Day 1 of UNESCO’s Academy of Young Women debuted with the first training module, “Fighting attitudes of violence and extremism”, delivered by Andreea Buzec, project manager and consultant for the Partners Foundation for Local Development. The objectives of the module were for the participants to develop understanding of the discrimination process, dynamics, reasons and exercise empathy towards victims of discrimination, as well as to enhance their sense of action towards promoting positive changes related to gender balance at personal, organizational and community level.
The participants were motivated actors during the role-play activities, exploring different perspectives of disadvantaged people, with a focus on women, challenging their understanding and empathy towards less privileged categories: immigrants, religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, socially and geographically disadvantaged people.
At the same time, participants reflected on the obstacles towards respecting human rights at the level of their discourse as well as their action, understanding that human rights are not privileges, but elementary provisions for all human beings and that their discourse and action should be aligned to this principle.
A component of the module was focused on rehearsing attitudes that can be replicated in everyday life through Forum Theatre, an interactive and participatory art method that allows the replication of real-life discrimination situations and the enactment of positive attitudes by spectators in order to change the balance of power in the favor of the oppressed. Thus, the participants collaboratively recreated a real situation of discrimination during a gay parade in Belgrade and intervened with suggestions regarding changes on attitudes that would bring about positive endings.
During a reflection moment, the participants were given the task to reflect on the following question: “What can I do at personal, organizational and community level in order to bring about positive change related to gender equality?”