Expert panel on the efficiency of international youth dialogues
How do international youth encounters support cross-border dialogue and understanding? This was the leading question on 28 March 2017 at an exchange at the Embassy of Iceland in Berlin, hosted by the Icelandic Ambassador to Germany Martin Eyjólfsson and the Director General of the Permanent International Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), Ambassador Maira Mora.
On the occasion of the conclusion of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue’s trial phase, organisers and supporters of the project, among them the Körber Foundation, gathered to reflect on the achievements of the last three years and discussed the interim results with guests from the fields of politics and civil society.
Ambassador Guðmundur Árni Stefánsson, representing the current Icelandic CBSS presidency, pointed out that multilateral and cross-border projects with young Europeans are seen as a cornerstone of regional cooperation between the Baltic Sea states. Katja Fausser, Program Director at the Körber Foundation and Managing Director of EUSTORY, pointed out why history makes for a good starting point when it comes to cross-border dialogue. “Looking at history together allows us to access different understanding and assessments of the past, and therefore to reconsider long-standing stereotypes”, she explained at a panel discussion.
The Körber Foundation was co-initiator of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue and operative partner of the first two installments in 2014 and 2015. More than 80 young Europeans, mainly awardees of the EUSTORY Member Competitions, met in Estonia and Poland and worked on the past and present of the Baltic Sea region. Both youth encounters focused on questions of history and identity and allowed the participants to meet historians, local and national decision-makers, as well as contemporary witnesses and peers. During intense workshops under the guidance of educators, historians and artists, they processed their own impressions – enriched by new information – and presented their results to the public during an official closing event. “While reflecting our personal identities I was introduced to a number of new designs of identity which helps to put myself in somebody‘s shoes in the future”, one of the young participants summarised.
The panel discussed methods which young Europeans could apply to productively approach history, as well as abstract concepts such as "identity" or "home." Vivid impressions of this process are displayed in the Instagram exhibition #balticeye. Posters of the results have been shown in Narva, Brussels, Hamburg and Kiel.
More information on the expert panel can be found on the online representation of Iceland.
All results of the three years trial phase of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogues are collected on on the CBSS website.