not want to organize seminars wit artificial discussions; neither did we want to force people to speak about the hardest political questions. Instead we looked for common interests. it is a general opinion both in Kosovo and Serbia, as well as rest of South East European region, that integration into European structures is a final goal and aim. Although views on forms and ways of this process might differ very much, willingness for European integration is shared. Integration into european structures, as such might serve as common ground for overcoming gaps and mistrust among two distanced and even opposed communities. Whether the citizens of Serbia and Kosovo agree or not, the road towards Europe of both societies is very much interlinked.

Partner organizations

    * IKV (Interchurch Peace Council, Den Hague)
    * Integra (Pristina)
    * Fractal (Belgrade)

 

Aktivnosti/Projekti

Our Future European Integration & Our Future Network
In year 2001 the idea on creating project, that will gather youngsters From Kosovo and Serbia with those from Netherlands, was born. Fractal (Belgrade), IKV (Interchurch Peace Council, Den Hague) and Forum (Pristina) were organizations that created, designed and launched project "Our Future European Integration" with main intention to link youngsters from Western Balkan (Kosovo and Serbia) and Western Europe (Netherlands).

"Our Future European Integration" project and Our Future network are vivid and very much alive projects, we were trying to keep the basic core matrix of activities, but as well to adopt new approaches, strategies and challenges. One of the important changes within the project was change of partner organisation in Kosovo: due to case of existence of Forum NGO, as initial partner in first 2 years, new organization took over that role and joined partnership as official partner - The Integra.

Every year each partner organization select 5 new youngsters from each country - Network is becoming richer for 15 new participants each year. They are all Youngsters age 17-18 willing to learn more about on in integration in the European Union and a readiness and enthusiasm to work with people from another ethnic background.

Future of Our Future network
At meeting that was held in Netherlands in November 2006, between Fractal IKV and Integra, was decided that Our Future European Integration project deserves our commitment in order to continue throughout next years.

In the same time project team concluded that some changes in core matrix of project year cycle are needed in order to increase Network identity, structure and cohesion.

Decision was made to put more attention and focus on work within Our Future Network. Year 2006 will be dedicated to be deepening network capacities instead of widening - increasing number in membership of new participants. That doesn't means we will not be open for spreading the network. In context of network changes four steps are envisioned and proposed:

1. Professional input - it is obvious that participants need professional and expert consultation and tutoring. Such attention is needed in order to increase quality of internal and external discussion on related subjects. This way wee will raise and strengthen network capacities by continuing and upgrading learning process.

2. Thinking process - goal is to further encourage youngsters in critical thinking and equally important in expression and sharing of critical thinking on history, current and future political, economical and security processes, future of EU, citizenship, cultures and identities.

3. Internal discussion - after "professional input" and "thinking process" internal discussion of participants will be facilitated. It is necessary to improve internal communication capacities within network and operational capacities for future joint activities.

4. Outreach - results and outputs of above-mentioned three steps should be communicated with wider public and youngsters. We also want to put a focus on disseminating information on network activities, but as well to involve more people on network in public and media exposing.

Meetings
It is important to mention that groups had regular meetings every month. Main reason for organizing this kind of meetings is to strength communication among network members. First, we are working locally (these meetings are focused on national level of participants), and after that, they can be able to act globally (in network). There is need to give them space for their own suggestions and initiatives and partner organizations will try to help them in different ways, from giving important information and consultations till assisting them in concrete project's realization, etc.

Through meetings we are trying to help them to work and act together as coordinated team, to design, write and implement projects by them selves, to put their own initiatives in life and motion, etc.

From time to time our partner organizations are meeting each other. Purpose of meetings is discussion on future actions, strategies and approaches in enhancing Our Future network.

Study visits
Each year we are organizing 3 study visits: first one to The Netherlands and Belgium, then to Kosovo and last one to Serbia. By this way participants get the opportunity to visit EU-institutions, to meet and introduce each other and experience different environment, culture and society. Visit to EU and national parliaments, Embassies, International and Intergovernmental organizations such as NATO, UN and OSCE are part of the program. Parallel with visiting all these important institutions, they get to discuss a lot about the European Union, the role of active youth in social changes processes, the UN and the future of Serbia, Kosovo and Western Balkan region.

Furthermore, participants develop also their own activities: they organize lectures and debates on issues such as: Serb-Albanian current relations, the role of active youth in social changes processes, European integration, creative workshops and cultural, art and socializing events. Study visit to Kosovo followed in July. This study visit due to very heated political context in summer 2005 (preparations for negotiations on Kosovo status) was significant in emphasizing importance of dialogue between Albanians and Serbs. We acknowledge achievement and capacity of network to, in such context, gather and visit each other, have free discussions and friendly communication even on hard political topics. As final destination study visit to Belgrade was organized. Participants had opportunity to visit Serbian Parliament, Center for Social Studies, Center for Non-violent Resistance, European Commission office in Belgrade etc. This year we made break-through in local media by organizing 1 hour live talk show at B92 radio station. Media as powerful mean of social change will be explored more in near future.

High school lectures
Each organization used different ways to select the participants. The orientation point for the selection was the study visit to the Netherlands and Belgium. In Kosovo and Serbia partner organizations organized high-school lectures on topics related to EU integrations. Organizing these lectures we were aiming to inform and encourage youth to be a part of the European integration. Target group of these lectures were young scholars (final year). They had chance not only to participate in interactive by one expert but also to find out something about Our Future European Integration and Our Future network , presented by one project alumni in peer-to-peer form 10 high schools hosted these lectures in each country and over 200 pupils successfully passed through interactive lectures. After lectures participants were invited to write an essay on European integration and Western Balkan and fulfill application form in order to apply for first next stage in project - study visits.

Peer to Peer lectures 2 youngsters
These lectures were carried out by team of trainers (OFEI alumni) skilled to give presentation and workshops on EU integration, interethnic cooperation and youth participation to other youth in session organized in their respective high schools.
Series of lectures and workshops were organized in high schools that were targeted with previously organized lectures.

Participants were motivated and interested pupils that already had some previous basis in knowledge on covered topics.

According to reactions and states of participants it is indicated that they prefer to participate in this kind of lectures, it is much more comfortable to learn about EU, interethnic and intercultural cooperation and youth activism through interactive lectures in peer-to-peer than through classic lectures, internet or reading books and lectures on this subject.

Training for trainers "T4T" basics
The aim of this activity is to create team of trainers skilled in knowledge of EU topics, presentation and other skills important for successful implementation of workshops on EU integration, interethnic cooperation and youth participation as a generator of social changes. Participants had an opportunity to hear, learn and gain new skills through interactive approach, practical examples, experiments and exercises which dynamic atmosphere and raised energy among participants to carry out training together with trainers.