This is a reference for Erik Ghazaryan

Building bridges(in divided cities)

The training activity took place
in Agros, Cyprus
organised by Youth for Exchange and Understanding
14-22 June, 2015

Aims & objectives

This training gathers 24 youth activists from 12 countries in Nicosia, Cyprus to work on developing a theatre performance, by using the methodology of theatre of the oppressed, as a tool for tackling the hate speech, conflicts and human rights violations in (post)conflict countries involved in the process.

The objectives of the TC are

-Group building: Strengthening the existing group and integrate new people
-Create content for the Balkan tour: forum theater, street action, exhibition, promotional materials and round table
-Improve the skills of the participants (to act, perform, dance, video skills..) to improve the quality of the next phases
-Try out the performance and prepare the group for all follow-up activities, including activity 3 I have sent you a message – virtual is real

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

The project included 24 participants in different countries, particularly; Ukraine, Lithuania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Azerbaijan, FYROM, Armenia, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Serbia and Russia. The participants represent countries that have or recently had conflicts with neighboring countries.

Training methods used & main activities

In this training applied several methods of non-formal education, combined with techniques from theater and applied improvisation. We utilize ice-breakers, energizers and theater improvisation games for activating participants and group building. There were brainstorming and discussion activities both in working groups and in plenary and space for intercultural and experiential learning. The trainers used a variety of visuals for instructions and summaries and used online tools for evaluation and follow-up activities.

An inspirational visit to Nicosia, including an in-depth tour from a local gave the participant a realistic view of the past and current conflict situation in Cyprus and necessary input for the theater work. The core of the training consisted of content development in working groups, in which participants were actively involved, occupied themselves and worked towards concrete results that they frequently presented to each other and asked for feedback in interactive ways. Highlight was the performances in Nicosia in which the participants had the chance to put their work into practice and learn from practical situations and reactions of the audience.

Outcomes of the activity

The Training course was successful as the aims and objectives of this part of the project were met. The participants were involved in various activities they chose and all of the activities succeeded. Among them were Forum theater, Street art, Video-messages and exhibition. The participants were motivated to do additional tasks and initiated the preparation of the flyers that will be spread among the audience before the forum theater in each city. While preparing their tasks the participants used various methods, such as choreography, theater, rhetoric art and etc.

The TC was focused on facilitating the participants to create their tools that will contribute to reducing the hate speech and will lead to conflict resolution. On those perspectives the team of trainers and organizers consider the work by participants satisfactory. The team managed to motivate each of the participants to do her/his contribution on those tools. This will create a sense of ownership and youngsters included in those activities will care about the success of the project. The participants shared about this in their final evaluations, the methods used by trainers are evaluated in a positive way. In general, the participants created the tools they are going to present in Balkan countries and they also know their tasks to implement before the launch of the final part of the project.

The innovation of the project is the high level of creativity that is contributed by the participants. Innovation can also be the reality that the participants are the target group (participants from countries in conflicts) but on the same time they work on benefit of the same target group (the young people of divided capital of Nikosia). On the same time this part of the TC was very dynamic with unique format; discussion (participants and trainers)-practice (rehearsal of the forum theater and street art, preparation of videos)-meeting (exchanging the results and facilitating the next steps).

It is worth mentioning that at the end of the TC the participants had a chance to present their tools and get practice before the final theater trip to Balkan countries. All trainers implemented/facilitated at least one activity they have never done before and developed themselves.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

The participants were refreshed with the skills and knowledge they received about concepts of Human Rights, Hate Speech and Conflicts and then during the first couple of days the work division was done among the participants based on the skills and motivation of candidates.

The second part of the TC was dedicated the practicing and improvement of the Forum Theater, Street art, Exhibition and Video-messages. The second part of the TC ended up with the presentation of Street art, Forum theater and Video-massages to citizens of Nikosia who had a chance to follow the activities.. The last part of the TC was about the summarizing the homework tasks of country-representative participants. Ideas and deadlines about video messages and exhibition were fixed, visa and other procedures were exchanged by organizers to be prepared for the last part of the project in Balkan countries.

The cooperation was implemented according to the tasks division during the meetings at the end of working days. The result was satisfactory for all parts and this method was considered to be an effective one.

I was responsible with the preparation of the video messages and Photo-exhibition implementation. Simultaneously I was responsible for the part of the Sessions.

I worked on this training for 7 days as a full time trainer.

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