August 8, 2006

PROJECTS: WAN promotes NIE at Kid's Festival (BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA)

WAN promotes NIE at Kid?s Festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina

WAN promoted its Newspapers in Education Development program sponsored by Norske Skog at this year?s 3rd annual Kid?s Festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an event meant to celebrate Bosnian unity among youth. The weeklong carnival in Sarajevo attracted some 30,000 Bosniak, Serb and Croat students and their teachers from all over the country who arrived daily by bus and special trains arranged for them. During its four-day visit, WAN also met with officials from the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, local NGO?s, and the organizer of the festival for preliminary discussion on how an NIE program can benefit the country?s young people.

The festival, which marked the end of the school-year and the beginning of summer holidays, included activities and workshops on everything from make-up to magic and dance classes from 57-year-old Swedish ?hip-hop granny? Jeannette Rene de Vreede, who said it?s never too late to learn some new moves. In addition, a daily mass gathering featuring performances by well-known Bosnian music celebrities, lots of cheering and crowd participation and an evening movie created the mood of a national pep rally, countering any potential feeling of division. Encounters with ambassadors and personnel from embassies with a presence in the country such as France, Italy, China, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and the United States added international appeal.

?I want them to realize that it?s a big, big world outside and Bosnia is a little country,? said organizer and promoter Susanne Prahl-Landzo, of the youth attending the event, many of whom were born either during or immediately after the war that tore the country apart along ethnic and cultural lines from 1992 to 1995. ?These differences get lost in the big world.? Exposure to all the foreign accents help them appreciate all that they have in common, such as their language, she said.

While Prahl-Landzo said she hoped the ideas behind the festival would ?spread like a virus,? WAN is considering how it might reach out to the country?s young readers. The environment is ripe for WAN's successful NIE projects, which use newspapers as a classroom resource to teach any subject, from math to critical thinking, while raising awareness about the importance of a free press in democracy.

?This is why we expose them to different cultures,? Prahl-Landzo said. ?I want them to realize that multi-ethnic doesn?t mean Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks. We need to break the idea of having these ethnic differences.?

Mildrade Cherfils
Young Reader Programmes
14 June 2006
Chris Schuepp
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
Youth Media Consulting GbR
c/o ECMC (European Centre for Media Competence)
Bergstr. 8 / 11th floor
D-45770 Marl - Germany
Tel./Fax: +49 2365 502480
Mobile: +49 176 23107083
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