Creating a Culture of Encounter – Empowering Youth Through Education to Challenge Xenophobia, Discrimination and Exclusion among Youth in Europe

The collaborative project “Creating a Culture of Encounter – Empowering Youth through Education to Challenge Xenophobia, Discrimination and Exclusion in Europe,” took off in September 2021 with a partner’s meeting in Lisbon. The project, which seeks to reach 100 young people from Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, aims to empower and enable youth to become agents of transformation in their communities.

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Kick-off meeting in Lisbon

The Culture of Encounter project intends to create shared spaces for young people to further develop their knowledge, attitudes and skills and get acquainted with meaningful tools that can encourage them to actively engage with their communities. Participants will be encouraged to question and transform the narratives of hate speech and discrimination, contributing to creating a culture of encounter, mutual understanding, respect, and solidarity in Europe.

The project will include both online and in-person participatory workshops for youth to experience active citizenship and learn to utilize intercultural and interfaith tools that can help create a culture of encounter in their communities. They will participate in story-telling and social media workshops to document and share their experiences and the outcomes of their projects.

Participants will reach out to their schools and communities and initiate youth-led projects to create new narratives of mutual understanding, belongingness and respect. They will also develop social media campaigns to mobilize more young people in Europe, raise awareness, share their experiences, and influence positive change.

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Pilot Workshop in Spain

Sixty educators from the participating countries will be provided with pedagogical tools to support the youth initiatives. Online opportunities will be created in April and June for teachers from all the participating countries to come together and to build capacities on Child Participation and Empowerment, and Project Development. An online platform has been created to support the engagement of educators on a trans-national level.

By supporting educators’ professional development and mobilizing young people to influence and engage others through their initiatives, this Project will reach and transform a wider community of youth who will feel empowered to contribute to challenging the mistrust between communities, creating new narratives and enhancing solidarity across Europe.

A kick-off meeting, which took place in Lisbon, from 30 September to 2 October 2021, brought together the facilitators’ team from all the countries involved as well as the leads from the partner organizations. Following this meeting, two training sessions for facilitators were conducted in November for the teams in Portugal and Spain. A teacher and youth training is expected to take place in Italy by mid-April.

Creating a Culture of Encounter is a collaboration between Arigatou International, the Aga Khan Foundation, the European Wergeland Centre, the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace Research Institute, and Scholas Occurrentes.

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Pilot Workshop in Portugal

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