Vacation From War – Dialogues across borders: a project of the Committee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy

The project Vacation from War is part of the peace work of the Committee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy, which is registered as a non-profit association.

The project originated as a humanitarian “Action Vacation From War” in the early 1990s in the countries of the former Yugoslavia,  and has evolved into a dialogue and encounter project for youngsters and young adults with time.

Klaus and Hanne Vack, who founded the project and organized the first children’s camps, wrote: “The Committee continues its peace-oriented humanitarian line of support for the poorest of the poor, the refugees and other civilians most affected by the war.”

Helga Dieter coordinated the project honorary from 1996 to 2013. In 2005, she was awarded the Panter Readers’ Prize of the taz. With her many years of volunteer work, she has significantly shaped Vacation From War. Her work is the basis for what the project is today: very successful grassroots peace-building work with young people and young adults from two volatile crisis regions.

Since 2009, Barbara Esser has volunteered for project and has been coordinating the project as full-time coordinator with tireless commitment  from 2013 to 2018. By founding the coordination group, she has strengthened the cooperation of the volunteers in the project and created a stable and broad foundation for Vacation From War.

Today, Vacation From War – Dialogues across Borders enables a dialogue between young people from war and crisis areas and exemplifies a way to practical peace work.

A central principle of the project is that the activities are largely designed and implemented by our local partners. It is especially important to us to not impose certain methods or concepts upon our partners, but to take their knowledge and competences seriously and give room to their ideas.

Also, the project is financed exclusively by private donations and donations from selected foundations. This makes the project independent of major institutional donors and also ensures its political independence.

Today, under the roof of the Committee for Fundamental Rights and Democracy, two persons work full-time as well as one person on a honorary basis as coordinators of the project. In addition, the project is supported by a coordinating group of volunteers.

For their regular support, we thank the Foundation “Dialoge und Begegnungen” Foundation as well as the Sebastian Cobler Foundation.