We have askes some of the participants why they have joined this years youth conference. Here are their answers:
Ma'ayan Agmon (Israel)
"I take part in the conference because every time I join I learn something new. This knowledge serves me at conversations with people from my close environment, both professional and personal. My expectation is to learn more this year (which is already happening ). Diversity to me is a complicated word since it's often used by people who don't celebrate it, such as companies that say they are diverse but in reality they are very far from it. Diversity to me is the most basic thing in the universe- without it there would be no evolution, no speciation, no animals, no humans. We are all inherently diverse so it's so funny that we as a society need to speak about it. The sad kind of funny."
Natalija Slavkovic (Serbia)
"I have been a part of Europeans for Peace for three years now as a participant so it is my previous experiences that made me want to participate again. This year’s topic is very important, especially considering recent events and the questions they sparked. Do we truly live in a fair meritocracy in which everyone is equal? I strongly believe that it is not the case and that notion is something we tell ourselves to justify the injustices. For me, diversity is the ability to exist as your genuine self without fear and without a need to conform or silence yourself. For a space to be truly diverse, apart from existing, different voices need to be heard and valued equally. From this year’s conference I expect to learn from people with different experiences then my own and to understand some new perspectives I may have never thought about before."
Mariia Panchenko (Ukraine)
"Hello everyone! I am Mariia, a law student from Ukraine and I am so happy to take part in the conference again. Last year it gave me a lot of motivation and inspiration to make the space around me more tolerant and accepting. So, I decided to get even more information and methods for improvement this year and spread this knowledge in my local community, especially in social media. I am really excited to understand some aspects of discrimination more deeply through new information, workshops and the most interesting - interactions with other participants. Nothing inspires me more than communication with conscious people. To my mind, diversity is a right to be yourself as you really are. When the world accepts you with any characteristics just because you are free to have anything you like to have. Diversity - for me - is connected to such words as tolerance, acceptance, differences, equality and right of choice.
Hamlet Simonyan (Armenia)
"This is the second year of my involvement in Europeans for Peace for which I am extremely happy. I am taking part in this project to exchange ideas on diversity, inclusion and equality with my peers from other countries. By taking part in this activity, I expect not only to share my experience but also learn a lot from participants as well as field professionals, trainers. I am here to develope the skills I have and obtain new ones too, and I can ensure you that this conference is an enormous source of knowledge, tools and skills (thanks to the best organizing team ever!). I am fond of intercultural communication and I do believe this conference is a great opportunity to experience it. The key topic of this year is diversity and it is a huge reason I am here too. Diversity, in my opinion, is an inseparable part of a human existence, especially in the 21st century. Thus, what we should do is to treat it in a tolerant and non-discriminative way because accepting and celebrating the diverse world is how we can make it a better place to live in."
Annika Scharnagl (Germany)
"For me, diversity means accepting other people as they are and appreciating how diverse we all are. To celebrate this and to exchange and learn more about it are my motivations to participate in this conference. I expect to gain more knowledge about diversity and to be able to broaden my own horizon. I specifically chose the Culture-Workshop to question my own prejudices. This was done in a special way and I was able to take a lot of it with me. I was particularly pleased that I was able to hear familiar things from the university during the events. In my opinion, getting to know other people and exchanging ideas is the first step towards a society in which every person is accepted. I am very happy that I can participate in this conference, get so much informative input and have the opportunity to broaden my horizon."
Written by: Lili Guguchia