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Learning about diverse and inclusive youth work through Mandala – APY

Over the past week, more than 35 youngsters from 12 different countries gathered in Dilijan, Armenia, in the scope of “Managing Diversity for a more inclusive youth work” (Mandala) seminar to enhance their knowledge of the implementation of diverse and inclusive youth work. The main objective of the seminar was to teach the participants about the mechanisms that could be used to spread awareness on the topic of diversity within youth work and the importance of inclusive project design/management. The seminar was also an opportunity for the participants to create international connections as youth workers and use those connections for the benefit of their communities.

The training seminar started off with many interactive games and tasks, that promoted team building which would help the participants to get to know each other. Then the group quickly dove into the theoretical background of the topic and was, therefore, able to get a more profound understanding of the role of a diverse mindset and inclusion for youth work and for society. As a part of these theoretical inputs, the participants learned about stereotypes, prejudice, and inclusion, the technique of the “6 thinking hats” and the “pyramid of hate”. 

Besides the theoretical education on the general topic, the facilitators enacted a series of practical activities to give the participants a chance to practically use their knowledge. Pursuing that objective, our participants formed groups and became facilitators for a couple of hours. Working in groups they prepared and implemented an interactive non-formal learning session which included democratic discussions, a group task on ethnocentrism, and a game that shines a spotlight on the privileges you have. As a result, the participants mastered skills that they can take back home and use in their own communities. Besides the daily activities and sessions held by the facilitators, the participants also organized cultural nights to offer an insight into the traditions and cultural elements of their countries. They also had a study visit to the “YCCD”-NGO to learn about a local NGO which promotes social entrepreneurship and helps people find employment through training courses. One of the highlights for the participants was the trip to Sevanavank Monastery to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Lake Sevan.

The project was implemented by Armenian Progressive Youth in collaboration with Jongeren voor Uitwisseling en Begrip (JUB). The project is funded under the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

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