About the project and event
The problem of increasing support for extremist movements across Europe is a significant threat to the democratic principles, human rights and freedoms and principles of the European society that supports the rule of law. Support for extremism is growing because there are problems in society which are not solved and thus culminate and grow over time. We believe that such problems can be prevented by means of education, because it is the most powerful weapon of modern civilization. With educated and well-informed young people, we can effectively combat poverty, social exclusion, corruption, discrimination or racial hatred – problems that promote the emergence of extremism.
The media also play an important role in manipulation of public opinion, so one of the aims of this project is to increase the media literacy of participants and through them and their wider surroundings, learn to work with the media, detect manipulation content, fake news and hoaxes.
The partners of the project were FAJUB – Federação das Associações Juvenis de Braga (Portugal), European Youth Press – Network of Young Media Makers (Germany), Scambieuropei (Italy), and The Future Now Association (Bulgaria).
Information about the project is also available on the Erasmus+ Dissemination Platform.
- Enhance young people’s professional competences in education, media and internal development.
- Reveal external impacts on the functioning of internal processes in individual countries that are fighting extremism.
- Increase media awareness of the issue of repression of human rights and freedoms by selected national groups.
- Promote the representation of young people in public institutions and informal groups, in particular those from socially disadvantaged and excluded groups.
- Develop intercultural relationships and competences of young people.
- Create an international group to cooperate, inform and encourage each other before, during and after all project activities.
The week-long youth exchange took place in the city centre of Bratislava from 12 to 20 September 2021. It brought together 30 young people between 18 and 35 years old from Portugal, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, and Slovakia (5 – 6 from each country). They received all important and useful information related to the youth exchange mainly in the form of this info-pack.
During workshops, seminars, and presentations delivered by experts, peer-to-peer sessions where they shared their experiences and insights, during production of new topic-focused awareness-raising materials, and through informal learning the participants acquired important information about extremism, its history, forms, and tools it uses, but also real examples and their impact. They enhanced their empathy, tolerance, acceptance and understanding of other people’s thinking and action; deepened their knowledge and skills of critical and analytical thinking, media literacy and work with the media and information. They also learnt how to prevent crisis situations, resolve conflicts, and successfully cover situations that at first glance seem unmanageable and would result in extreme consequences if they were not revealed and dealt with. Ultimately, the participants are able to take actions and positively affect their surroundings.
For multipliers and others who are interested in details of the youth exchange – you can download full final programme of the week.
Final awareness-raising materials created by participants
Presentations by trainers and organisers
Media literacy and critical thinking by Martin
Impressions from the youth exchange
You can check the pictures on our social media, or in the gallery.
Say No to Extremism
By Rossen Apostolov
Extremism can be found all around us and it is a matter that should not be ignored. It is that kind of parasite that our society invented and supported in time leading to globally recognized conflicts. As we learned over the last week, extremists use certain set of instruments in order to popularize their ideas and believes. For instance, misleading information provided in a populist way leads to the creation of certain movements which could have bad impact on the society in general. Such examples can be found almost in every nationality’s history (communism, fascism etc.). Bearing this in mind, we all should build better awareness and knowledge how to fight with it, since it would not be possible to eliminate it entirely because of our societies believes.
Let’s first start with recognizing the leading instruments that these extremist communities use. Among them are accessible misinformation, propaganda, conspiracy theories, targeting minorities and people who are in some way oppressed. As mentioned before in our opinion extremism can not be totally eliminated but at least we can fight against it. Fight against it through knowledge and awareness about it. Extremism cannot be totally eliminated because there are already well-established groups of people which cannot be just “reprogrammed”. At least we can enlighten the young people to build better awareness and knowledge regarding the topic which would decrease the success rate of the manipulative ways the extremist groups use to recruit people to their organizations. Various NGO’s can create different interactive ways of providing this knowledge to the young people by using techniques employed by the extremists themselves. For instance, Student organizations can go from school to school showing short informational presentation and trying to engage young people into the fight against the extremism. Moreover, a media (blog, website, social media profile) can be created for open discussions where people can ask their questions regarding the reliability of news, conspiracy theories etc. on which well educated people in the relevant field can provide a decomposition of the discussion topics. Furthermore, different countries should emphasize on accepting others in their own societies. It would be beneficial, if there is a mandatory program for young people to stay and visit at least one different country until they are 25, this will lead to multicultural experience which would decrease the discrimination between nationalities.
In conclusion, extremism cannot be entirely eliminated. However, using extremist’s instruments we can fight it and at least restrict the spread of extremist believes by tolerance, love, respect and acceptance. After all we have to remember that people are not born with bad intentions, they become bad because of the society that they live in. It is up to us to be better and kinder to each other and that’s the only way how we can help our societies.
European Dialogue / Európsky Dialóg, o.z.
Participants of the youth exchange can receive LinkedIn certificate. If you are one of them, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for details that are needed to complete the certificate.