“At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8 - 4)
October 18 – 24, 2010: The next YMCA Europe Catch the Vision conference under the motto “New Europe – Old Conflicts” took place this time in Yerevan, Armenia. The event brought together 31 participants representing 18 YMCA Movements in Europe and beyond, namely: Armenia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, Georgia, Iceland, Ireland, Karabagh, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, USA. The conference was facilitated by Michael Wardlow (independent consultant, Northern Ireland), Michal Szymanczak (YMCA Europe Acting Secretary General, Poland), Vardan Hambardzumyan (YMCA Europe Regional Secretary, Armenia), Radek Hlavsa (YMCA Europe PR and Communication Manager, Czech Republic), Armen Bezhanyan (YMCA Armenia Secretary General) and Revaz Shavladze (YMCA Georgia Programme Secretary). The Armenian Apostolic Church sent its blessings to the event through its representative – Father Shahen - opening the event. During the week the participants had a chance of exposure to the World Heritage sites in St. Ejmiadzin – the religious capital of Armenia. The closing of the event was held in the Museum of Sergey Parajanov – a Soviet era talented film director and artist, who through his audacious strive for freedom became a symbol of treasured multiculturalism. A symbol, which the YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation initiative has taken up to follow.
“And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf.” (Genesis 8 – 12)
The YMCA potential and impact in peace and reconciliation work was the theme of the conference. The YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation initiative was presented as a best practice and case study, through analyzing its impact based on the Theory of Change and through mainstreaming its implementation methodology based on the Do No Harm approach.
As the key programme component training modules on Dividers and Connectors were delivered to open up the participants for shared vision of the YMCA Movement standing for peace, justice and integrity of creation. Later on those categories were summed up in a session on Biblical perspectives with focus how to live and practice peace in harmony with the Creator and the Creation, including oneself.
“—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 8 – 17)
A week after completion of the event and as an important element of its follow-up, the participants will be asked to fill in post-activity evaluation forms, which will help the YMCA Europe to further enhance its Catch the Vision series. The summary report on this evaluation will be also published in the YMCA Europe webpage. Meantime the end-of-conference “snap-shot-review” shows that definitely all the participants had great experience, and gained attitude, knowledge and skills empowering them to mainstream peace and reconciliation work as an essential component of the YMCA service delivery at grassroots, cross-border or global levels.
Alla, Amanda, Anna, Armen, Arnar, Daan, Dalibor, David, Georgi, Georgi, Haikuhi, Hasmik, Jenie, Juliette, Karen, Ksenia, Lara, Liga, Maria, Maria, Maria, Marius, Michael, Michal, Noemi, Olga, Radek, Reanna, Rezi, Robert, Sakari, Vardan: 32 names, without any of them this event could not spell success!
This conference was co-financed by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.