10 August 2019

Progress of GEYC Community in RAN Young Empowerment Academy

RAN YOUNG Empowerment Academy is a programme in which young people from all over the EU (aged 18-25) develop their knowledge, skills, and competencies in order to set up their own local initiatives to prevent radicalisation. In one year, the participants will attend 4 Academy sessions. In the meanwhile, within their communities, the participants work on implementing their own initiatives. The sessions guide the participants in their process of setting up an initiative and creating local impact.

Three GEYC Community members have been participating to 2 training sessions in Amsterdam and Bordeaux in which they developed their skills and knowledge in the area of preventing and countering extremism and radicalisation. Alexandra-Georgina Turtulea, Iulia Maria Tintas and Zsolt Chis have proposed a local initiative in their city, Cluj-Napoca back in January this year. Their initiative’s main focus is bringing awareness and preventing the radicalisation manifestations between Romanian and Hungarian communities in their city.

The project’s concept is a one weekend event which will target Romanian and Hungarian youth between 18 and 35 years old, other youth who want to meet them and support their integration in the community of Cluj-Napoca, as well as experts and practitioners in the area of preventing radicalisation and academic staff specialised in the affairs between Romania and Hungary.

“The objective we want to follow is work that seeks to bring awareness of the inter-cultural tension, propaganda, hate speech and harmful collective mentality. The work aims to foster trust through empathy towards the existing hostility, support dialogue and mutual understanding, build social cohesion and decrease the marginalisation. We are looking forward to creating a comfortable and youthful environment for young people where they can speak up, address grievance constructively by bringing skills in communication, advocacy and collaborative problem solving.”

The RAN YOUNG Empowerment Academy (RYEA) held its first session ‘KICK-OFF AND SETTING GOALS!’ in Amsterdam between 25 and 27 March. Alexandra, Iulia and Zsolt were trained in the use of group and personal development tools, attended workshops, learnt about the process of radicalisation and its root causes, and worked on developing their initiative.  The key lessons that have been highlighted there are: understanding the context within which they are operating as young activists, mapping the important aspects of proposed solutions, so that the initiative meets the need and defining the problem as it is useful to gain a deep understanding of the phenomenon of radicalisation, its root causes, and of prevention work in general. Other presented concepts were: FIRO – A THEORY OF INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS (inclusion - honeymoon - role seeking - honeymoon – cooperation), GROWTH model (Goals, Reality, Options, Will, Tactics, Habits), WORKSHOP: ‘’CREATING WIN WIN SITUATIONS – HOW TO APPROACH A PARTNER’’, WORKSHOP: ‘’ THE FEEDBACK STAIRS’, SMART, SWOT.

The second session of the RYEA ‘CHALLENGES AND PROGRESS!’ was held on 7 and 8 May in Bordeaux, France. The aim of this second meeting was twofold. Firstly, to overcome challenges encountered in developing a local initiative for preventing and countering extremism and radicalisation. Secondly, to chart progress made since the last meeting and to further develop the project. As such, storytelling and advocacy methods were presented to participants to help them tailor messages for different purposes. Participants were also asked to reflect on their project plan objectives based on the different evaluation methods (SWOT, SMART, feedback and mapping). 

By now, the Romanian team created design concepts for Facebook and Instagram pictures. They have participated in brainstorming sessions with their local Mentor Claudiu Sulea in order to identify their real need and partners. The team has currently 4 NGO’s supporting their activity and another member of GEYC Community – Marina Girbea helping into project planning. 

During the summer months, Alexandra, Iulia and Zsolt will continue to make steps into implementing the project’s plan which will materialize in a one weekend event in late November 2019.