The Autumn Seminar 2023, co-hosted by Youth of European Nationalities (YEN) and Vajdasági Ifjúsági Fórum (VIFÓ), a youth organisation of the Hungarian minority in Serbia, welcomed 16 young participants (and 15 young team members) from 10 autochthonous, national and linguistic minorities from all over Europe in Pálić, Serbia. The event not only provided a space to meet old friends but also the pleasure of meeting new ones. From the 16th till 22nd October, the participants exchanged ideas on the topic of “Tradition in Transition” and explored the cities of Pálić, Subotica and Novi Sad in Serbia.
On the first day of the seminar, the participants were welcomed by the Hungarian National Council in Subotica. There were warm welcoming speeches by Dániel Fejel Tóth, Board member from VIFÓ, Vera Buranits, Vice-president of YEN and a representative of the Hungarian National Council as well as traditional Hungarian music. This was followed by a tour of Subotica, where the group explored the history of the city and visited churches and other fascinating buildings.
The main part of the seminar took place in the small city Palić, where the trainers Leah Rajchlin, Cihan Kilic and Felicia Touvenot took the participants on a journey through the week using non-formal education methods. The focus here was on promoting an intensive exchange about traditions in the minority communities represented. The extent to which changes to traditions may be necessary in order to better respect human rights and minority rights was discussed. There was also an exchange of views on how further developments can be initiated in minority communities.
In in-depth discussions, participants shared their perspectives and personal experiences of how changes in traditions affect their lives. Particular attention was paid to human rights and intersectional aspects. With the diverse inputs, activities and warm-ups of the trainers, participants revealed more of themselves day by day and increasingly recognized and appreciated change. They were inspired to develop strategies for initiating change within their minorities.
The thoughts of the participants, their opinions on change, the traditions they would like to change in their minority and much more on the topic were captured in videos by our media creator Jakob Schäfer.This will soon be available on the social media channels Instagram and Facebook social media channels!
In addition to the intensive thought processes in the workshop, the daily evening events including an exchange market provided a welcome change of pace and enabled the participants to get to know each other better in a fun and adventurous way. Not only did YEN and VIFÓ have the opportunity to introduce themselves, but all the organisations and minorities represented were also able to present themselves with music, dances, snacks and conversations. Wednesday offered the group the opportunity to explore the area further. A tour of Novi Sad (Újvidék) and through the tunnels of the Petrovaradin fortress took them through the fascinating history and culture of Vojvodina.
For us at YEN, the fall seminar marked a successful conclusion to this year’s theme of “Keeping Tradition Alive. Since 2023!”. We would like to continue to carry the exciting thoughts and information shared there with us.
Therefore, a big thank you goes to the participants, the co-organisers from Vajdasági Ifjúsági Fórum (VIFÓ), the trainers Leah Rajchlin, Cihan Kilic and Felicia Touvenot and our media-creator Jakob Schäfer. Their support made the Seminar a resounding success. We would also like to thank our accomodation Jelen Salaš for their hospitable accommodation and delicious traditional Serbian food. Especially we want to thank the sponsors European Youth Foundation (EYF) des Council of Europe and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs (BMI).