“More similarities than differences,” Kosovo youth advocate for reconciliation

Speeches Shim

Thursday, October 21, 2021
Kosovo youngster at the reconciliation workshop
USAIDKosovo

At first glance, it may look like any other mixed-media art exhibition—photographs, videos, theater, stories. However, the diverse group of young people from across Kosovo, representing both Kosovo-Albanian and Kosovo-Serbian communities, are creating more than art. Together they are advocating for reconciliation. During the recent Youth Exchange exhibition in Mitrovica, the participants of five youth exchange programs organized by USAID’s Kosovo Youth Dialogue Activity presented to the general public their experiences and impressions.  They told powerful stories of visits to various historical and religious sites throughout Kosovo important to each other’s communities and shared thoughts on reconciliation and the importance of jointly addressing the challenges common for all young Kosovo citizens, regardless of their identity. 

Speaking to the public at the exhibition Miodrag Živković, a Kosovan Serb participant, shared his thoughts after the exchange, “Living together is possible, I have gained many friends from this experience that I still keep in touch with. The language creates a barrier in communication, but we as young people are the future of peace in Kosovo.” During the exchange programs, young people had many opportunities to share their lived experiences, ideas, and opinions, as well as learn more about reconciliation, dealing with the past, and intercultural dialogue. “I think (the programs) helped me to see the young people from the Serbian community, to talk with them, to see how they live, how they feel in Kosovo,” stated Fisnik Topalli, a Kosovan Albanian participant.

The five youth exchange programs, implemented by Youth Initiative for Human Rights—Kosovo, engaged over 130 motivated young people throughout Kosovo. By working on joint video, photography, storytelling, and theater projects, the participants are using art as a medium for dialogue and cooperation, as well as for jointly opposing the nationalist narratives that exist in Kosovo society. The effect of this cooperation is well expressed by  Albin Sermaxhaj, a Kosovan Albanian participant: “We have more similarities than differences with each other.”

 

Last updated: November 19, 2021

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