“Coexist in Europe” was a Training Course that intended to shake young people’s minds and, especially, our preconceptions regarding the thriving religious diversity in Europe. By analyzing the causes for religious conflict (and violence) and promoting interfaith dialogue, this project therefore aimed to address threats to peace, security and social cohesion and thus tried to prevent the negative impact of religious discrimination.
The 35 young people were hosted in the city of Bar, Montenegro — a renowned and long-lasting melting-pot of different confessions and nations — during the spring of 2013. Organized by TDM 2000 International and developed under the framework of the Action 3.1 of the Youth in Action Programme, it took in participants representing 10 youth organizations from different European countries, from founders of the EU to recent members and, likewise, countries from South East Europe. In order to render it a valuable and unique learning experience we were working with different techniques, mostly non- formal education methods, that is to say that we came up with different sorts of discussions and debates, worked in small or bigger groups, participated in simulation or role-play activities, directly contacted with the local population or used different media resources.
The participants had the chance to visit the local NGO Svetionik that organized a meeting in the conference room in the municipality of Bar. The participants discussed with the programme manager about religious situation in Bar and Montenegro and about the activities of the NGO at local and international level, focusing on strategies in order to involve youngsters.
In the end of the week, the participants developed a broad mindset from which they formed a positive attitude to act as multipliers and lead initiatives at local level, carrying out the activities conceived during the course and, eventually, developing follow-up projects with the established partnerships for the promotion of mutual understanding and interfaith dialogue.