National Identity and Tolerance in Olofström and K..
National Identity and Tolerance in Olofström and Krakow
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015,
Date de fin: 31 août 2017
The NITOK project is a collaboration between two groups of young people from Poland and Sweden wanting to discover their own definitions of national identity and their common European heritage. The students from the Nordenbergsskolan in Olofström are the initiators of the project and after expressing the desire to work together with young people from Poland a question about collaboration was posed to the VI Upper Secondary School in Krakow, Poland. As young people in Poland have the same curiosity and need to discover their own notions of national identity the offer was accepted and the NITOK-group was formed. This group together with participants 'mentors and teachers will undergo a journey of self-discovery and national identity in a broader, European context, where the issues of tolerance, friendship and European solidarity will be stressed and reflected upon.
What does it mean to be a Swede? What does it mean to be a Pole?- those are the questions which the participants will be asked at the initial stage of the project. During the project all their expectations, preconceived notions and ideas about Polish and Swedish identity will be put to test through various activities, field trips and lectures taking place both in Poland and Sweden with groups of young people from both countries working together. The project aims at showing the participants that we create our national identity not necessarily in opposition to other ones, but in the process of cooperation, mutual understanding and tolerance. We will attempt to make young people understand that, in spite of our national differences, we are first and foremost Europeans, sharing the same values, history and even heritage.
The project will consist of four main activities over the course of two years- 2 activities per one school year. The content of activity 1 and 3 as well as 2 and 4 will be exactly alike, meaning that the activities 1 and 2 in the first year 2015/16 will be repeated as activities 3 and 4 respectively in the following school year 2016/17. The main focus of the activities will be two youth exchange visits- one in Krakow in the autumn, the second in Olofström in the spring, taking place in both years. The young people themselves feel the need of undergoing this kind of identity trip in order to become self-aware citizens of the European Union. In order to assure the continuity of the project we will give the same opportunity to the young people in the following school year.
The project requires the participation of 20 young people each stemming from Nordenberg Upper Secondary School in Olofström and VI Secondary School in Krakow. Together with 5 members of staff from each of the schools they will form a group of 50 participants. To ensure the relative cohesion of the group the students will all come from the non- vocational programs as there are no vocational programs at the Polish school. The gender balance will be achieved by aiming at 50/50 gender division in both countries and as the further attempt at group cohesion all the students will be in their second form at their respective schools for the duration of the project. In the second form the students' age ranges from 16-17 years old in the autumn till 17-18 years of age in the spring. One of the mentors in the NITOK-group serving as its unofficial leader is 25 years old.
The end-goal is the project is for every participant to define their own notion of national identity. This can happen as the result of meeting the participants from the other country, exchanging the reflections with fellow citizens, partaking in workshops and field trips and and analyzing one's own behavior and thought process as compared to the preconceived notions, ideas and stereotypes one had had before the project began. Our hope is that many participants will discover/rediscover their European identity which will either become their primary one, or it will greatly complement the national identity as defined by every participant, as well as it will serve the participants in the future, strengthening their position in the work market, increasing their language skills and turning them into self-aware European citizens.
One positive example of activities like ours can definitely ignite imagination of other organizations in a multitude of countries and the project template can with success be used by other partners, with a similar end-goal in mind. The values of European cooperation can never be undermined, and one should take every opportunity to stress that importance, starting on the local level, from a single individual and later on encompassing whole countries.
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