On August 1-7, 2020, a Youth Summer School was held for civil activists from Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kvemo Kartli and Pankisi regions of Georgia. From each of these regions, the most active young people were selected who have an experience of establishing community centers in their regions and promoting civil participation. It was especially important for them to be informed about the EU and the European integration, as a part of the participants also work as formal and informal educators in their regions; thus, the knowledge they acquired within the summer school will help them spread accurate information regarding Europeanization.
Similar to the Jean Monnet Media Winter School organized in February 2020, also the participants of the Youth Summer School represented Georgia’s ethnic minorities. Active discussion at the sessions revealed that problems, needs and challenges of each region, in some cases, are very similar. This encouraged the participants to start thinking on working together in the future. Apart from the project planned activities that will enable them to fulfill this plan, the training on project proposal writing that was delivered as a practical course will give them an opportunity to apply for donor grants and work on joint projects.
To summarize the outcomes of the Youth Summer School, it should be noted that the participants gained both theoretical and practical knowledge on various aspects of Europeanization, civil participation and active citizenship. Despite the pandemic, the sessions were delivered without any difficulties in a nice space. One of the major outcomes of the event was a tolerant and friendly environment, which was also facilitated by the professional trainers.
The Youth Summer School training program covered the thematic topics, such as:
- EU integration: Eastern Enlargement, Eastern Partnership and Georgia
- Europeanization: mechanisms and factors
- Anti-EU propaganda, soft power and the strategies to counter it
- Active citizenship: role of the civil sector in the democratic development
- Challenges related to religious, ethnic and racial intolerance
- Role of ethnic minority youth in countering traditional attitudes and stereotypes. Youth as the agents of change in their communities.
In addition, practical seminars and workshops were delivered on the following:
- Technics of interviewing: how to reveal the reality beyond interview
- Development of project proposals and fundraising
- Myth detection
- Critical discourse analysis: revealing and challenging power and asymmetric relations through discourse