The ERASMUS + KA1 Youth Exchange Project “Breaking walls, building bridges”, a transnational initiative, united 41 young people (18-30), including their leaders, from four (4) different countries: Armenia, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. EKO organized and coordinate the project, which took place in Athens, Greece, from 26th March – 4th April 2019.
This project served as the continuation of a longer, multi-stage effort that aims to improve the problematic relations among the participating countries, since it can be conceptualized as the complementary follow-up of an equivalent project already implemented in Armenia, and the predecessor of two projects, one in Cyprus and one in Turkey.
The central objective of the project was to unite young people through dialogue, cooperation and cultural sharing, so as to break the habit of prejudice and the course of racism from the root and to promote non-discrimination, respect for cultural diversity, a sense of solidarity and a strong commitment to protecting peace, even at the face of conflict.
Through a wide range of interactive workshops, seminars and creative activities, based on the methodology and principles of non-formal education, as well as a series of intercultural evenings and city visits, the participants shared ideas and deepened their understanding with regards to factors that lead and prolong conflict and intolerance, enhanced their interpersonal, critical thinking, and decision-making skills, boosted their confidence and participatory approach and learned about the other countries’ history, cultural heritage and habits. It was expected that through their direct contact and shared experiences during the Youth Exchange, the young participants would discover that what is fundamentally human remains the same irrespective of political, cultural, or religious differences.