Mostar Summer Youth Programme - Week 1

The Mostar Summer Youth Programme started again this week. The 3-week summer programme, supported by Our Kids Foundation, provides an alternative model of education, focusing on critical thinking and interactive learning. It gives high school students from across the city a rare opportunity to learn together, and encourages self-expression and community engagement.

For more information about the Mostar Summer Youth Programme, visit the project's web site mostarsyp.org or their Facebook page facebook.com/mostarsyp

The first week was packed full of workshops and events.

The week started with the opening ceremony followed by a session in which the 70 participants were able to spend time with the teachers and staff, to learn more about their cultures and backgrounds. We then had a workshop lead by local NGO Youth Power exploring emotional intelligence, and a fun Selfie Competition.

The topic of the second day was Mostar and Herzegovina. The opening lecture was delivered by linguistic anthropologist Kevin Kenjar from the University of Berkeley USA, who specialises in the languages of the Balkans. This was a unique opportunity for students from the different ethnic groups in Mostar and South East Europe to learn about the history of their language(s) together, in the same classroom. This was followed by an interactive group workshop called Narrating Your City Delivered by Bosnian/German PHD student of architecture Aida Murtić. The day ended with a tour around Mostar, in which we visited some of the historical, architectural and religious locations in the city, led by MSYP Coordinator Vlatka Lučić and local volunteer Slavica Kraljević.

Day three was all about local NGOs and volunteering. We had presentations by Animals Because We Care and the Red Cross, exploring their work locally and nationally. Then the participants worked in groups to plan a community action day. To close the participants met our representatives from Naša Djeca and spent some time volunteering to make gifts that are sold to raise funds for the project. In the evening MSYP students were invited to the Forum Theatre to watch a play called Maslinova Grana in which a participant and alumni was an actor. After, the participants and teachers took part in an improvisational theatre workshop.

Politics was the theme of day four. It opened with an activity organised by Sho Igawa, MSYP Coordinator, USA/Japan who invited youth to reflect on their views on political issues meaningful to them. This was followed by a session of the European Youth Parliament run by Josipa Šaravanja from EYP and MSYP alumni Ivona, Anamaria, Sanja, Dario, and Adnan. This was a very detailed workshop in which the participants produced and debated resolutions in a simulated parliament setting. We are very proud that our alumi and participants have become so engaged in youth politics and were able to deliver such a high quality workshop.

We devoted Friday to a more relaxed arts theme including workshops on Jazz and Miles Davis (Jusuf Sarančić, Mostar and Chicago), body expression (by Kendra and Melisande McLaughlin, Canada) and storytelling & writing (by Alina Mateos Horrisberger, Argentina). The day explored a diverse raange of arts, concluding with a painting workshop at OKC Abrašević lead by local artists Maja Rubinić and Adnan Golš. The participants produced creative works that will be incorporated into other MSYP activities later in the programme.

The final day of the first week was held at Intera Technology Park. The participants learnt about teamwork, planning and communication within a business context. They day began with presentations from local entrepreneurs Emir Memisević (CityOS) and Samir Šupčić & Amra Buljubašić (Giikly) who talked their experiences of starting up technology businesses in Mostar. In the afternoon the participants took part in a Business Startup Challenge lead by UK and US-based entrepreneur Russell Wiltshire. The participants worked in teams to research and present business ideas related to improving the environment.
Overall it was a hugely successful first week. The participants worked hard but also enjoyed the wide variety of activities, had a lot of fun and made new friends. MSYP continues on Monday with classroom taught courses and more daily workshops and events. To learn more, please visit our web site athttp://www.mostarsyp.com

Some more photos from the first week of MSYP: