Atlantis is now an annual event for the Mediterranean youth. This week-long camp offers young Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers from the region to opportunity to share their knowledge and experience. This year, as part of the follow up to the 11th Mediterranean Conference, hosted by the Croatian Red Cross in Dubrovnik in March of this year, one of the objectives of Atlantis was to strengthen the role of youth in the region, by consolidating their role as in changing attitudes and mindsets. “Atlantis is a forum for young people to exchange experiences and best practices on the activities of their National Societies, and be trained through workshops linked to the topics of the Mediterranean Conference,” said Amelia Marzal Torres, director of the Centre for the Cooperation in the Mediterranean, during the opening ceremony of the camp.
Migration, humanitarian principles and values, leadership, youth and employment, sustainable environment and YABC were the topics of the workshops offered during this week-long camp, which brought together 64 young people from 18 National Societies of the Mediterranean basin had a chance to learn through discussion and sharing of ideas, improve their skills through practical games, group activities and music. Below you will find a brief overview of each of the workshops that were available to the young participants.
Youth and employment
In Europe, as around the world, young people have been impacted than any other demographic by the global economic crisis. Through a series of activities aimed at raising awareness of the issues related to youth employment such as social rights, immigration, and social exclusion, this workshop provided information and advice on the opportunities available to young people in the Mediterranean today.
A series of non-cognitive activities focused on trust, teamwork and communication helped participants of this workshop to understand the meaning of shared leadership i.e. a close, well-working relationship between “leader” and the “followers”. “Leadership is not only cooperation, nor only communication. It is relations,” said Marcello Sgroi, from the Italian Red Cross, who facilitated the two-day workshop – “Leadership is not inborn but can be learnt, like every social skill” he added.
Principles and values
The seven Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and their underpinning humanitarian values formed the basis for this workshop, which, through interactive games, group discussions and debate, aimed at raising awareness among the participants of the common values they share, and how these principles and values influence and support all work of the Red Cross Red Crescent.
Poverty, insecurity and vulnerability are some of the consequences our changing climate. Environmental degradation is leading to an increased disasters and scarcity of water, food and natural resources. During this workshop, the participants were introduced to sustainable approaches to living and encouraged to lead by example when they return to their own communities.
Youth as agents of behavioural change (YABC)
The YABC concept was initially conceived by the IFRC’s principles and values department, but thanks to their approach, young people from right around the world quickly took ownership of it themselves, resulting in a truly youth-led design. The aim of YABC is to empower young people to positively transform mindsets, attitudes and behaviour in their own communities. The workshop involved the participants in a series of practical activities oriented to stimulate a switch of perspective and an inner change, as a prerequisite to reach this goal. “YABC is a life-long learning process. What we are doing is spreading the seeds of change”, said Charlotte Tocchio, an officer with the IFRC’s principles and values department, who facilitated the workshop.
Organized in together with the European Institute for the Mediterranean (IEMed), this workshop focussed on the topic of migration within the Mediterranean region. By analyzing migration trends and policies in the region, as well as stimulating debate on the current issues related to migration, awareness of the facts were raised among the participants.
This year marks the sixth edition of Atlantis which was organized by the Centre for the Cooperation in the Mediterranean in partnership with the French Red Cross. As in previous years, those who took part returned home energized and motivated. “Atlantis has been an amazing experience. The idea that, despite our many differences, in terms of language, culture and personal backgrounds, we all share the same Seven Principles, made me feel like we are all linked by this strong, invisible bond,” said Sara from Malta.
For more information on Atlantis VI and the Red Cross Red Crescent activities in this region, please visit the website of the Centre for the Cooperation in the Mediterranean.