21 Unexpected Ways to Say I Love You. NYE Love Resolutions

21 Unexpected Ways to Say I Love You. 

 

Heart of the Milky Way

1. Treasure maps. Make them yourself, lines and roads and rivers and words drawn in ink on paper. Maps for the heart, or the apartment, or the city, or the psyche, treasure waiting to be found.

2. Kindness. It’s free. It never gets old or used up or worn out. It is sometimes more important than all the other things, to simply be kind.

3. Laundry service.

4. Letters and love notes written in unsuspecting ways and places. Chalk on the sidewalk. Written in sand and snow. Post it notes on the car windshield. Large poster board taped to the brick wall by the coffee shop frequented every morning. Tucked in the coat pocket or backpack or lunch box. Lipstick on the mirror. Sharpie on the wall and sheets, because some things deserve to be permanent.

5. Time. But not just any time. Time with your full attention.

6. A box of favorite scents: sweetness of orange blossom, rough of worn leather, ponds cold cream, rose water, tobacco and clove, dark perfume, old books, memory of geranium oil, comfort of cotton that has dried in the heat of summer sun.

7. Amnesty. For what was done to survive. For what was done in the fumbling of finding the way. For forgetting dates and numbers. For never being on time. For not being able to make it work. For wanting what we want. For being human, living.

8. A nest.

9. Wake him up. Shake her from the shelter of sleep. Pull them from bed, outside, to where the moon hangs low to the ground. To where the air is cold. “Why”, he says, tugging on sweater and shoes. “What are we doing?” she asks, pulling the door shut behind. “To see the sky”, is the answer. Walk to the backyard or get in the car and drive for as long as it takes. In the night. When it is quiet, and so dark, and the stars shatter and are so, so many. This. This is the present. To be here, to see this. Unable to count their number, and how, forever then, you both remember that night, when sleep was abandoned and the sky was given as gift and grace.

10. The truth. A clear no. A real yes.

11. Paper airplanes, with secret messages penned inside the hidden folds and creases of wings.

12. A new beginning. Not the same as a second chance. This is knowing there is no going backwards. So this is where things now begin new.

13. The gift of seeing someone. And naming what you see.

14. An antique frame, with nothing inside. Four cornered and blank space, hanging on the wall, asking for the freedom of emptiness or the curiosity of filling with whatever is found. An empty frame, and all the words on scraps of paper, and love notes, and question marks that will come to rest there on any given day, an ever changing conversation.

15. A compass. A list of navigation. Ways to remember how to come home.

16. Raw honey.

17. The gift of giving to yourself, whatever it is you want. Taking good care. Treating yourself like someone who is deserving of the things saved for special occasions, and can have them whenever they would like. One who needs good sleep, and good food, and good loving, and is sovereign, responsible for tending to the life that is your own. So give yourself what you want. Take yourself to buy new face cream or beautiful underthings. A trip to France. A hot bath. A week, or month, or year with no obligations. Going to the matinee, alone, eating popcorn and getting lost in another world. The room with the window that lets in the sound of the ocean while you sleep, and wakes you to the feel of heat, where, even inside, you can taste the salt in your mouth.

18. Give questions. Curiosity. Suspending assumption and the belief that you ‘know’, willing to wake up and no matter how many years it has been, to still be able to be surprised and delighted, asking questions, wanting to know more.

19. Holy water and the savage sacrilege of having no answers, just the seeking of a hunter heart, that will come find you, again and again.

20. The gift that was always wanted, but never received. Track it down. Find it now, and give it. Which is the gift of memory, and completion, and love. The baby doll in the basket. The sheet music to the song whose name couldn’t be remembered, just the melody hummed. The coveted pocket knife, smooth and cold to the touch. The telescope. The charcoal pencils and liquid ink pens, speaking the language of who you were going to become.

21. Stories written on the lines of your palm, waiting to be discovered.

 

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‘Machuca’ (2004), ‘Salvador Allende’(2004) Film Review / Political dimension

‘Machuca’ (2004), ‘Salvador Allende’(2004) Film Review

Erika Haxhi

The Many Faces of Allende’s Revolution in Chilean New Era  Cinematography

Chilean politics has been constantly fascinating to the rest of the world because of its innovative and unique figures such as Salvador Allende or Pinochet who have turned the world focus on this country. Chile has also been praised for the especially early applications of the constitutional democracy. The first “communist” democratically elected president, Salvador Allende has permanently attracted the attention of, economy, literature and especially cinematography. However there has been always place left to exceed the  understanding of Allende’s mysterious case and the review of two Chilean cinema masterpieces will lead to this purpose.

The Latin American cinematography lacks surrealism, compared to the eastern one. This can be considered as a helpful element which facilitates critical analysis and understanding by a larger audience. In this cinematographic era we become thirsty to see concrete images   which are offered by these two films. Two masterpieces, created in the same year, 2004, focus on a similar topic but divided by their distinct perspectives and dimensions. “Machuca” and “Salvador Allende” 2004 expose the political, social and emotional conditions of Chile throughout Allende’s era and partly covering the jump to Pinochet dictatorship. The two films discover many different layers of the society, including the proletarian, bourgeoisie and upper classes. The documentary aims more to praise Salvador Isabelino Allende Gomez, whereas Machuca implies more hidden details and interpretations of the context. Captivatingly the two successful works form a puzzle in understanding the many faces of Allendes time.

