Every year the Youth Peace Camp engaging young people and youth organisations from conflict-striken regions in dialogue and conflict transformation. Some young people growing up in regions affected by armed conflicts, being exposed of the consequences of extreme forms of physical and structural violence, are often confronted with dramatic life forming experiences, emotions and challenges. Such experiences may strongly influence their views and behavior towards their own and other communities, their relation to conflict and peace and to their identity.
The aim of the Youth Peace Camp is to engage these young people and youth organisations in dialogue and conflict transformation activities based on human rights education and intercultural learning and to provide them with a positive experience in living and learning together.
Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Maud de Boer-Buquicchio closed the peace camp with words of support for the participants: “Too often young people are involved in violent conflicts against their will. They are among the first casualties. It is therefore your right – everyone’s right – to participate in the resolution of these conflicts, through dialogue, trust-building, co-operation and the search for common ground… I would like to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to promoting peace and dialogue. It may seem more difficult to engage in dialogue than to replicate hatred, prejudice and rejection. And I am sure that some of you will have difficulties in being understood by your friends and neighbours back home who did not take part in the peace camp. But don’t be deterred. Dialogue is more rewarding and infinitely more sustainable than conflict and hatred. Dialogue is about understanding each other, in spite of differences of opinion. It is about making friends, not enemies. Dialogue is the path to peace.”
So, the main objectives are:
- Developing of conceptual and practical meanings of conflict, peace and conflict transformation.
- Sharing their personal experiences of conflict and violence and their coping strategies, identifying commonalities and specificities between the participants.
- Developing the competences of participants in conflict transformation and intercultural learning, including a critical understanding of the personal and collective identities and their role in armed conflicts.
- Learning about human rights and human rights education as frameworks for conflict transformation and dialogue.
- Learning from existing practices and experiences of people who are working in the youth field for dialogue and conflict transformation.
- Motivating and supporting participants in their role as multipliers and peer leaders in peace building activities with young people from their organisations and communities.
- Increase the role and expertise of the Council of Europe, in particular its youth sector, which is working with conflict transformation as part of its mission in relation to intercultural dialogue.
Such events are a symbol of the Council of Europe for working with and for young people since 40 years.