Over 20 young leaders from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area are invited to be involved in a new phase of a conflict transformation and Srebrenica programme, funded by the PEACE IV programme, supported by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, and organised by Remembering Srebrenica UK.
This phase of the programme follows on from a highly successful first phase in 2019 which involved 17 young leaders from the Council area.
Fifty years after the world said “Never Again” to the horrors of the Holocaust, genocide took place in Bosnia, just three hours from Northern Ireland by direct flight.
The name Srebrenica has become synonymous with those dark days in July 1995 when in the first-ever United Nations declared safe area, over 8,000 men and boys were systematically murdered and buried in mass graves.
The victims, predominantly Muslim, were selected for death on the basis of their identity in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.
The Conflict Transformation and Srebrenica programme will recruit another 20 young leaders between 18-24 years of age to undertake a series of educational workshops which will culminate in a four-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina to see and hear at first hand the causes, impact and lessons of the Balkan conflict, siege of Sarajevo and Srebrenica genocide.
The programme and visit will also explore aspects of peacebuilding there and here.
Commenting at the launch of the second phase of the programme Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Deputy Mayor, Councillor Beth Adger, said: “I am so impressed with the young leaders who participated in the first phase of the programme and what they came back having learnt from the people they met and the discussions they had.
“This new group of young leaders will have significant life-enhancing experience and will bring back their learning for the benefit of the Borough.
“I am delighted to be involved with this programme and want to encourage young people from the Borough to consider taking part.”
Director of Remembering Srebrenica UK, Amil Khan, said: “While the first phase has just ended, it is great to see that the participants who took part are already using the lessons from what they have learned.
“The programme has had a profound impact upon the young leaders who have returned to their communities determined to raise awareness of the genocide and the importance of the need to tackle all forms of hatred and prejudice.
“This is reflected in the activities that they have undertaken which include producing articles and short films, participating in Holocaust Memorial Day and helping to organise the Srebrenica memorial event later in 2020.
“The programme provides a unique opportunity for participants to broaden their knowledge as there is much learning between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Northern Ireland as two regions still emerging from conflict, trying to make power-sharing work and dealing with many outstanding legacy issues.”
Alexandra Rosbotham, a young leader from the first phase said: “I didn’t really know what to expect from the programme but I am so glad I took part. The visit to Bosnia and Srebrenica was an experience I will never forget.
“It isn’t just learning about the effect of conflict and the similarities between there and here, it is also an emotional shock that brings home the real impact of violence on people and communities.”
The programme will include three workshops (two before the visit and one after) and a four-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2020, ending with a commemoration event in July marking the 25th anniversary of the genocide.
Information workshops will be held for anyone wanting to find out more on:
- Tuesday 11 February at 5.00 pm – Smiley Buildings, Victoria Road, LARNE
- Wednesday 12 February at 3.00 pm – ECOS Centre, BALLYMENA
- Thursday 13 February at 6.30 pm – Dobbs Room, Carrickfergus Town Hall, CARRICKFERGUS
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Match-funding for the programme has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.