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Report on seminar and training session in Perm � 21-22nd of April 2007

We went to Perm from the 21-22nd of April to again meet with local youth in order to discuss the question of fighting extremism and xenophobia. This was made possible thanks to the financial support of the National Fund for Democracy and the Mott Foundation (U.S). The training session was carried out in a wonderful venue, the Perm State Gorky Library.

The youth of Perm pleasantly surprised us right from the start. First and foremost nobody was late as is usually the case when the seminar is held on the outskirts of the city and especially on a weekend. In addition to this there were a far greater number of people interested in the theme of our training session than we had supposed. We had expected a turn out of 16 people but there were 5 times that number. If we are going to discuss the youth of Perm, then there is no one better placed than the participants of our seminar themselves to characterize it.

And so, from their point of view, the average young person in Perm is:

- Self confident
- Sociable, communicative
- Practical
- Focused

After such results, we were even more interested to find out what �Tolerance� meant to these young people.

On the whole, the participants not only produced identical answers but also used the same vocabulary to express their ideas. However, there was less unanimity amongst the participants when time came to estimate the level of tolerance amongst youth in the region. We proposed a five point scale, with 1 being �terrible� and 5, �excellent�. Two people gave a grade of 2, twelve people 3, five people 4 and one person gave 5.

The next turn in the discussion was entirely logical.

What are the reasons for such a low level of tolerance in the Perm region?

  1. Socio-economical instability
  2. Surplus of energy
  3. Pseudo-patriotism
  4. A desire to fit in with peers
  5. A way to assert oneself
  6. Aggressive inclinations
  7. Low intellect
  8. Susceptibility to ideology
  9. Absence of ones own opinions
  10. To increase ones own status
  11. Feeling of importance and superiority
  12. Material gain
  13. Absence of alternatives
  14. Absence of a national idea
  15. Limited views, a narrow minded outlook
  16. Psychological conflict in the family
  17. Social influence in schools (or in the street or college)
  18. Social circle
  19. Activity of extremist groups and leaders
  20. Drugs, alcohol
  21. The media
  22. Envy
And what concrete actions can youth organizations take to promote the development of tolerance in Perm? When this question was asked at the seminar, the young people answered:

Group No. 1:

  1. Mass events (Conferences, celebrations, concerts)
  2. Cooperation with the media
  3. Cooperation with the organs of power
  4. Release of recorded material (audio, video)
  5. Cooperation with other social organizations
  6. Teaching tolerance in schools
  7. Organizing and carrying out interethnic camps

Group No.2:

  1. Creating a collective organization
  2. Creating programs aimed at different social institutions but based on one idea
  3. Creating a methodical center for the study of the work of these programs
  4. Publications
  5. Festival of friendship between peoples. Carry out a carnival-style parade featuring representatives of different cultures on the Day of the City
  6. Interregional cooperation

Group No.3:

  1. Identify the Problems
  2. Engage attention by way of
       - Mass events
       - The media
       - Involving educational institutions
  3. The creation of peaceful alternatives to fascist organizations
  4. Conducting explanatory work

Further we considered it urgent to demonstrate the main ways of realizing these projects, especially as one of the groups had identified the need for this work. Having been divided into three groups and chosen the most interesting and feasible projects that could be carried out in Perm, the young people set to work. The results of this work turned out to be extremely impressive.

Project �Harmony� (Tolerance lessons in schools)

Goal: The inculcation of tolerant views and behavior amongst school children in the Perm region
  1. An analysis of the situation revealing the most �painful� points
  2. Developing ways of working with schoolchildren
  3. Carrying out the events
  4. Summarizing the experience and releasing methodical manuals
Organizer: Open Company �Temple of Tolerance�.
Executors: Specialists under contract and volunteers
Main events:
  1. Seminar
  2. Training Session
  3. Lectures
  4. Talk show
  5. Festival
  6. Publication of methodical manuals
  7. Press conference
Duration: From May 2007 to May 2008 Budget:
  - Salary of specialists and project leaders: 40 000 rubles
  - Travel: 30 000 rubles
  - Office material: 10 000 rubles
  - Publication material: 10 000 rubles
  - Carrying out the festival: 20 000 rubles

Partners: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, libraries, media, publishing houses, ethnic organizations, �LUKOIL�
Sources of financing: regional and municipal budgets, sponsors, social organizations.

Project �Ark� (interethnic camp)

Goal: Promoting tolerance amongst young people Tasks:
  1. Educational work
  2. Sports and cultural events
Organizers and executors: volunteers from social organizations from previous training sessions
Main Events:
  1. Training sessions
  2. Cognitive games
  3. Evening events
  4. Competitions
  5. Getting acquainted with other cultures

Anastasiya Sviyazova

� 1993-2003

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