By being part of ESN, you come across different cultures and different nationalities all the time. This hopefully means that you are more likely to have some intercultural understanding and less likely to fall into stereotypical thinking and prejudices.
However, nobody is immune to this and the topic of intercultural understanding is very interesting for ESN as well as other organisations. Our partner organisation Youth for Understanding (YFU), and in particular its European umbrella organisation EEE-YFU, also work with learning mobility, but for younger people. They have developed a concept called Coloured Glasses, referring to the cultural filter through which we observe and interpret reality. With this, they have developed a series of workshops, in which young people can engage and learn more about things like culture and identity, intercultural communication, stereotypes and prejudices. This is a great way to make young people reflect on important issues in a fun and interactive way.
In order to learn more about this concept, and to spread the workshops to ESN volunteers, YFU and ESN have teamed up in a project called Active Citizens Living European Values, or ACLEV. The project is co-financed by the EU Erasmus+ Programme and will run until October 2019.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, there will be several ACLEV activities in ESN. For example, there were workshops at ESN’s 2018 Regional Platforms in Athens, Jelgava, and Olomouc. There were also workshops at the Social Inclusion Leaders Meeting in Valencia. And apart from these internal ESN events, there was a joint ESN-YFU training in Apeldoorn on the topic in late 2018. In the spring of 2019, the Apeldoorn participants will carry out their own Coloured Glasses workshops in their home organisations. ESN volunteers will also be volunteering at the Young European Seminar in June. Around 600 young Europeans, most of them from the YFU network, will gather outside of Berlin and have workshops and learn more about various topics of interest to Europe.
Finally, in the spring of 2019, there will be a campaign on social media on the topic of stereotypes and prejudices. Keep your eyes open for this!