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European-wide Action Week Against Racism

During the European-wide Action Week Against Racism, the Center for Interethnic Cooperation arranged two youth activities.

On the 17th of March the press-conference, �We Have Won the War, But We Have Not Defeated Racism� took place at the Independent Press Center. Representatives of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, as well as leaders from several ethnic youth organisations participated in the press-conference. Among the participants present were Natalya Khrechkova from the German Youth Union, Alexei Kolganov from the Jewish organisation �MAROM�, and representatives of Armenian and Georgian organizations of Moscow. Participants of the press-conference spoke about the manifestation of racism as being especially contradictory in Russia. 60 years ago, Russia took huge losses in the war against fascist Germany. The participants also told j ournalists about their experience with discrimination of ethnic minorities and stressed the necessity to fight racism in Russian society. Katrin Hoehne, a German volunteer of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, made a report about different anti-racism activities that had taken place in various European countries last year and that were going to take place this year. Information about the press-conference was broadcasted by the TV company �Mir� in several CIS countries.

On the 19th of March, the Center for Interethnic Cooperation arranged the round-table meeting �Fight Against Racism: What Can Youth Organisations Do?� Representatives of several national youth organisations from Moscow and Saint Petersburg (the German Youth Union, the Union of Armenians of Russia, the Jewish Organisation �MAROM�, the Association of Georgians of Russia), as well as students from Moscow universities participated in the round table. Ashot Airapetian, the director of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, conducted the round table. The round table took place in the German-Russian House in Moscow.

The round-table started as an informal meeting. The participants spoke about themselves and their organisations and played interactive games. The participants also had an opportunity to get acquainted with UNITED materials.

During the round-table, many important issues were discussed. First, the participants were divided into groups according to their organisations and were asked to give a definition of such notions as �racism�, �nationalism�, �fascism� and �xenophobia�.

Then they were divided into mixed groups and were asked to name the possible consequences of the absence of national policy in Russia. All groups agreed that if no steps were taken, it would result in the collapse of the Russian state and total degradation of society. The participants told that national organisations do not only have to maintain and develop their own culture, but have to contribute to inter-cultural communication and to fight nationalism and racism. Ashot Airapetian told about the European experience as far as the action against racism is concerned. Then new groups were created so that all nations were present in every group and were asked to answer the question: �What can youth organisations do to fight racism in Russian society?� The participants created a whole system of different activities aimed at inter-cultural cooperation and tolerance.

The round-table was finished with tea and informal conversation between the participants. They decided to arrange another meeting in order to make their plans come to fruition.

� 1993-2003

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