YEN Diversity Festival 2023

The “Synergy | Synergija” Diversity Festival 2023, held in Trieste/Trst, Italy, was a remarkable celebration of cultural exchange. Between the 24th and the 30th ofJuly 2023, 32 young people from 13 autochthonous, national, and linguistic minorities from all over Europe came together to explore artistic forms of expression. It was co-hosted by YEN and Društvo mladih Slovencev v Italiji (DM+) a Youth Organization of the Slovenian Minority in Italy.

The Festival was opened at the Narodni Dom where DM+ president Katja Canalaz and others delivered insightful speeches. Attendees were introduced to traditional Slovenian music featuring an accordion and could inform themselves about the work of different Slovenian organizations from Italy. The participants of the Diversity Festival learned about the historical importance of Narodni Dom for the Slovene Community in Italy and could explore the small exhibition showcasing the history, culture and knowledge of the community.

After the opening participants of the Diversity Festival spend their days in three different artistic Workshops. The Workshops focussed on theatre, scenography/installation, and podcasting and gave the opportunity for exchange between different minorities. Guided by the skilled trainers Giovanna Bressan, Katja Stojnić and  Urška Bradaškja Morato these workshops weren’t just learning experiences — they were playgrounds for participants to share their ideas, stories, and unique perspectives. The Scenography/Installation Workshop saw participants channeling their artistic spirits into the creation of abstract figures, translating body gestures into visual poetry in the form of cardboard cut-outs, that werelater used for the light-installation. Meanwhile, the Theatre Workshop came alive with the songs in diverse Minority languages, serving as inspiration for scenes. And the Radio/Podcast Workshop documented the festival through various forms like sound collages and interviews.

But the Diversity Festival wasn’t just about creative expression; it was also a journey of cultural exchange . A Tourguide of the Slovenian minority showed the participants through Trieste/Trst, by showing them meaningful places of history and culture for the Slovenian minority.  Admits the evening program friendships blossomed and talents were unveiled. Knowledge, food, art, music and dances of the different minorities were presented and shared at the game nights or the Exchange Market. With that amount of action we also needed to take a break. The participants ventured to the Kras region learning about its history but also enjoying beachside relaxation, beautiful coastal hikes, and homemade local delicacies, like cured meat and cheese in an Osmica.

As the days progressed, visions for the highly anticipated Final Show began to take shape. And then, the grand finale – the Final Show. An outdoor stage in Barcola became the place, where participants brought their creativity to life. Songs from different minority languages were combined with theatrical gestures to paint stories of love, humour, and drama. Guests listened to the podcasts which  explained  the journey the participants had been on together for the past week while enjoying the view on the beautiful shadows, that were created by the figures on the stage.

As the festival drew to a close, participants were left with cherished memories and an enriched sense of YENergy.

The “Synergy | Synergija” Diversity Festival 2023 achieved its goal—bringing together youth from different walks of life to celebrate diversity, supporting them to express themselves creatively and filling them with meaningful experiences.

We are looking forward to future gatherings, filled by the memories and connections we made during the festival.

You find the documentation of the final show on youtube:

We as YEN want to thank participants, organizers, trainers, partner organizations, and sponsors whose support made the festival a resounding success. Especially to the partners Spretno(ra)sti, Slovenska kulturno-gospodarska zveza (SKGZ), Svet Slovenskih Organizacij (SSO), Zveza slovenskih kulturnih društev (ZSKD), Slovenska prosveta, Mladi v odkrivanju skupnih poti (MOSP), aswell to the sponsors Republika Slovenija Urad RS za Slovenije za Slovence v zamejstvu in po svetu, Dežela Furlanija Julijska Krajina, ZadružNa KrašKa Banka (ZKB) and German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs (BMI).