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Wednesday 23 August

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Youth on the Way to Tolerance

During the daytime Anapa is a usual resort with a big amount of different cafes, souvenir shops and lazily moving suntanned people. But at night you find yourself in completely different town. The life itself starts at midnight in Anapa. Once I happen to be in Las-Vegas and can make a statement that Anapa at night is just the same. Everything shines and sparkles around you, you hear different kinds of noises from all directions and the crowds of people appear like from nowhere – you don’t see near half of them during the daytime – seems like they only wake up in the evenings. Of course there are no casinos in Anapa, but it’s a positive moment, not negative. What really surprises is that you don’t feel grayness and see dust and loads of junk in the morning after the night’s splendor, like in Vegas. Especially, if you’re accommodated in Albatros hotel with good level of service, friendly staff and excellent cuisine.

In Anapa we had full three days… or only three days to discuss a serious topic “Youth on the Way to Tolerance”.


 

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There were Azeri, Adygs, Greeks, Tajiks, Bulgars, Tatars, Ukrainians, Germans, Dutch, Chuvashs, Jews Uzbeks, Karels, Armenians, Poles, Russians among us from Krasnodar, Pyatigorsk, Astrakhan, Yekaterinburg and Moscow. Regional authorities were represented by Safiet Shamova from Krasnodar, Evelina Persiyanova from Orenburg and Vasilya Nikiforova from Astrakhan – experienced CIC friends, experts in interethnic and intercultural cooperation. And Geert Ates from Holland and Tatyana Vaitulevich from Germany – representatives of European network against racism and Xenophobia UNITED for Intercultural Action. The training itself was part of the project “Utilizing a Network of Ethnic Organizations to Promote the Ideas of Tolerance among Youth”, financed by the European Union.

In such a big multiethnic team we were discussing the reasons of extremist attitudes among youth. Working in four smaller teams, we achieved such results:

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Team 1.

- Low life conditions

- Humiliation in the society

- Influence by stereotypes

- Economic profit

- Political background

- Herd feeling

- Unwillingness to share own territory with representatives of other ethnicities

Team 2.

- Social uncertainty

- Herd instinct

- Propaganda (Mass-Media, Internet)

- Lack of coherent state politics

- Provoking behavior of migrants

- “All comes from childhood”

- Perverse understanding of patriotism

- Instigation of interethnic conflicts from outside

- Lack of knowledge about other ethnicities

- Stereotypes

Team 3.

- States’ external policy

- Economic groupings

- Internal policy

- Envy

- Pseudo-patriotism

- Economics issues

- Lack of education and organized leisure

- Superiority complex

- Disrespect to culture

Team 4.

- Spite, dissatisfaction with situation in the country

- Nothing to do

- Lack of attention from parents

- Sponsorship

- Ideological upbringing

- State issues

- Suggestibility

Comparing these lists we figured out five main reasons that we saw in the results of each of these four groups:

- Political background

- Economical background

- Stereotype mind

- “All comes from childhood” or Lack of attention from parents

- Herd instinct or Suggestibility

All four groups mentioned stereotype mind among the main reasons of extremism. So the next task for them was to use their stereotype mind to create a “portrait” of a typical young man from Caucasus. And the results were:

- Hot

- Proud

- Strong

- Courageous

- Impudent

- Gifted

- Temperamental

- Affectionate

- Traditional

- Athletic

- Boastful

- Communicable

- Aggressive

- Bothersome

- Persistent

We can see some negative characteristics among a row of positive ones, like, for example, “Bothersome” and “Aggressive”, that could become reasons for new conflicts.

To simulate some possible conflict situations involving Caucasian men the participants were invited to some rope-playing games. The plot was a situation when a young Caucasian man is accosting to a Russian girl, but the parts of men were played by Russian girls and parts of girls by Caucasian boys. Everybody really enjoyed this game that also sowed serious results that we could discuss. Caucasian boys talked about the outward appearance of girls that provokes them to behave in a particular way, especially when you belong to a country with completely different culture. The other thing is to be aware, to understand the difference and not to be provoked. It’s easy to discuss it and to write about it, but what we can really do to create more mutual understanding and solidarity among youth of such a multiethnic country as Russia? We need young boys and girls – leaders that understand what’s happening and are able to promote the ideas of tolerance to their equals. The leadership abilities are not developed equally in everyone – somebody has more, somebody less. But when asked to determine the most important leadership qualities our participants came to a conclusion that the leader has to be:

- Active

- Leading healthy life

- Communicable

- Intelligent

- Purposeful

- With ability to listen to others

- Good speaker

- Inquisitive

- Many-sided

- With good sense of humor

- With ability to work in team

- Optimistic

We immediately decided to check our leaders for one of these qualities. We had four leaders that the participants chose by voting. We asked these leaders to prepare some kind of speech. Our leaders took the task very seriously and it took them ten minutes to prepare a speech. During this time we made some preparatory work among the other participants. We prepared a surprise for our leaders – the audience had completely inadequate reaction for their speeches. When they talked about most serious things the audience was laughing their heads off and when they said some kind of nonsense the audience applauded. It was a hard but funny lesson that showed that the leadership is a very serious thing demanding psychological training. In such a positive mood we ended our second training day.

On the third day our European experts Geert and Tatyana told the participants about the situation in different European countries and explained the work of European Network against racism and xenophobia.

After that we talked about social projecting and about the possible actions for prophylaxis of extremism and promotion of ideas of tolerance among youth. As a most easy to realize the participants chose a form of thematically related flash-mob. The most popular among other ideas were projects of photo-cross, tolerance camp for children from troubled families, tolerance trainings at schools.

Our training culminated with a loud and harmonious scream:

WHO IF NOT US?

WHERE IF NOT HERE?

WHEN IF NOT NOW?

Marina Nikiforova