Supported by ERASMUS +

Youth exchanges from seven countries

Youth Seminar Castel Gandolfo 2015 sur Facebook



RfP European Assembly 2015 28 Oct. – 1 Nov. 2015

and International Youth Training Seminar 27 Oct. – 2 Nov. 2015

Castel Gandolfo



The Religions for Peace European Assembly 2015, took place atCastel Gandolfo,Italy, on 28 October – 1 November 2015, and gathered 290 faith and religious people from 28 countries and ten different religious communities and faith traditions, hosted by the Focolare Movement.

“Welcoming each other: from Fear to Trust”, the theme of the Assembly is a crucial and predominant issue that Europe is facing today: fears are spreading throughout the different nations of the continent, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and the waves of incoming refugees cause fears on many sides. Religious communities are encouraging everyone to act in cooperation with all people of good will.

The theme was addressed in three sub-topics: “Inner peace”, “Freedom of expression” and “Protecting the most vulnerable”. Experts, leaders, young people, women, all were strongly urging to be aware that the contribution of each and every one was needed to reach the goal of this encounter. This was implemented through a programme articulated in three steps: plenary sessions with panels involving a variety of voices from religious people, experts and also people directly affected by the main problems Europe is facing today; followed up by a variety of workshops where the participants deepened their reflexions on the issues and prepared recommendations for future action; and back in plenary again where reports and recommendations were presented as outcomes of the participants’ contribution in the workshops, followed by best practices shared.

Greeting from officials and religious leaders: greetings were presented to the Assembly from distinguish guests and participants in the Assembly: Ms Katharina von Schnurbein, Co-ordinator of the Dialogue with Churches, Religions and Philosophical and Non-confessional organisations; Bhai Sahib Ji Bhai Mohinder Singh Aluwalia, Spiritual Leader and Chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, United Kingdom member of ECRL; Edmond Brahimaj, Head of the Bektashi community; Metropolitan Antonii, Eparchy of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for Western and Central Europe; Mgr Luigi Bressan Archbishop of Trento; Mrg Siluan Span, Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church of Italy, Revd Dr Manuel Barrios, Director for Ecumenism and Inter-religious relations, Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Revd Keiichi Akagawa, Deputy Director of External Affairs Department of Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation, Rissho kosei-kai; Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia Herzegovina, Dr. Mustafa Y Ali, Secretary General, Global Network of Religions for Children. A symbolic moment during the session of greetings was represented by Zosia Socha, from the European Interfaith Youth Network, with her young baby in her arms.

Keynote Speaker: Philip McDonald, ambassador of Ireland to the OSCE; Fears that affect Europe: the responsibility of religions for building trust in pluralist societies

As part of the larger agenda of the Assembly, an International Youth Training Seminar took place in parallel: “Empowering Youth for Interfaith and Multicultural Peace Action”, from 27 October to 2 November. The seminar gathered 54 young people and facilitators from 12 European countries and 8 religious communities and non-believers. They also participated in various Assembly activities and presented a report in a special youth plenary session with recommendations.

This common space with these two events running in parallel, gave visibility to what was in fact a big investment in human and spiritual resources that had led to make this into an opportunity for genuine dialogue in the fields of intercultural, interreligious and inter-generational encounter.

The spirit and outcome resulting from empowering young people to participate in meaningful and effective interfaith and intercultural dialogue in order to strengthen societal stability and security, is something which is essential in our society.

The all-round experience: the Assembly reinforced the feeling of belonging to: “different faiths and a common aspiration to become more proactive to contribute to a united family”. Through sharing reflexions, best practice in small groups and plenaries, participants listened to effective projects religious people and communities are implementing in order to contribute to a more welcoming society inEurope. These experiences included participation in dialogue between communities and with political leaders and authorities, advocating for the rights of the excluded, training opportunities for young people, solidarity with migrants and refugees, empowering of women, using sport and art to promote peace, alternative respectful ways to communicate, inner spirituality as a contribution to peace, and others. They affirmed the importance of giving visibility to these positive actions and working closely together and with other social and political actors in society for being more effective in contributing to real peace based on respect, justice and solidarity.

“It was like a forum, a spiritual market where people come and go and express their ideas, worries and wishes”.

What was learned: dialogue – including head, heart and foot – is essential for our living together.

New methodologies shared to contribute to peace inside and around us: using sports, music, art and action. Many examples were presented in this Assembly, especially in working for the refugees and marginalized in our societies.

In communication, other methodologies such as theatre, role-play, painting and pictures were used bringing another language, other words to our exchanges and to the encounter with others:

- Raising awareness among participants and developing a critical approach

- Young and older people were moved to go deeper in their own understanding and in the understanding of others

- The power of paintings (exhibited during the Assembly) was stronger than words in deepening our awareness of the relation with God.

Fears and challenges in today´s Europe

1. The growing presence of refugees and migrants

Participants noted that Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and violence against incoming refugees and migrants were real fears in the current situation unless the welcome and integration processes were properly handled. One basic weak point in the current situation lies in the fact that the existing law on refugees and asylum at EU level (so-called “Dublin3”) has been abandoned, existing merely on paper but no longer taken as a reference for policy. It needs to be reformed and adapted to the current circumstances, which are very different from what had originally been envisaged when the legislation was drafted.

Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, highlighted the dramatic situation that makes us feel “dismayed, at a loss, and sometimes very uncomfortable, perhaps also deeply ashamed at our own powerlessness”. This analysis was confirmed by Assembly participants. Among the causes she pointed to the “dramatic and questionable military interventions, which destabilised whole nations in North Africa, theMiddle Eastand Sub-Saharan Africa and other on-going conflicts. Our European nations are certainly not completely blameless with regard to these conflicts. ”

2. The question of integration and the growing plurality of our societies

Fears and rejection of “the stranger”, growing hatred and the possibility of losing humanity are concerns for religious people. The media sometimes feed these attitudes, contributing to stigmatization and prejudice. Growing plurality contributes to a richer and broader sense of European identity and connections with other regions of the world. At the same time Europe is experiencing an identity crisis, which hinders a co-ordinated and united response to the refugees enteringEurope.

3. Injustice in European societies

There is a growing injustice inEuropebetween the growing property of few and the growing poverty of many people. The economic crisis that has affected many European countries has deepened the inequality in the distribution of wealth. Poverty is especially affecting women and children. Corruption involving politicians and also faith people has generated a lack of confidence in authorities, democracy and religious institutions. Gender inequality continues to be a problem even if some countries have made efforts to improve their standards.

4. Gender issues

One big problem everywhere is trafficking of human beings. We need the contributions of everyone to combat this modern form of slavery, to help the victims, to seek for their re-integration in society, to work to track down the traffickers.

Empowerment and role of women: Some faith communities try to give growing space and visibility to the role of women. InIndiain 1930s, in a conservative community, the founder of Brahma Kumaris, Brahma Baba empowered young women to become spiritual leaders and teachers; since 1969 the leadership has remained and will remain, in the hands of women.

The dignity of Women – scriptural reflections. Through verses from different Religious Scriptures regarding the status and honour of women, some people of faith, especially women, are trying to discover effective ways to overcome misrepresentation and discrimination of women.

5. Freedom of expression and ethical responsibility

This notion is a major part of the concept of “Freedom of religions and belief” and there are many challenges on this score, varying from country to country. In Western countries one might find the conviction that proclaims Western values as dominant, a tendency to push religion back into the private sphere. In some parts of the world there is no freedom of expression or religious conviction at all.

There is a constant need to supervise the work of the media and to hint at their responsibility for mutual respect in presenting religions. Journalism has to aim at correct information in every field including the presentation of religious communities. It is important to encourage dialogue about political, environmental and spiritual challenges in our societies because this can open opportunities for dialogue inside and among religions. This might connect different religious experiences and contribute to a purification of religious experiences.

In this process it is also important to underline the role of religions in the public sphere. Religions can help the political world to reflect upon itself and learn from local experiences. Training for journalists, religious leaders and social media workers can contribute to change mentalities and promote mutual understanding.

In reflecting on “What is sacred? Discovering it within and around us”, it is important to be aware of how we relate to the transcendent, considering human life as a whole, where environment, sacred scriptures and spiritual traditions are important.

Service to one another is essential to our faith and beliefs. It is the way we can bring the sacred into the world. The basis of sacred activism is the ability to advocate, initiate, support and bring about change, with an inner spirituality, an inner strength and dignity. For believers the Divine presence brings divine power that works through us in the world.

