Interview with Nigjar Nagavci: Young people from all ethnic groups have the same problems, desires, interests and goals

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Creativity and innovation move the world forward. In the first project year, through the USAID Youth Ethnic Integration Project, 16 teachers from 8 secondary schools were trained to implement creative workshops and forum theatres in the schools. Nigjar Nagavci, a teacher of Physical and Health Education in the secondary school “Zef Ljush Marku” in Skopje is one of the trained teachers.
Read the interview with Nigjar Nagavci and find out more.


Nigjar Nagavci, a teacher of Physical and Health Education in the secondary school “Zef Ljush Marku”

You are a teacher of Physical and Health Education which is of particular importance in encouraging a healthy lifestyle and proper growth and development of young people. In addition, through sports, young people learn about values such as fair play, mutual respect, open communication and team work. Do you believe that sport is a proper tool for building bridges between students from different ethnic backgrounds?

Sport has the power to bring about the greatest pleasures and the greatest violence among people throughout the world. The Youth Ethnic Integration Project has introduced us to new horizons and compelled us to undertake activities that will bring out the best and the noblest in all students. We have realized that with the help of the well-thought out sports activities we are making the students from different ethnic backgrounds happy and satisfied. During these activities, they socialize, unite, feel equal, have a common goal and, most importantly, talk among themselves without knowing the language of the other.


Nigjar conducts sport activities with students from different ethnic backgrounds

As a teacher who is trained to implement creative workshops and forum theatres, do you think that teachers can use creativity to improve interethnic integration among young people?

Of course we can. Through the creative workshops we can make a lot of changes in the young people and even in ourselves. At every turn, we are surrounded by misinformation or negative information that fill us with anger, hatred, fear and insecurity. The creative workshops enable the youth to learn about the other ethnic groups through personal experience. They come to realize that although they belong to different ethnic groups, they have many common interests and goals. Thus the fear of the unknown is lost and it is followed by a reprogramming that helps to reduce prejudice and stereotypes, which is the first precondition for improving interethnic relations.


Participants at the training for creative workshops

After the completion of the creative workshop training, you organized more than 40 workshops in your school. How does one creative workshop look like?

Each creative workshop leaves a mark on all participants. The students in these workshops participate actively from idea to its fruition. They bring out their creativity, their way of thinking and their desires, at the same time encouraging them to think differently. Very little of this can be expressed during the regular teaching process, which is why the students want to participate in this type of activities. In the course of these workshops, the participants are highly motivated, enthusiastic, always willing to stay as long as possible and wish they could be able to meet more often than it is planned.


Students from “Zef Lush Marku” at a creative workshop

What sort of activities will you organize in the coming period?

At the moment, my colleague Luana, our students and I are preparing a play – forum theatre where the students, through games, songs, dance and poetry will send the message that the young people from all ethnic groups have the same problems, desires, interests and goals. The play will also show the similarities in the different customs and traditions. We are surprised by the ideas and the creativity of our students. They have proven that if you trust them and give them space to work on something from an initial idea to its fruition, they will pleasantly surprise you.