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Solidarity Academy – Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue brings together young journalists across the region

From 13 – 20 November, 16 young aspiring journalists from the Baltic Sea Region and beyond met in Gdansk at the European Solidarity Centre for the Solidarity Academy – Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue. The students from Belarus, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, already working as freelance journalists in their home countries or abroad, were invited to deepen and share their knowledge during the workshops. The theme of exploring various journalistic tools and methods was also reflected in the seminars of the Dialogue – for example on media ethics and gender issues, led by Urður Gunnarsdóttir from the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Forming four different groups, the participants were asked to develop a project idea focusing mainly on politics, culture, society or history at the Academy. Moreover, they had the chance to organise a panel discussion, which was open to the public and took place in Gdansk, on 17 November 2016, entitled ’Is solidarity still relevant in the 21st century?’.

Amongst all four innovative projects, which were presented at the closing of the programme, the jury eventually decided to award the ‘Politics Group’ with 500 EUR in order to realise their project until the end of this year. Having a coffee to go in the Kaliningrad region will then also be educating: the group plans on producing and distributing paper coffee cups with facts about the Baltic Sea Region, promoting culture, traditions, history and commonalities of the different countries.

During their stay in Kaliningrad, the participants also had a chance to get acquainted with local youth projects. Tatjana Vasileva, Head of the Regional Department of Youth Affairs, presented a wide spectrum of initiatives, while the editorial board of the student journal SWOT presented information on academic life in the region’s technical university. The state-of-the art-fashion initiative “Pudr” beautifully presented the spirit of the Baltic Sea region, while young people in the project “Green Front” are focusing on sustainable development. The Chairman of the Kaliningrad Branch for the ‘’Green Front’’, Oleg Ivanov attended the guided tour to the Russian Part of the Curovian Spit – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and introduced to the group the current developments in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development. Based in the Tuchheimer Gate, the people behind “Art Vorota” are using the spirit of a historic place in Kaliningrad to present exhibitions and other culture projects, while offering a meeting point for young people in the coffee shop connected to the gate. While small, Art Vorota is a favourite among the young Kaliningraders.

The project links to the CBSS Long Term Priority Regional Identity and is supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the goal to foster Baltic Sea Region identity, increasing collaboration and understanding among the future generations. The regional cooperation partners of the project included the Russian Consulate General in Gdansk and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce in Kaliningrad. Read more about the project here.