6. Taking responsibility for the Earth

Religions for Peace has officially launched its global multi religious campaign to protect our earth – Faiths for Earthto mobilize religious believers and men and women of goodwill around the world to make meaningful concrete commitments, based on their own faith and moral traditions, on climate change.

Many religions are very involved in concrete projects for protecting the earth. The solutions required are far greater than those offered today by governments. They have to be rooted in a compassionate awareness and thinking. Do we pay enough attention to our thoughts, our prayers, and our meditations? Do we pay enough attention to nature? The scientist David Bohm in his work made us aware that the roots of change are the living system of thought: thoughts are participatory; they influence the world. So according to him, we are looking at the confluence of two living systems: the living system of thoughts and the living system of nature. It is crucial that these two living systems cooperate in harmony.

This approach has been developed in practical projects for solar energy that have benefited many communities inIndia. In Mt Abu, Rajasthan, there is one of the largest solar cookers in the world that can cook up to 35,000 meals at a time.

Guidelines and Recommendations

- Inspired by our religious values of peace, love and hope and deeply committed toEurope’s core political principles of freedom, justice, equality and solidarity

- Being aware of the particular responsibility of European political and religious institutions in the face of the current political, economic and social challenges to our continent; believing in peace, building trust, not fences – improving integration and dialogue and welcoming diversity – achieving solidarity

The Religions for Peace European Assembly, gathered at Castel Gandolfo (Italy), 28 October – 1 November 2015, urges:

1) Bringing into play our strengths for the well-being of what people of faith have in common, following the Golden Rule by:

Prevailing upon our religious communities to reject and work against all forms of extremism, fundamentalism and the misuse of Holy Scriptures and Traditions in our own communities
Creating a welcoming atmosphere in the face of those who arouse fear, and encouraging politics to stand up for shared European democratic values
Building trust through personal encounter and through coalitions with like-minded agencies on the European, national and local level
Involving young people, trusting them, offering them space for leadership, encouraging them in their efforts to stand together against all prejudice and learning from the commitment and hope which they have demonstrated
Advocating the rights and dignity of the “vulnerable” when facing local, national, European, religious and political authorities, public opinion and the media
Using the spiritual potential of our religious traditions for serving the common good
Engaging ourselves in the necessary educational and learning processes
Finding imaginative ways to assist all who work in areas of tension
Respecting the equal dignity of women and men, of old and young and encouraging others to do likewise

2) Responding to the present refugee and migration crisis: specific recommendations

For religious and faith community leaders and members:

To serve the poorest and create joint projects for providing food across a range of communities, religions and cultures
To encourage asylum seekers (coming from different cultures and religions) to visit elderly people in our own communities, thereby creating connections and enhancing spirituality (examples fromFinlandandSweden)
To organize local charity operations and hospitality in accordance with what our Scriptures suggest for such common action and good example
To create networks using social media or web applications to increase inclusiveness, prevent loneliness with love in digital mode (e.g. writing prayers, hymns, memories, music)
To organize festivals and concerts, including chanting, prayers, sharing, etc.
To encourage the legal initiative: BANK OF HOLIDAYS according to the interreligious calendar. (Every worker has 3-4 days to use during the year to celebrate the holidays of their respective faiths, meaning they are not forced to take holiday on days they do not celebrate. Additional comment: after celebrating your holiday, bring some “festive food” to your co-workers and tell them something about your religion)
To integrate children coming fromSyria, and from different faiths into our society and emphasise giving in a spirit of love (Albanian example).

To European political decision-makers, particularly European Union institutions such as the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament:

To substantially engage in foreign policy dialogue with other major international powers such as the United States, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other actors involved to overcome civil wars, violence and ethnic and religious cleansing in Africa, Asia and theMiddle East, thus ending the main reasons for refugees to flee their countries of origin
To further develop the United Nations conventions and international agreements on limiting arms trade and proliferation and to create a clear legal base in European Union primary law to prohibit all arms exports from EU member states to outside EU / NATO areas or outside UN mandated interventions and to monitor this at European and national level
To reform the EU laws on refugees and asylum-seekers and to adapt them to better respond to the current crisis and to uphold the fundamental right of asylum inEurope
To substantially increase the participation of religious leaders and faith community members in the search for appropriate responses to the critical issuesEuropeis facing today
To substantially increase the EU’s and EU member states’ funding for the UNHCR, ECHO and other organizations, including faith-based charities, helping immigrants and refugees in Europe and in the host countries of the affected regions, notably in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan
To significantly increase funding for intercultural and interfaith dialogue initiatives and projects, for example within the framework of the EU Structural and Social Funds, and to further expand and improve existing EU programmes to support the integration of immigrants and Europeans with a migration background
To increase the EU funding for fighting youth unemployment in Europe, with a particular focus on less-favoured young people in danger of being discriminated against because of their ethnic or religious background
To increase financial support of the EU and EU member states for projects and initiatives combating discrimination, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and religious hatred at European, national, regional and local level in order to help people to turn fear into trust, to foster open mindedness towards people from different countries and diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, and to respect the human dignity of each person.

Next steps

Promoting awareness about the challenges identified by the Assembly and the Seminar in our religious and social communities at local and regional level
Exploring and finding new ways to respond to these challenges through concrete and effective action
Becoming role modelsfor others (especially for young people) and reinforcing an open-minded attitude; what we reward will be valued, and developing the concept of compassion and service
In our behaviour
In our communities
By advocating for vulnerable minorities and marginalized people and communities at all levels
Through awareness about an inclusive language
By caring for the earth

Specific outcomes

Commitment to concrete research and working on projects at the European level for the coming years:

1) Establishing a study group of experts and members of RfP Europe to elaborate the contribution of our religious and faith communities to a fair economy – regional and global

2) Establishing a think tank group of experts and members of RfP Europe, to prepare concrete proposals for further steps in integrating refugees and encouraging stronger European cooperation in dealing with refugees and asylum seekers

3) Establishing a think tank group on “media and truth” dealing with key questions like:

How could journalists be motivated to adhere to ethical principles and objective information?
How could media work for peace?
How could media overcome obstacles to publishing and disseminating unpopular news on forgotten and hidden crises?

4) Establishing a think tank group for establishing a possible future inter universities network.

Its purpose would be to reflect, from different perspectives, on “Education. How to deal with religious diversity? a crucial challenge for the current situation inEurope” and to develop a proposal enabling academic and religious people to work together on this. Key questions are: what could be the contribution of universities and academic centres to this process? How can we explore the potential contribution of research, exchange programmes, training and publications to this theme?

5) Establishing partnerships between faith and non-faith based NGOs for projects on training, non-discrimination and other matters, involving mutual recognition and collaboration

6) Urging European political decision-makers, particularly European Union institutions such as the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament substantially to increase their commitment on behalf of refugees

7) Empowering young people and women by integrating them in project management processes in order to improve all manner of initiatives

Final remarks from the President at the close of the Assembly and Seminar:

Let us remember all our fears

fear of losing our own identity
fear of losing all our achievements, everything we have built
fear of losing our humanity and becoming indifferent to the suffering of others
fear of the stranger, those coming to our door and finding it closed
fear of minority communities who feel marginalized
the fears of the children who sometimes die on our coasts
fear of natural disasters because of our irresponsible relationship with the earth

Let us give thanks for the trust that has been created

during this encounter, between people, religious leaders, young people and older people; between religious and non-religious people
through the engagement of the participants in the plenary sessions, the workshops and informal moments
by the enthusiasm, the authenticity and the breath of fresh air the young people brought with them
by the harmonious and welcoming atmosphere of the MariapolisCenter
by the generosity of all those who have made of this Assembly a wonderful experience of deep human and spiritual encounter
by those who dare to stand up against injustice
by the smiles and intense gaze of children and those whose dignity is acknowledged
by the testimony of solidarity showed by many religious communities
by the generosity of people who open up their homes to strangers

28 October 2015 - 1 November 2015
Religions for Peace Europe invite you

Castel Gandolfo 28 Oct. – 1Nov. 2015

RfP EU European Assembly

Au delà des frontières Welcoming Each Other

Welcoming Each Other



Globalisation: loss of identity fear – individual, cultural, religious/philosophical identity – leading to violence, radicalism and terrorism
Trend towards a “single” dominant ethos, leading to individualism and narcissism
Rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and a degree of anti-Christian sentiment. Rise of fear of foreigners.
Rising migration waves – refugees from situations of war, political regimes, economic hardship and climate conditions (some of which are talked about, others passed over in silence)
An ageing Europe, tending to hold on to the tradition of the status quo rather than reaching out with an open mind to other world regions

