BRIDGES Cooperation Circle held its annual inter-cultural youth camp in the Netherlands from July 27-31, 2018, where young participants from different backgrounds came together to form friendships and learn about other faith traditions. They visited houses of worship for multiple religions and engaged in teambuilding activities within a diverse group.
For four days, young people from Bulgaria and from the Netherlands that came from different cultural and religious traditions, gathered with the following goals: to learn about each other; reflect about issues that lead to discrimination and violence; identify ways to build bridges of trust and contribute to a positive transformation of their local communities and realities, and to become peace builders.
Together, they visited a Hindu temple, a synagogue, and a mosque, learning about the customs of each tradition. They also visited the Peace Palace, a temple of peace and justice, as well as Humanity House, an interactive museum in which participants embark on a journey through the museum and they see, hear and experience personally what it must feel like to have to survive in an area affected by conflict or disaster.
“Participants took a profound look at themselves and how they relate to others, acknowledging their identity and identifying the multiple dimensions of their identity,” the camp organizers reported. “They also reflected on how we are interconnected and interdependent as a common humanity and how to deeply listen, be open and respectful to others’ opinions and point of view, understanding and challenge our ways of thinking and behaviors, seeing beyond stereotypes and prejudices.”
The participants had a chance to explore and understand how the failure to understand and respect one another can bring about violence, injustice and the violation of the human rights and human dignity. Taking part in a CERITA storytelling workshop, the participants shared deeply-felt stories. They wrote their action plans and commitments about the activities and projects that they plan to organize after this camp. “We are looking forward to seeing all the positive changes that these camp participants will bring to our world,” wrote a Cooperation Circle member after the final day.
Bridges were not just being built among the youth participants; in producing the camp, URI Europe, BRIDGES Cooperation Circle, URI groups in the Netherlands, the Arigatou International Ethics Education for Children, and CERITA partnered with each other for the first time.
This camp was the second part of the Youth Interfaith Camp 2018, and it is a pilot project for URI Europe and Arigatou International as the first step in their future cooperation in working with kids for promoting peace and justice.
URI-Europe has shared many beautiful photos from the camp on its Facebook page. See the full collection of photos: