29 March, 2017

No Hate Speech on the Ship for World Youth Program

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Category: Activism, National campaigns
Campaign Activist
12 pm

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After lasting for 45 days, on March 3d 2017, the 29th next generation global leaders program “The Ship for World Youth” (SWY) was officially finished. The Program that for the first time in 29 years invited Ukraine to be its only European representative out of the 11 participating countries, serves as a unique cross-cultural exchange program graciously organized and funded by the Japanese government. SWY aims to provide participants with the opportunity to enhance their leadership and management skills necessary to excel in an increasingly globalized world. Overall, the Ship for World Youth program aims to harness future leaders capable of contributing to society by exercising their leadership skills in various fields while fostering cultural sensitivity and appreciation and generating lasting friendships between countries.

The SWY-29 started with 2 weeks in Japan, but most of the program is conducted on board the cruise liner, Nippon Maru, with activities scheduled in several Ports of Call, which were New Zealand and Fiji. By engaging in a series of expert-led seminars, course discussions and peer-to-peer led workshops, young leaders were challenged to deepen their mutual understanding, broaden global perspectives, and strengthen the international cooperation.

One of the workshops on the NO HATE SPEECH MOVEMENT  was organized and delivered by two SWY participants from Ukraine: Lidiia Kozhevnikova and Alisa Berezutska. More than 30 young people from 11 different countries joined the workshop to learn about the term, the idea of the NHSM  youth campaign of the Council of Europe and reasons of its growing popularity and worldwide support. Also every participant received info-materials and branded pins and pens, kindly granted by the European Youth Foundation, Council of Europe.

Did you or your friend ever become a victim of the hate expressions online and how did it influence you? Why do we need to address the problem of hatred online in all its forms and what are the ways to combat expressions of hate speech? Some huge questions SWY participants were challenged with.

Apart from theoretical material and lively discussions, SWYers played a role game called “WEB Profiles”, where every participant got a temporary “avatar” like “HIV positive”, “Female in Hijab” etc., imagining they are at the Internet forum. Ukrainian facilitators of the workshop put stickers to everyone’s backs with information on their new role. However, no-one knew what is written on their backs, i.e. which “avatar” everyone got! Participants had to move around, trying to talk to as much other “avatars” as possible as if they were encountering such a person online. Nasty comments were permitted as part of the game. Some participants were hurt by comments in “their” address and almost half could eventually guess what their role was…

After the game was finished, the reflection on the feelings that were caused was frank and touching. As result, participating youth leaders agreed that they have to be the examples, the ones to encourage others online and offline to show more respect, empathy and tolerance to each other, not to judge and for sure to never insult others even if their lifestyle or beliefs are different. As one of the workshop participants concluded in the summary discussion: “It’s up to young leaders to be the change we want to see in the world and making internet a safe place is a good thing to start with”.

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