New opportunities
Younger generation is more open to multi-culturalism and to the potential of diversity, to think in universal terms and not stumble at individual obstacles
New communication tools facilitating freedom of expression,
A vision of a future opening up to new choices for better quality of life for all
new synergies for defending the weakest in society and which build up a feeling of belonging
First signs of a degree of worldwide solidarity on the path towards real brotherhood and sisterhood of peoples
A sense of responsibility among men and women as members of a human family where each person is unique and each can become a peace-builder

The big challenges
How to deal with this pluralist society and harvest all the riches that diversity offers?
How to fulfil the whole of human potential – body, soul and spirit – and make people “responsible subjects” and not merely consumers. Who is watching to see that science and technology is being developed for the service of humanity? (Rabelais: science without conscience spells the soul’s ruin.)
How to focus on crucial questions, such as the meaning of life? Our life spent on this earth?
For believers – how can religion be defined today? Full realisation of our relationship with God and in consequence, our relationship to ourselves, others and nature
How can we move from an ethnocentric vision to one which is altruistic? From the paradigm of consumerism to that of fraternity? And in what perspective of time and place?
How can we stay “humane” and sensitive to the cries of the weakest?
How can we move from rigid and extreme security to open-minded and flexible generosity?

The objectives will be achieved by:
A five days Erasmus + Training Program based on non discrimination, for 50 young from allEurope
Sharing best practices that encourage the building of welcoming societies inEurope
Offering an important space for the empowering of young people and women
Highlighting the role of tradition, transmission and transformation as a process for the contribution religion can make to peace
Identifying new challenges and reinforcing the contributions of RfP Europe in close collaboration with civil society, NGOs and EU institutions
Strengthening relations between RfP members and inspiring local coordination and collaboration

An action plan for the next 5 years with the involvement of women, youth and religious leaders with a special focus on overcoming discrimination, and European citizenship.
A compilation in a publication of examples of best practice encouraging the building of welcoming societies inEurope
Presentation of the Religions for Peace EU network: diagram with a charter and resources database
A video highlighting the main elements learned during the sessions
A set of recommendations for increased active and equal citizenship among youth and women, by providing them with a platform for their voices, ideas and visions

The spirit of the encounter – a “Peace-Building Training Process”
To offer a platform, a space for exchange; a laboratory to investigate together, with people from very different horizons – youth, women, religious leaders, religious communities, academics, ready to welcome the other’s vision of life, of society, sharing all a common desire of detachment to welcome the other
Towards new behaviour patterns which will catalyse joint action to the benefit of all
A move towards pooling respective richness to the benefit of all humanity
To share experience and best practice fosteingr the process of peace

Added Value :
Collaboration with the Focolari in the Mariapolis Centre, sharing their spirituality in unity, their long experience in nurturing dialogue and the “art of loving”
Participation of religious leaders, political decision-makers and civil society through national delegations (Chapters, Inter-religious Councils). An important place is given to Women and Young People.
The pluralist dimension of those participating – multi-cultural and multi-religious in their presence, spreading over the generations, experts, political and religious authorities, civil society members (especially women and young people); coming from Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Danube countries, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldavia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia.
Self-interest, be it individual or of a group, gives way to a higher interest in order to bring forth the elements that are vital in building a harmonious peaceful society
An encounter which is not a succession of happenings but a communion of communities and individuals seeking together ways to serve the common good and ready to take a stand in commitment for a campaign in future action together as a result of this encounter
This is not just another conference or seminar or congress or assembly – but a fertile terrain for growth together and thereafter diffusing the new shoots of life in peace in all countries and religious communities belonged to
Forming a lobby – yes, a real lobby for the interests and in the service of ALL!

350 people expected ; religious leaders, delegations from more than 20 countries, academics, representatives of the European Institutions, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other European organisations, partner organisations

Who are we?
Religions for Peace Europe (RfP EU) is an organisation bringing together individuals and communities from the major world religions. Religions for Peace has been operating inEuropesince 1986 and gathers various member bodies such as the ECRL (religious leaders), the EWFN (women of faith), the EIYN (inter-faith youth), and the chapters and interreligious councils (European cooperation between inter-religious groups of Chapters, inter-religious Councils and other associations).
More information can be found on the website
Human and financial resources: RfP Europe works on an entirely voluntary basis, supported by large number of generous volunteers and partners who share the common goal ofPeaceBuilding.
Sponsorship: please contact Yolande Iliano on + 32 2 374 77 33 and Christine Dupuis on + 32 474 60 50 93, or Bank Account no. WCRP-Belgium BE17-979-6362952-21 reference “Assembly”; BIC: ARSPBE22 ARGENTA Bank. en Verzekeringsgroep SA, Belgiëlei 49-54, B-2018 Antwerpen.

