Between 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.
The third day was full of strong feelings, tears and tense moments as the participants experienced an impactful simulation on the topic of migration. The facilitators adapted the United Nations simulation game ”Passages” and tried to make it as vivid as possibe in order to make the participants experience a tiny bit of what it would be like to be forced to flee your home and head into the unknown.
It all started out very enthusiastically, with everybody smiling and fooling around. Split on families, the participants had to assign names and roles to each member of the family and create their family story. Next they were blinfolded and following a bomb attack on their home town they had to find their family members through the smoke that did not allow them to see anything. The simulation took them through different experiences such as deciding which objects to take in their suitcases, spending the night (around 8 minutes) in a shelter, filling in forms in a language they were not familiar with, being rejected at the border without any explanation, crossing the border illegally, facing the harsh conditions of a refugee camp and finally pleading their case with the authorities to get asylum.
The debriefing phase revealed how powerful the exercise was and many participants spoke about the intensity of the feelings they had, the impact it made on them and the amazement of how little they knew about the experiences some of the refugees go through.
The photos they created stand proof for the powerful messages they felt inside, as they are deep, thought-provoking and trully inspiring.