While autumn is slowly approaching, we look back on numerous meetings and seminars with young people from the countries of the former Yugoslavia and young adults from Israel and Palestine, who have again enriched this summer.

In the former Yugoslavia, the meeting in Split with 120 young people from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia was marked by very intensive workshops and new guests and topics. As in recent years, the war and its ongoing consequences were at the center of the Peace Camp.

For many young people, the encounters are the first opportunity to talk about the war, get factual and unbiased information and realize that there is not just one “truth”. Particularly moving was the workshop with Ajna Jusic, whose fate and that of her mother became world-famous through the movie “Esmas Secret”. Ajna talked about her organization “Forgotten Children of War”, which stands up for the rights of those who, like herself, were born after mass rape in the war. Nobody talks about it anymore, but until today these children are disadvantaged by laws and socially discriminated against. Everyone admired Ajna for her courage in dealing openly with this situation and advocating for her dignity.

In Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje, in August, 70 members of the network Youth United in Peace consulted for a week about further joint activities. In addition, weekend visits to Sombor and Tuzla took place in April and September, with a total of 150 young people and young adults participating. Further meetings are also planned for October and November.

In August, 58 young women from Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as 58 young men and women from Israel and the Palestinian West Bank, met near Cologne for two weeks of intensive discussions about the conflict and the occupation.

For the first time in the history of the project, the women’s seminar this year saw Nour* (name changed) join someone living in the Gaza Strip: “You gave me the opportunity to open my heart and my mind to people whom I was afraid of”, she describes her experience of the women’s seminar.

In addition to the women’s* seminar, the Israel-Palestine part of Vacation From War included the AllGenders-seminar, as planned, with new partners who have combined the political narrative approach with the Nonviolent Communication method. It was an exciting and moving pilot seminar and we hope that this partnership continues to develop positively.

Also this summer, the project again supported Summer Games for 60 Palestinian children in Khan Younis (Gaza Strip).

You will soon get an initial insight into the encounters and seminars of this summer in our autumn information, which will be published in a few days.