D. Policy & Action – As Yin & Yang!

After exploring the meaning of reconciliation, its significance, the role of youth in its implementation and the youth exchange as an important tool to bring the desired outcomes, it is time to take a step further and jump into practice.

Policy making in the perspective of youth exchanges towards reconciliation does not differ at all from the general rules of policy development processes. The so called ‘policy cycle’ is a simple concept, that is demonstrated in these five basic steps1:

Source: Internal

Following this well-established rule of the ‘policy cycle’ sets the basis for your policy making process. Though these five steps can be enriched with multiple other factors that may be relevant to your goal and that you should definitely take into consideration in the phase of designing, formulating and applying your policy. No idea what we are talking about? Here are a few ideas:

  • Who are the actors involved?
  • What is their specific role in the process?
  • What is the historical/social background?
  • What kind of resources are required to implement your policy?
  • What administrative support would you need?
  • What are the capacities and skills you own?

Of course, these are only a few indicative examples of different factors you should consider through the process of policy making.

SECRET BOX

Let yourselves free and explore all elements that apply in your policy making process! The more you elaborate on it, the better prepared you will be for a successful policy circle!

THIS IS US!

Now that you know all about policy making, let’s try to figure out what we should keep in mind while developing your policy for reconciliation! The process is quite sensitive and delicate, so you definitely need to include the humanitarian and historical aspects of your topic as well.

Is all this Greek to you? Here are some guidelines:

ACTION 1: Abandon fear, embrace peaceful coexistence!

Past has traumatized all involved parties with sadness, hatred, emotional wounds, bitterness, fear and hostility. It’s your policy’s goal to prove that the future can heal and present allows coexistence in an understanding and honest way!

How is this achieved through youth exchanges?

Young people from various local contexts are brought together, get to know each other, overcome their hesitation of interacting and socializing with their peers “from the other side”, appreciate new relationships and are ready to return in their local context and preach their experience and messages of unity and peace.

ACTION 2: Build understanding, trust and confidence!

It is more than important to explain different perspectives, realize the causes and consequences, to understand the historical context of the conflict, but also to deconstruct it and acknowledge its effect on the involved individuals and groups. This process will gradually result in evoking emotions of trust and confidence, defined by the humanitarian perspective of all people involved.

How is this achieved through youth exchanges?

Young people are offered time and space to explain their perspective –which more or less is influenced by their communities and general public perception of their place of origin-, explore other sides of the coin presented by their peers, and result in embracing their differences related to ethnicity, culture, political beliefs, identity or even religion. At the same time human values of equality, respect, tolerance, acceptance and dignity are promoted, to fill the missing pieces of the puzzle towards reconciliation and peace.

ACTION 3: Build skills and raise capacities!

Empathy and acceptance is the easy target when it comes to disagreement and conflict, but also play a key-role in forming policy towards reconciliation. It is definitely one side of human beings – it genuinely exists since the moment we are born! It is usually buried though under the dust and burden of history and dark pages of the past. What do we need to do to bring it back to life? Build skills and capacities to understand, accept, respect and move forward, overcoming the past, living in the present and dreaming for the future@

How is this achieved through youth exchanges?

What could be better than bringing young people together and developing their skills to overcome stereotypes and prejudice: the golden ticket towards rebuilding relationships that were demolished by strong conflicts – even fiercely violent on occasions. Bringing them together and raising their capacities is the secret ingredient for an unforgettable peaceful dinner!

Forming policy and turning it to action and vice versa can be a challenging and quite demanding process, especially when it is aiming to achieve reconciliation in conflict and post-conflict areas. So is every effort to change society towards a better future, so…do your best, try hard, follow our Toolkit’s guidelines and recommendations and we guarantee that you are certainly a couple of steps closer to a successful result!

Source: https://www.quotemaster.org/policy+implementation

1 Quality of the Public Administration – A Toolbox for Practitioners (2017), European Commission

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