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Seminar Young people and law-enforcement organs

In memoriam - Aleksei Kalganov

In the Pushkino camp ground near Moscow on June 17th-19th a seminar training organized by the Jewish youth organization Marom and the Center for Interethnic Cooperation took place. The seminar was carried out in the framework of the micro-project Cooperation of the Militia and Ethnic Youth Associations in Moscow that is funded by the European Union and by the Global Opportunities Fund of the British Foreign Office. Leaders of various ethnic youth associations and members of the Moscow militia and migration service took part in this training.

The aim of this event was to develop contact and mutual understanding between the participants. In the beginning the young trainers of The Center for Interethnic Cooperation Tatyana, Dima and Yaroslava initiated procedures for the participants to get to know each other. They divided them up into pairs and asked them to find out as much as possible about each other in just a few minutes. After everybody had told a little bit about his partner, the trainers divided the militia officers and the youth organization activists into two groups and asked them to create a verbal portrait of a modern young man.

As was to be expected, the portraits of the two groups turned out to be very different from each other. The understanding of characteristics, values and social status of young men differed greatly.

In particular, in the group of the leaders of ethnic youth organizations there was a bigger diversity of opinions about the decisive characteristics of young men, yet the most popular were purposefulness, self-assuredness, independency and liberty. A lot of other characteristics which are connected with social functions of young men (for example, protection of the country) were also mentioned.

The militia officers conception of young men was more concerted. The most popular characteristics in this group were impatient, maximalist, free, driven (infantile).

In the process of the following discussion of the topic youth, both sides had the opportunity to get acquainted with each others points of view and the bases for these points of view. Significant results of the discussion were the broadening of the participants conceptions about the definition of youth and a debate about the ways how young men can use their freedom.

The next group work topic, which was introduced by the leader of the training Ashot Airapetian, were basic personal rights. Every group formulated rights important to its members and defined their level of importance.

Of the discussed rights the following were chosen to be extremely significant: the right to live, freedom of speech, conscience, religion and self-determination, the freedom to move and to freely chose ones own place of residence, right to work and to be educated, inviolability of private life and private property and the right to vote. It should be mentioned that among the participants there were quite a lot professional lawyers, which supported the accuracy of the formulation of personal rights and helped to determine if they are secured by law or not.

One of the main topics of the training was to work out ideas and events that help to improve interaction between ethnic minorities, militia officers and representatives of the authorities. This was again done with various small groups. In the end the participants together discussed all suggestions and chose those on which everybody agreed.

The following suggestions were supported the most:

necessary active cooperation between ethnic associations, the authorities and the organs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding ethnic questions

raise in the level of legal culture, which is a concern of the citizens as well as law-enforcement organs

promotion of the idea of tolerance in society

Furthermore, an improvement of the law-enforcements image, founding of temporary placement centers for immigrants and the call to avoid conflicts by finding compromises were named.

As the participants confirmed, the informal part of the seminar was also very important. There were sport matches and team games. In the evening a big bonfire was held where the participants sang national songs together and had the opportunity to informally chat.

The representatives of the ethnic youth organizations and the militia officers suggested possible future cultural and thematic joint-events and contacts.

At the very end the leaders of the seminar asked the participants for feedback on organization and set-up of the seminar. Positive aspects singled out were the motley composition of participants, the interesting discussions and games, and the opportunity of informal contact. Negative aspects included accomodations, a lack of sleep connected with the strict time table, and the unwillingness of the female participants to take part in sporting events.

In general, everybody was very content with the outcome of the seminar. In large part this was due to the great efforts of Aleksei Kolganov and Mariya Kopelyan, the leaders of the Jewish youth organization Marom. They found the cheap camp ground, ordered the bus and made the participants of the seminar a wonderful present: shashlik, which was grilled in the woods not far from the camp ground. In short, Aleksei and Masha were the main heroes of the training. Until this weekend, nobody had ever gathered leaders of various ethnic youth organizations at a camp ground in the surrounding area of Moscow. We did that for the first time, and with a great result. No wonder that in the seminar the participants thought about many new joint-events. But

Fate hit us with a cruel blow. A few days after the seminar Aleksei Kolganov passed away. We lost a friend and dear colleague. It is hard to believe that he is never going to show up in our Center of Interethnic Cooperation and suggest, Somehow for a long time we havent yet come up with something. Maybe this weekend we could

This is why for us the best way to honor the memory of our friend is to realize the plans that we just recently have made with Aleksei.


Ashot, Tatyana, Yaroslava


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