Religions for Peace Europe, Engelandstr, 332, 1180 Brussels – Belgium, Tel. 00 32 2 374 77
Bank Account number: WCRP-Belgium BE17 -979-6362925-21 with reference “Assembly”
BIC: ARSPBE22 ARGENTA Bank en Verzekeringsgroep SA Belgiëlei, 49-54, 2018 Antwerpen



Supported by Erasmus +


Call for Applications
.Deadline for submission of applications: 31 August 2015


“Empowering Youth in Interfaith and Multicultural Peace Action” is a strategic project aiming to empower young people of faith but also other interested youth to address the issues related to inclusive and welcoming European communities, providing them with interfaith and multicultural tools for preventing and eliminating xenophobia and intolerance.
The training seminar will involve youth from different sectors, regardless of their religion, ethnicity and gender and they will come from seven partner organisations:Sweden,Belgium,Finland,Bosnia and Herzegovina,Italy, theUnited KingdomandSerbia. Other partners and countries will be invited to participate. This Youth Interfaith and Multicultural Seminar that will take place in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, from the 27 October to the 1 of November 2015.

In RfP/Europe last conferences about non-discrimination, and especially in our last meeting on “Welcoming Each Other: A Call to Non-Discrimination” and the “Empowerment Day” at the European Parliament, that took place in Brussels from the 18 to the 21 of .March 2015, where we had about 50% participation of young people from 14 European countries, it became clear that there is a growing intolerance which is endangering societies in Europe. To grow towards a united and peacefulEurope, the young Europeans are key players. However, there are not too many opportunities for young people to come together and engage in a practical way in a process of discovering about key concepts of a culture of peace, have information about other faiths and religions, and deepen their knowledge about other cultures. The decision was to come together again and include more youth from different sectors, regardless of their religion, ethnicity and gender, to see how to move forward to a more peacefulEurope.
Cooperation across faith and cultural communities can effectively serve to promote tolerance and a good understanding of pluralism especially at present, when inter-cultural and inter-religious tensions appear to be on the rise inEurope. RfP/Europe affirms and promotes the concept that a welcoming society, which respects, protects and ensures the rights of its diverse people will be a more resilient and cohesive society. For the participating organizations, the role of youth as peace builders need to be enhanced in order to have a positive impact in the behavior of other young people who want to see that their rights can be recognized and affirmed.

The main goal is to enhance the role of youth as peace builders in order to have a positive impact in the behavior of other young people who want to see that their rights can be recognized and affirmed.
The project will contribute to the objectives of the Erasmus+ programme providing to youth the acquisition of new competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) in view of improving their personal development and also raising participants’ awareness and understanding of the various co-existing cultures and religions inEurope. Cooperation across cultural and faith communities can effectively serve to promote tolerance and a good understanding of pluralism especially at present, when inter-religious tensions appear to be on the rise inEurope. WCRP affirms and promotes the concept that a welcoming society, which respects, protects and ensures the rights of its diverse people will be a more resilient and cohesive society.

1. To raise participants’ understanding and awareness of key concepts of a culture of peace, European citizenship, religious diversity and interfaith and multicultural approach to building peace
2. To empower young people with inclusive and interfaith leadership skills equipping them with knowledge and tools for leading responsible actions for peace in their countries, NGOs and communities
3. To increase youth self-esteem and motivation for an active participation in their organizations and in society valuing their perspectives and enhancing their inner and relational skills
4. To provide young people with communication and public opinion formation skills helping to set up teams of citizen reporters in the countries of those participating in the workshop
5. To increase young people’s abilities to connect and collaborate with others by creating a platform for a European network of young people active in interfaith peace work
6. To offer alternatives to the present situation of inward-looking preoccupation by creating space for effective joint action.

