This is a reference for Edouard PORTEFAIX

Youth Peace Camp 2016

The training activity took place
in European Youth Center - Strasbourg, France
organised by Council of Europe

Aims & objectives

The Youth Peace Camp engages young people and youth organisations from conflict affected regions in dialogue and conflict transformation activities based on human rights education and intercultural learning during and after the camp.


- To develop awareness and basic competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) of participants in human rights education, conflict transformation, intercultural learning and dialogue, including a critical understanding of personal and collective identities and their role in conflicts

- To enable participants to share personal experiences of conflict and violence and coping strategies in a positive and safe atmosphere of living and learning together

- To introduce and share existing youth work practices and experiences of young people working on dialogue and conflict transformation in their home communities

- To motivate and support participants in their role as multipliers and peer leaders in peace-building activities with young people encouraging them to implement follow-up initiatives

- To present the Council of Europe, in particular its youth sector and its efforts towards strengthening youth work in the field of conflict transformation and intercultural dialogue.

In 2016, the camp paid a particular attention to the role of hate speech in armed conflict and connect with No Hate Speech Movement campaign at European and national levels.

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

The 2016 Youth Peace Camp brought together 44 young people from the following conflict affected communities:

- Kosovo*, participants coming from Albanian, Serbian and other backgrounds

- Ukraine, especially from border regions and from Luhansk and Donetsk

- The Russian Federation, especially young people directly affected by conflicts in Georgia and Ukraine

- South Caucasus, in particular from border regions and ethnic minorities.

A specific priority was given to applicants who are or have been displaced as a as a result of armed conflicts (refugees, internally displaced people, migrants, asylum-seekers…).

The 2016 Youth Peace Camp team was comprised of 8 facilitators coming from each of the 8 participating communities, 1 senior trainer and 1 educational advisor from the Council of Europe Youth Department.

* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

Training methods used & main activities

The specificity of a Youth Peace Camp is the possibility it creates for young people from conflict affected regions to better understand conflicts and start a process of conflict transformation. The camp provides a safe space for young people from opposing sides coming from different conflict stricken regions to learn together, to share their experiences with conflicts and to build their capacity to engage and/or develop future conflict transformation projects and initiatives. During the one week camp, the participants follow an experiential learning process and acquired competences in the fields of intercultural learning, dialogue and conflict transformation within a human rights framework.

Outcomes of the activity

According to daily reflection groups and formal and non-formal evaluation process, the outcomes of the Youth Peace Camp are the following:
At personal level, the Youth Peace Camp has a strong impact on its participants who declare to have gained self-esteem, self-confidence and assertiveness. Self-awareness and critical thinking are also key elements put forward by former participant ; it goes along with stronger communication skills. Youth Peace Camp alumni generally consider themselves more tolerant and open to the others than they were, especially to those holding different opinions. They also feel more able to confront their own emotions and address sensitive issues. The Youth Peace Camp is finally a source of inspiration and motivation for participants to act in their respective communities. It is a first step in conflict transformation leading to further commitment in the field of peacebuilding.

These transformative changes are not limited to the personal sphere and also impact the professional development of the Youth Peace Campers. Former participants have used the competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours) they developed through their Youth Peace Camp experience at university, at their workplace or in their local organisations, making a strong difference in the communications and relations with the people surrounding them. Participating in the Youth Peace Camp also gave Youth Peace Camp alumni food for thoughts regarding their studies and the orientation of their career, sometimes bringing about radical changes of direction.

Participants’ perception of conflict and the “other side” is challenged throughout the project. The encounter and dialogue with youth from the “other side” as well as with young people from other conflict regions helped participants to take distance from their own realities. Their conflict – seen as the conflict – becomes a conflict amongst other conflicts. Youth Peace Campers shared their stories and listen to stories from the “other side”, stories that they are not used to hearing. They realized that the challenges they were facing in their daily lives were shared by other young people, as well as their aspirations. This realization “when humanity meets humanity”, does not only apply to the “other side” but also to other groups represented amongst the participants. Indeed, for some participants it was the first opportunity to meet and discuss with representatives of religious or sexual minorities. Exchanging with human dignity and human rights as a ground for dialogue proved to make a significant difference and deeply challenged participants’ stereotypes and prejudices.

More information can be found on:

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

As a senior trainer, my tasks and responsibilities on the activity included:

To plan, implement and evaluate the educational programme of the activity in accordance to its aim and objectives, in the respect of the quality criteria for educational activities of the European Youth Centre, and under the guidance of the secretariat of the Youth Department, notably the Head of the Education and Training Division and the Educational Advisor in the activity;

To coordinate the development of all the session outlines of the Youth Peace Camp with the team of facilitators, draft session outlines where needed

To contribute to the selection process of participants of the activity in coordination with the secretariat and the facilitators;

To support the facilitators in their work and ensure the activities they facilitate comply with the values of the Council of Europe and meets the quality expected of non-formal human rights education activities run by the youth sector of the Council of Europe;

To prepare, run and evaluate plenary and working group sessions of the Youth Peace Camp programme, in coordination with the Educational Advisor and the facilitators;

To draft an executive report of the activity.

I worked on this training for 9 days as a full time trainer.

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