Regional Youth Cooperation Project: Final online webinar in Mostar
After many months of hard work, the complete adaptation of the project due to the “new normal” and after having transferred all the activities online, we got to the final seminar for our first regional project “Transforming the Region One Conversation at A Time – Inspiring Youth Cultural Cooperation”, supported by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office – RYCO. This seminar was the third major event, hosted by our partners from Bosnia, OKC Abrašević. The day of the 28th of November was also an occasion for the participants’ teams to present the pilot projects they worked on.
The seminar consisted of four parts, where in the first part participants presented the projects they developed with their teams and mentors, the second one was dedicated to the lecture on new methods of (re)evaluation of projects, hosted by Ilija Pujić, the third one was organized as a presentation and discussion about the Mostar’s candidacy for the European Capital of Culture, done by Tanja Miletić-Oručević while the last part was a virtual visit to the Partisan monument and cemetery in Mostar, narrated by Ronald Panza.
In the first part of the seminar, we attended a presentation not only of great ideas that aim to connect young people from the region but also the results of joint work. Even though transferring the project completely online was a game-changing step, teams adapted successfully and ended up making various projects – from short documentary movies, creating an Instagram account dedicated to language learning, and experimental artistic movies, to reciting the same poem in three languages and online tours of three cities. It seems like all of them were but the start of a regional network of young, ambitious people, ready to pass on the knowledge, experience, and values of mentorship they gained throughout this project.
Shortly after the presentation of these numerous ideas and results of hard work, Ilija Pujic, a youth cultural worker and actor with rich experience in projects that use theater as a tool for overcoming division in the communities held a lecture on new methods of (re)evaluating projects. The lecture opened many new perspectives on the different factors that affect any project – from social, environmental, or any other aspect, depending on the context and overall circumstances of the community. Using a very detailed and systematic table to show all the categories and illustrate the system, Ilija gave an inspiring insight on how culture and cultural projects can be used efficiently in different backgrounds and contexts, even when faced with great challenges.
Then, Tanja Oručević Miletić, a well-known Bosnian theater director, shared her experience of using the theater as a tool for building bridges in divided communities, reducing prejudice, and reinventing healthier relations between people. Tanja also touched on the topic of being a part of the team working on the application for the city of Mostar as the European Capital of Culture and all the challenges that brought. She explained that this project is so important to Mostar community in order to overcome some unresolved, lingering bias.
The very last part of this seminar was a virtual walk at the Partisan monument and cemetery in Mostar, narrated by Ronald Panza, one of the mentors in this project. In this creative way, Ronald shared with us the story behind this monument, an architectural masterpiece created by the architect Bogdan Bogdanović. Walking through the monument and listening to the soothing voice narrating the rich story behind this place, was a perfect finish of this project. We started it live and visited together different, culturally important places in Belgrade, and now at the end, we were virtually walking together again and discovering new sites in Mostar. The whole audio tour is available here.
In the end, we can say that the project come to the end successfully. The long months of changes, adaptations, and hard work paid off and the cooperation of young people from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia gave us concrete and valuable results in different forms; a sort of legacy to testify how creativity and openness can go a long way, even in the most unusual times. They can even help us overcome them more easily.