Participants in the training seminar will be a group of 50 young people from 18 to 30 years old coming from contexts of religious, ethnic and cultural diversity. The main criteria for selection of participants will be: experience in youth work and expressed desire to lead youth activities after the workshop.

Through the training seminar participants will gain the following competences:
capacity to show empathy, tolerance and understanding to other views and to people from other cultures and religions
awareness of the causes of racism and xenophobia and they have become more committed to take concrete action to overcome these issues
new knowledge and understanding of different cultures/faiths and increased capacity to respond to concrete situations of intolerance and xenophobia
concrete tools and strategies to raise the communities’ awareness of the need to overcome racism, prejudice and xenophobia and to promote equal opportunities for all people.
capacity to understand the needs and feelings of other youth and people in general
Increased motivation to learn and do something practical
fundraising and capacity to conduct informational campaigns and youth activities
acquisition of leadership competencies in team work
ability to share with other young people in their communities and organizations and strengthen the network
expand their horizons, strengthen confidence in youth engagement, and help overcome some of the challenges the youth are facing.
communicational tools for disseminating their activities and projects results based in ethics values
capacity to use communication technology in an innovative way, putting into practice simple ideas coupled with a personal commitment with European values
capacity to produce and use different media tools (video, films) incorporating ethics and promoting the European values and citizenship
capacity to communicate constructively in different multi-religious and multicultural environment and advocate for “unity in diversity”.

Dates: This is a residential seminar that will run over 5 full days, starting on the afternoon of the 27 of October and finishing on the afternoon of 1rst of November 2015.
Travel costs and accommodation and boarding will be provided by RfP/Europe for those participants selected through the participating NGOs partners in the project fromBelgium,Sweden,Finland,Bosnia and Herzegovina,Serbia,United KingdomandItaly.

The seminar will be in English. Participants with difficulties to speak it in plenary sessions will be assisted.

To work towards its aim the seminar will use inter-cultural and inter-faith learning methodologies promoting participation, critical thinking, creativity and cooperation. The Youth Exchange will be based on the combination of innovative educational trainings and exposure to multicultural and interfaith dialogue with religious leaders and experts.
There will be seven workshops and panel discussions led by participants organizations and some of them will involve religious leaders for future mutual recognition and effective collaboration. The workshops will be: Cultural and Spiritual Values and Religious Inheritances that Unite us in Europe; Coming Closer to the Needs and Feelings of the Other; Building a Culture of Peace; Organizations’ Good Practices on Peace Building and Non-Discrimination; Building Partnership and Funding Opportunities; Art, a Contribution to Peace, Inspiration and Creativity; Formation of Youth Citizen Reporters. Part of the program is a special presentation about the European identity, the Erasmus + program and the advantages of the certificates.

The overall coordination of the training workshop is being managed by RfP/Europeteam formed by Yolande Iliano, Malati Dasi and Marta Palma. The training sessions will be run by a professional team of experts. Main facilitators will be Mrs. Laura Molnar from Romania, Mr. Sudhagar Raghupathy from Sweden, Mrs. Heidi Rautionmaa from Finland, Mr. Srdjan Vlaskalic from Serbia Mr. James Edwards from the United Kingdom, Mr. Andre Bossuroy from Belgium and Mr. Mauro Bombieri from Italy.

Applications will be carefully reviewed based on the selection criteria below. In addition, a letter from the applicants is requested, explaining his/her motivation for applying and how they plan to use what they have learned in the training.
Selected applicants should:
Have experience in working with young people.
Have some experience in the fields of peace education.
Have a good understanding of English.
Selected applicants are expected to commit themselves to:
Full-time participation: Participate full-time in all sessions for the whole duration of the seminar for your application to be considered.
Costs: costs related to travel and accommodation and boarding during the duration of the seminar are covered by the RfP/Europe for those participants selected by the participant partners organizations. Additional personal expenses are participants’ responsibility.

Other participants that are sponsored by other individuals or NGOs are welcome to apply.
Accommodation and boarding per youth participant (18-30 years old) in 3-4 bed rooms from dinner on Wed 27 October through to breakfast on Monday 2 November is: € 287.

To apply for this workshop, please complete the application form* attached and send it to Malati Dasi at the following e-mail:
Please also include the motivation letter, as mentioned in the application form. All received applications will be acknowledged and all applicants will be informed about the selection decision by the 15 of September 2015.