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Понедельник 24 Июля

Главная Новости Центра Yaroslavl, a Town of Slavonic Glory, hosts Tolerant Youth
Yaroslavl, a Town of Slavonic Glory, hosts Tolerant Youth
Автор: Volunteer   

Yaroslavl is a city which one would call proper Russian. Golden domes of the Orthodox churches, bells greeting the whole city from time to time, Volga river, old Kremlin walls…

These things perfectly fit the stereotype of a real Slavonic town. One could be mistaken and think that such place might not be the best choice for spreading the ideas of multiculturalism and tolerance. At first, the society might seem too close for any interethnic action whatsoever. However, as it is known, living according to stereotypes is never an answer; it is just a way of “saving oneself from the trouble of learning”.

Afterall, denouncing stereotypes is what the team of The Center for Interethnic Cooperation always tries to do. They have conducted several trainings and seminars on the theme “Diffusion of ideas of tolerance among the youth” for leaders of youth’s and student’s organizations in different cities in Russia. It happened to be that I participated in these events both in Moscow and Yaroslavl. And after leaving Yaroslavl, it seemed that Moscow with its vibrant and multicultural atmosphere was actually losing in the terms of tolerance.

We started off slowly in Yaroslavl: the first day’s conference with more than a hundred of local students seemed to be a heavy start. Formal speeches of the local representatives, visiting guests/experts and no direct interaction with the participants might not have seemed too attractive or inspiring. However, this part of the whole happening was also a defining moment, since that was where the partakers got enough information to decide for themselves whether the topic of tolerance was of any importance in their lives. Some of them left without turning back, some of them proceeded with the trainings. And that is where the things got motivating.

Trainings on tolerance for smaller groups are always quite moving, since people get to know each other and become more open. Personally, I found out that openness is a key factor in acknowledging the concept of tolerance. Sharing personal experience is a crucially important part of the training, which makes the whole action more efficient and productive. Listening to each other’s stories about narrow-mindedness or discrimination made it all more realistic. I started to feel that TOLERANCE is no more just a big word used for a positive propaganda, but it is actually becoming a clearly achievable goal. 

It was especially attention-grabbing to listen to our friend and expert from St. Petersburg Valence Mineragena, who made us rethink the situation of those homeless and forgotten, of the people without identity.

The closing stage of the first day was “the evening of friendship” – an evening full of traditional music and dances, organized by the hosts in a cozy and less formal environment. It has been proved that such evenings make the work next day a lot easier, since it serves as a certain unifying point. And easier it was.

On the second day of the event the participants seemed to be more thematically orientated, active and creative. As a part of the training students produced their own social advertising campaigns, discussed the things to be done to improve the intolerant attitude in the local society and in general. The final part of the training was the development of group projects related to the spreading of tolerance ideas. Students started to believe that it was actually possible to make things better with a bit of effort, cooperation and support from the side.

To sum up, it would be naïve to believe that this event in Yaroslavl changed the lives of all its participants and now all of them actively propagate the idea of tolerance in their everyday life. However, it seemed to have touched many… Many of them ended up enthusiastic, passionate and driven by the idea of tolerant society, what naturally brings us to the prospect of open-minded and unprejudiced culture.