Tuesday 17 January
|Results of Anapa Conference|
We, the Center for Interethnic Cooperation and UNITED, European network against xenophobia and discrimination, have been working on project aimed to spread ideas of tolerance among youth for number of years already. In the framework of the current project, "Utilizing the Network of Ethnic Associations in Russia to provide support for youth organizations in Russia", we organized a big interregional and international conference June 24-27, 2009. The place for the conference - a small Black sea cost town of Anapa - was chosen on purpose. We already hold our activities there more then once. Local hospitality, quantity of air flights and wonderful climate had made Anapa very convenient for invitation of conference participants from different cities and countries. We had a big number of guests. Participating in the conference were representatives of Anapa, Amsterdam, Astrakhan, Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw, Vienna, Voronezh, Yaroslavl, Yekaterinburg, Yerevan, Irkutsk, Kondopoga, Krasnodar, Krymsk, Losanne, Moscow, Orenburg, Prague, Samara, Stavropol. In total, 37 people took part in the conference.
The national backgrounds represented at the conference were: Russian, German, Tatar, Austrian, Armenian, Chechen, Nogai, Holland, Kyrgyz, Greek, Chuvash, Jewish, Assyrian, Adyge, Skiffs, Bashkir, Swiss, Hungarian, Czech, Italian.
Evidently such a various cast of participants guaranteed the in depth and comprehensive consideration of issues concerning the promotion and development of ideas of tolerance among youth. We had a possibility to present our project to representatives of different regions and to establish network of youth organizations in Russia. In addition, our guests also belonged to different social groups. We had representatives of youth public organizations, employees of regional authorities, representatives of international and European organizations. The federal authority level was represented by the employee of General Prosecutor's Office of Russian federation, Michael Khrapkov, who deeply impressed the assembly both by his report and active participation in the work of the conference. I suppose that for most part of participants such an acquaintance to the work of Prosecutor's Office had become a big abruptness. We'll be very grateful if he participates in our conferences in the future.
The situation with tolerance among youth in regions of Russian Federation was variously presented both by regional authorities and young activists. Sometimes even in joint reports.
A European view on tolerance among youth issues was presented by the representatives of different international public organizations. Geert Ates, the UNITED director, made a presentation about the European network of youth organizations withstanding racism and xenophobia. Denis Dafflon from Switzerland made a presentation about the results of their organization's research in different Russian regions. Also taking active part in the work of the conference were Marcell Lorincz form Foundation of Subjective Values (Budapest), Miroslav Prokes from Rainbow (Prague), Matilde Fruncillo form OSCE and Gerhard Saltzer form the Moscow office of European Commission, due to the financial help of latest the conference took place.
The conference was led by the CIC director Ashot Ayrapetyan and me, Victoria Shukhat. More then that, as this conference was dedicated to youth, and the development of leadership skills is very important for the successful work of any organization, from time to time we passed the leading roles to the representatives of youth organizations from Kondopoga, Irkutsk and Yekaterinburg.
As the cast of participants had a clear structure, we suggested to form the working groups by the social features. As a result we had three groups and three points of view on tolerance issues - representatives of authorities, representatives of youth public organizations and foreign guests.
For a start we asked each group to work out the background of intolerance - what are the reasons for uprise and spreading of this social occurrence in a country that for decades formed the values of internationalism and interethnic friendship in public opinion? Why do we have in a country that defeated fascism in a war such a disastrous amount of racist attitudes, especially among youth?
Here are the results:
Background of intolerance.
The reports of each group caused big discussions. Evidently, different points of view essentially add to one another. It is important to consider all the aspects of reasons of intolerance development to be able to withstand it more effective.
Thus the question arises - which methods and technologies can solve this problem in better way? All the participants of the conference had experience in this field, realized it different countries and regions. This experience was brought to light during brainstorming and showed interesting results:
Methods to promote and develop the ideas of tolerance
Surely the working out of recommendations for promotion of ideas of tolerance for the authorities and youth organizations in Russia had become the culmination point of the conference. It was made in two steps. Firstly each group worked out recommendations for itself, considering what does they needed to be able to improve the current situation. Secondly the groups changed places and made additions to the previous group's lists as they see the problem. And our foreign guests worked out recommendations for both groups and in our opinion precisely foreign point of view helps with an outside look.
Thus, what was recommended to our authorities to implement into everyday practice:
Recommendations from the regional authorities to the federal level.
Recommendations from youth organizations to the regional authorities.
Obvious that it is impossible to realize a project on implementation of the ideas of tolerance in youth surrounding without active implication of the same youth. That's why there are special expectations from the youth public organizations that gather the most active and advanced representative of youth.
Recommendations from the regional authorities to youth organizations.
The list has turned out extensive and has been met by representatives of the present youth public associations with an interest.
Our foreign colleagues have longstanding experience of work in this direction. Governmental structures of big amount of European countries specially finance the work on tolerance development in their countries. For example, the annual budget of 670 000 000 euro, allotted by the German government to solving of these issues, caused a confusion and shock among Russian participants. For them it sounded fantastic. And I suppose that they spend such amounts of money not because of the European governments and parliaments members' commitment to humanistic values. Tolerance is also very profitable! If we try to count all benefit of tolerance: improvement of investment climate, minimization of interethnic wars risks, recruitment of qualified manpower from outside, state image on international arena etc. - then it becomes obvious why they spend such big amounts of money on this issue. I only hope that our government will do the same. Thus is carefully having tracked for their use.
In Europe the lion's share of means directly goes to the noncommercial sector, national public associations, that are plainly interested in realization of this program. Therefore we were very glad to receive the opinion and advice of our European experts:
Recommendations from foreigners to authorities.
Recommendations from foreigners to youth organizations.
All the Recommendations from the Anapa conference we will redirect to such authorities as:
together with the regional authorities of regions of RF included in the project - Astrakhan region, Irkutsk region, Krasnodar region, Orenburg region, Samara region, Yaroslavl region, Yekaterinburg region, Republic of Karelia.
We hope that the results of the conference will be thoroughly considered by these structures, took under advisement and put into realization.
Good to know that there are so many answers to eternal Russian question - what to do? Bad, that the quantity of work is gigantic. But compulsory - because we don't want to live in the intolerant society. Do you?