Fostering interethnic relation among the youth

Project Goal:
Promote mutual understanding and interethnic cooperation among the youth through motivating them to participate in solving of interethnic public issues within the civil society.

Timeframe:
Start Date: 1 January 2011 / Completion Date: 30 November 2011

Funding: US Embassy, Skopje – http://macedonia.usembassy.gov/

Project stakeholders:
Teachers and students from secondary schools from Kumanovo, Gostivar and Veles.

Project summary:
The purpose of this program is to enable secondary school teachers to carry out extracurricular activities with the students through providing them a model for motivating the students to identify problems, consider the decided upon problems within their issues, deliberate, share the ideas of consensus and take action to inform individual citizens, civil society or public government. At the same time, the project aims to increase secondary school students’ ability to live and work in a multicultural environment through their participation in the project activities and strengthen inter-ethnic cooperation and dialogue and build confidence among youth. This project tackles the current trend of isolation, polarization and lack of socializing by students from different ethnic groups by bringing them together in a safe environment to learn about each other and break down barriers set by stereotypes and miscommunication.

Thus, objectives of the project are the following:

  • To strengthen interethnic cooperation and dialogue and build confidence among youth within school environment in Gostivar, Kumanovo and Veles;
  • To extend students’ critical thinking on interethnic public issues in their community related to living in the multi-ethnic society, anti-bias, conflict prevention, democracy and promote tolerance and cultural sensitivity;
  • To enhance students’ ability to live and work in a multicultural environment through their participation in the project school activities.

A performance of extra curricula activities in this project activities incorporates a Civic Education (CE) curriculum which includes aspects of Project Citizen (PC), Deliberation in Democracy (DID) and Public Issues Model (PIM). The extra curricula activities are implemented in five secondary schools with mixed ethnical backgrounds of the students and teachers, located in different municipalities in Macedonia: the Municipality of Gostivar High Economics School “Gostivar” in which the ethnical backgrounds of the teachers and students are mixed and teaching process carried out in three languages of instruction (Macedonian, Albanian and Turkish); in the Municipality of Kumanovo Secondary School of Economics “Pero Nakov”, High School “Goce Delcev” and “Sami Frasheri” in which the students with Macedonian and Albanian ethnical background attend the classes in their native language in different buildings; and in Municipality of Veles High School “Kosta Racin” in which the ethnical backgrounds of the teachers and students are mixed and teaching process carried out in two languages of instruction (Macedonian and Albanian). The ethnically mixed group of students work on identifing an issue in their community of interethnic nature, build an understanding of the issue, deliberate the issue, and then, depending on where the students stand on the issue select a course of action to inform the individual citizens, civil society, or public policy/government.

This project provides a model for secondary teachers to learn and appreciate among themselves the power of identifying, deliberation and consensus on policy issues in their classrooms. It also gives a platform for engaging secondary students with various ethnical backgrounds in identification, discussions, reaching a consensus on policy issues involved in their problems within the civil society they live in. The project provides the secondary school students from different ethnic groups the opportunity to interact and learn about each other and about living in a multi-ethnic society. Students’ newly acquired skills and experiences on living in the multi-ethnic society will contribute to overcoming interethnic tension in their community and promote peaceful co-existence and cooperation in their school and wider within their community.