The Role of Young People in Promoting Understanding, Equality and Trust

Young people are ready to invest their capacities so that their voice and their actions are heard, but they need support in the form of investments in initiatives aimes at young people, is the conclusion of today’s conference “The role of young people in promoting of understanding equality and trust“ held in Belgrade.  

Inclusion, equality and trust are values ​​that should unite all young people in the region, but unfortunately, one percent of young people still live in a construct of mistrust and intercultural misunderstanding. The good news is that there is a significant number of young people who are active in the community, well-informed, courageous, fair, and who are ready to invest their capacities in activities that contribute to the improvement of our society, and promote understanding, equality and trust.

Ivana Antonijević, Acting Assistant Minister for Youth at the Ministry of Tourism and Youth, stated that the moment of value is the key to success: "When projects do not only have activities, but when all aspects are connected by values. When we teach young people through project activities the values ​​that will enrich their community".

After the completion of the two-year first cycle of the project "Youth 4 Inclusion, Equality and Trust", which aimed to improve the role of young people in promoting greater understanding and respect for diversity, increase the involvement of young people in the local community and strengthen intercultural dialogue, fifty-two young people received certificates for volunteer work in their communities and engagement in the creation of ten media campaigns that contribute to improving the media literacy of young people.

 "For the United Nations Population Fund, young people represent an important demographic potential of society, and by their inclusion in social flows, they contribute to sustainable development and peace building in the region and beyond. Their contribution to the prevention of various negative phenomena, through activities such as promoting mutual understanding and building trust, respect for diversity and integrity, is key to creating a society that values ​​all its members, that is capable of adapting and responding to changes in the environment, and to challenge which turned into opportunities," said Borka Jeremić, Head of the United Nations Population Fund in Serbia.

Within the project, three programs were organized - Youth for dialogue in local community, Celebrating diversity and Youth media literacy - which brought together a large number of young people who, passing through a series of trainings, expanded their knowledge and had the opportunity to use their talents and skills in a creative way .

"The youth involved in the project are making concrete differences in their local communities, organizing campaigns and initiatives to promote positive narratives based on equality and inclusion. We are proud of the progress made, and we hope that these experiences will inspire you to become future leaders and advocates of inclusion, equality and trust," said Thomas Jackson, regional project coordinator of the "Youth for Inclusion, Equality and Trust" project., UNDP.

Young people from different parts of the country and region often have a monochromatic view of the problems they face. Their perspective is often limited by their ethnic background as well as language, cultural and other barriers. However, forty students and their teachers from secondary schools across Serbia who participated in the youth exchange within the project program "Celebrating Diversity" showed that barriers do not exist, if only they are given the chance to meet and get to know each other better.

"Realizing the full potential of young people means giving them the chance to participate in society, to be part of policies that create a better atmosphere and better understanding in the country and region, and that's why we believe that investing in young people through this and similar projects is extremely important," said Ana Koeshall, Director of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation.

The project "Youth for inclusion, equality and trust" was implemented by UNFPA Serbia and the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, in cooperation with UNDP Serbia, UNESCO and UN Women and with the financial support of the General Peace Building Fund Secretary of the United Nations.

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