Quo vadis, Europe? German-Ukrainian-Russian Youth Exchange on Building a Safer Future (Weimar). Part II

Sessions on Peace and Conflicts in Soceity & Non-violent Communication at Quo Vadis, Europe? 🕊
After exploring the global political trends we went one level down and looked at conflicts in society and inter-personal relations. What fuels a conflict? How does it appear? And how can we resolve it and achieve peaceful co-existence with our surroundings? 🌿
All those questions were asked and answered during the sessions. A solution to conflicts resolution was found in non-violent communication methodic. Four components of the NVC 🙅🏻 (observation, feelings, needs and requests) presented at the sessions helped the participants to get ready to heated discussions and possible conflictive situations, even with the representatives of radical ideas. During the case studies the participants practiced analysing the roots of the conflicts and tried to propose their own solutions.
Answering the question of where Europe is going (Quo Vadis, Europe?) requires not only the political and economical background, but also certain amount of soft skills and competences in communication, which will be used in practice. That is why we paid attention to the topic of conflict management during the youth exchange.

Meeting with the expert at Quo Vadis, Europe? 👨🏽‍💼
On 8th of August afternoon we got a visit from Martin Arnold-Schaarschmidt, a representative of local Erfurter initiative Plattform e.V.. Martin told the participants of Quo Vadis, Europe? German-Ukrainian-Russian Youth Exchange about the daily work of the Plattform and the projects it implements in the city with youth and for youth. Such projects are Ladebalken, EYERP, Saline 34 – a wonderful example of place-making and urban development. 🏢
The participants also used the opportunity to ask their questions about how is it possible to engage more young people in social activities, how to get access to a target group and how to build a sustainable project at all. Martin provided guidance and navigated the participants through their concerns and fears with proper questions.
The knowledge on youth work and exchange of best practises from it is essential part of preparing the agents of change in the participating countries, therefore it was very useful to meet with Martin and hear about Plattform e.V.

Visit to the Buchenwald Memorial | Gedenkstätte Buchenwald
As part of the Quo Vadis, Europe? German-Ukrainian-Russian Youth Exchange project the youth from Germany, Ukraine and Russia visited Buchenwald Memorial and had a guided tour there. For many participants it was quite an emotional experience, as the National Socialism regime in Germany and cruelties of the Second World War intersected their family past.

Preparing for the Simulation Game 🎭
In the evening we started to prepare for the most epic part of the youth exchange – the simulation game! Everyone was asked to read the role, think about it find the conflicts there, find their enemies and allies, come up with a special outfit 👔 that will signalise, that the person is know in the game.
The simulation game exercise is an important milestone of the program, because it allows the participants to deal with conflict situation in the safe environment and figure out the model of behaviour without severe consequences. The picked by the trainers game included the conflicts not only on political, economical and societal levels, but also on personal one. This way the participants could realise the ubiquitous interconnection and complexity of life.

The simulation Game «Fathers and Sons» at Quo Vadis, Europe? 👀
And so the 11th of August we begin with stepping over the border and talking on a new role 🎭. Here we had a greedy mayor, a once successful but now struggling for new sources of income company «Alfa», a tribe which worships the spirits of ancestors, some personalities striving for power, some trying to make peace and undo the mistakes of the past… Here we had a conflict of fathers and sons.
The outcomes of the game were as much interesting as the initial settings ⚙️: fathers’ forgiveness, family unification, precious land with historical and cultural heritage under the protection of UNESCO, business diversification and a revolution for the corrupted government. All that in a half a day timeframe. A small life ☺️ lived by the participants outside of their comfort zone. Everyone learned a lesson of their own.

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