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Online Toolkit

Part 3 - The Peace Bag Partners, Projects, and Peacebuilders

Greece

HAI – (Hellenic Association of Informatics) is an NGO founded in 1992. The main objective of H.A.I. is expanding awareness among young people, and society in general. The principle method has been the use of information technology, and tools of the digital age to enhance participation. Believing in the power of information, HAI uses ICT tools to support social, cultural and environmental activities, including lifelong learning and adult education.

Promoting the ideals of social participation and involvement, through the use of modern information technologies, they encourage young people to get involved in events, seminars and exchanges, either organised by HAI, or in co-operation with other groups and NGO's across Europe. By understanding the ever-growing importance of technology, HAI is able to reach young people at a time when youth are faced with many challenges in society, by providing unlimited possibilities of participation, information and expression of opinions at a low cost and easy access for all.

Their activities began in the field of volunteerism in 1998, as they promoted the European Voluntary Service (EVS). They have worked as an EVS hosting organisation, taking part in Leonardo and Grundtvig programs, organising trainings and seminars in Greece, and also a member of MILSET Europe (International Movement for Leisure Activities in Science & Technology).


PEACEbag (Greece)

Intercultural dialogue, peace

From 23-30 March 2011, a EuroMed training seminar called PEACEbag was organised by Hai in Athens, Greece. The main aim of the project was to follow up on the work of the Peace Bag project in Barcelona, by bringing together partner organisations to further reach a broader constituency in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Through the project, youth workers examined current real-life issues and stories that are related to intercultural problems. The objective was to analyse different possible alternatives to deal with these issues, using intercultural understanding tools.

Through participative, intercultural, and non-formal methodologies, the project aimed to foster intercultural understanding and mutual respect through dialogue - while at the same time building capacities and skills for peace work among the youth participants.

Results: Through the training, a network of contacts between European and South Mediterranean countries was built – adding to its already existing Peace Bag for EuroMed Youth database. Youth workers also had an increased understanding and appreciation of Euro-Mediterranean culture. Most importantly, participants developed their abilities: to engage themselves and their organisations in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, and to integrate the learned intercultural perspectives in their work.
Through this project, cooperation initiatives related to peace and conflict transformation were built - putting into action the important lessons and tools learned from this Peace Bag toolkit.


Meet a Peacebuilder:

ειρηνη! I am Stefanos. Fifteen years ago, I met a young guy who was born blind. The energy of this person is so amazing! He speaks four languages, which he taught himself, and finished university; and also travels around the world. And it surprises me because he says "I don't visit and see this city." After this meeting I started to think that it's not an excuse for someone to not try to be a better person and be active in the society. With this inspiration, I started working in the Youth Sector.


The country

Greece has been hit especially hard by the economic crisis in 2009. The youth are particularly vulnerable, facing a growing absence of ordinary life choices, and daily challenges associated with high unemployment, wage cuts, and concern over the cost and provision of basic security needs such as accommodation and health treatment. With growing unrest, it is not surprising that youths are participating in mass protests, demonstrations and strikes.[41]

The issue of immigration, coupled with austerity measures, has also increased racial tensions. Greece had become a site for refugees from a number of former communist countries in Eastern Europe and was underprepared, contributing to divisive and racist tensions, especially toward Albanians.

The historical and cultural heritage of Greece resonates throughout the EuroMed region - in literature, art, philosophy and politics. Democracy actually began in Greece and the word itself comes from the Greek "demos", which means people and "krakos", which means power.[42]