Values Of Youth And Grounds For Expressıon

VOYAGE” (Values Of Youth And Grounds for Expression) was a Youth Exchange Project which took place in Balıkesir with the participation 39 young people from 4 program countries: Lithuania, Turkey, Latvia and Romania. The main theme of this project was the conflict between the values of people and the freedom of expression. With this project, we had the opportunity to evaluate how the youth was taking the life values, lifestyles and preferences within the framework of the freedom of expression. 9 young participants + 1 group leader from each partner organization took part in this project. The young participants were between 18 and 25 years old. According to European Union Human Rights Declaration everyone has the right of free speech. The explanation and communication of the thoughts and beliefs are one of the most valuable rights of the human. For this reason every citizen may talk, write and publish freely, however, he/she is responsible for the misuse of this right under the law. In addition to this, the European Union Human Rights Declaration is considered as the most substantial expression of democracy, peace, justice and the unalienable rights of the people living in our society. Today, when we have a look at the problems arising as part of the freedom of speech and media, a cultural clash is developing and this is also stirring terrorist attacks. The problem here in Europe is the rise of the marginal groups and this situation is not only threatening the immigrants within Europe but also the integrative values of the European Union (USAK, 2011). Events such as the publishing of “The Satanic Verses”, the crash on 11th of September in USA, the Islamic cartoons, global crises, etc. all stir the tendency of calling the minorities “other”. The rise of the anti-Muslim protests in Europe are followed by the protest and violent acts of Muslim groups. “The Charlie Hebdo” incident is the evidence of how serious a problem that has been. Statements such as “opposition to immigrants”, “the deportation of the Muslims”, “the formation of strict border checkpoints”, “revision of Schengen visa” etc. by marginal groups, damage the values of European Union. This problem is not just limited with religious incidents. The lifestyles of the individuals are intervened by others under the mask of freedom of speech. Some communities are faced with insults because of their lifestyles and preferences and they are alienated from the society. For example in some countries homosexuality is regarded as a health problem and the people are treated as a patient because of their sexual preferences. 

To be able to reach an understanding to the above summarized problems, our project had the following information for participants: Providing the participants with adequate information about the delicate values and lifestyles of different communities; developing a new understanding about the freedom of expression, the life values and styles, the causes and effects of some practices based on these phenomenon; setting forth the aspects of the conflict between the values, lifestyles and the freedom of speech which threaten the peaceful environment and diversity of European Union; improving skills for interacting with people from different backgrounds. Achieving these objectives will contribute to the betterment of the concept of EU active citizenship with a focus on the following aims: acquisition of a societal understanding seeing the diversities as power elements, increasing the level of intercultural competencies and thus removing the unseen boundaries among individuals and communities.
The project “VOYAGE” reached these results:
- A new understanding about the concepts of freedom of speech, life values, the practices based on these phenomenon and the outcomes.
- Contributing to the growing of the individuals who know better what being a European is; anyone who sees people that have different religions, languages, etc. as diversity.
- Creating a societal awareness which considers the differences as an element of power, not poverty.
- Strengthening the intercultural communication, harmony and competencies.
- Contributing to the responsible and active citizenship values of Europe.All the activities of the project will take place with the active participation of the participants. The young participants were in an active learning process; which included group discussions, presentations, workshops, drama, games, gallery making, and video display; based on experiential learning techniques accompanied by experienced moderators from the host organization.<

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