Machuca, is a film directed by Andres Wood. Most of its scenes are shot around the catholic preparatory school, called ‘’collegio’’. Serving as the wall of firing innovative ideals, the bloody debates and the cruel relations of Santiago’s reality, the school constituted the point of overlap and fight between the proletariat class represented by kid Pedro Machuca and the liberal bourgeois Gonzalo. The success for the right wing middle class was not guaranteed although the willing and passionate professor , who was in the same time priest  tried hard and used all the free mechanisms to inject Allende’s principles. The school is not randomly chosen and it is there where an air of social change is announced .A scene of mixing up kids in the class launches the start of the film. It demonstrates directly the goal of uniting the social classes together. The relations built between the children aimed at changing the old generation’s perspective as well. When the wind of change seemed to reflect the first steps, the collapse came and there was no time left to move toward. Could it have been a transition that would lead to a better future for the Chilean nation?  This answer involves speculations. Many hypotheses are brought up in politics .Given that Allende came in power with only one third of electors’ vote and the political background of the country had deepened in crisis over frequent leader changes despite the democratic and transparent election originating from 1891  one could  not expect not a favorable outcome from his rule . However, reviewing the characters discussion in the following documentary it will suggest stronger beliefs in the possible brilliant future of Allende’s experiment.

“Machuca Raise your voice” -the professor told to the poor child when he first represented himself to the class.

The main characters of Machuca are kids. They are often introduced in war films in order to depict the simplicity and honest perception of war events: the power, the feelings, dramas, relationships or the conflicts. This trend is becoming more and more common in a way that is abusive. The producers ought to focus on children in order to make the scenario appear as real as possible but they do not consider that they are weak to revolt against the injustice and the miserable reality. In a different way, if the youth would be placed at the center, they would act, demonstrate, scream or use instead violence to free themselves. The final scene of the film can illustrate perfectly this idea.  When Gozalo goes as an ordinary joyful child to the neighborhood of Machuca there comes the most collapsing moment.  He is caught up in a mixed bag of emotions: fear, pity, deception, surprise; and the most essential element is that he has got a desperate powerless expression. The camera focused him very closely and it depicts all the small details, how the expressions changes through decimal of seconds. The confrontation of a little childish bicycle with the jeeps of the soldiers reveals a metaphor of the helpless little man. All this is in relation to the military force. The innocent relationship between Gonzalo and Machuca is the purest example that the film producer introduces to show the possibility of the connection between the middle bourgeoisie class and the proletarian one. Moreover, the film acts with a triangle of kids: Machuca, Gonzalo and Silvana who were miserably used to sell the flags and overcome the extreme poverty of their family. They are the victims and they represent the future of the country which appears as brutally manipulated, abused and speechless.

Long life Chile Long Life People Long Life workers

In the documentary written and produced by Patricio Guzman in 2004, the icon of  Chilean cinematography, we notice primarily real pictures from historical archives of Allende’s life from his birth to his death .Taking in consideration the background of the director’s  work we can reveal that he follows the same lines as in the other documentaries as well. He tries from the beginning to depict the superiority associated with the wistful Allende, initially launching the street art of propaganda, which always somehow soften even the freakiest persuaders. He even uses the word painters for the people who did the scratches and portraits all over the roads of Chile. The characters that are introduced and interviewed constitute important keys to discover Allende’s achievements but they may contain transformation by the metamorphosis in decades, by feelings of affection and nostalgia. The question of objectivity is very fundamental when one starts to criticize. The problems lay in the fact whether it the main concern of a documentary is to unveil the Allende phenomena or to depict the reality of Allende’s era and system?

The documentary chooses to represent the most important successes of Allendes’ time, sort of trendy, portraying the man along with his people and representing the sound of pleasure and affection toward Allende. Kind of surprising was to find Allende as a French revolution savant and not a Marxist or Lenininist. According to the interviewers he believed on the three values:  equality, liberty and fraternity. Can this be taken as true as it was retrieved by the closed relatives and his admires?  The only principles that he pretended to have retrieved by these platforms were the support for the workers and fighting inequality. What all about these principles?  There is no suspicion and critical thinking related to that question in the documentary. It seems like that is taken for granted by the producer.  Not accepting dictatorship of proletariat and the single party does not equal non-connection with Leninism. Instead there is a tendency to represent Allende as a libertarian based only on his  inspiration from his libertarian professors such as Juan da Marci, an anarchist of 1980. There is not, however, enough information to support this perspective. The whole program of the Popular Unity is focused on the support of the working class through establishing work, health care, public education, which is not strongly emphasized in the scenario. However we can only hypothesize whether Allende had time to prove the effectiveness because it was suddenly interrupted by Pinochet coup in 1973. So the opinions remain even nowadays ambiguous. Even if the documentary tries to show that Allende promoted a transition stage, the initiation and change was founding the roots and nothing could be yet seen. The example of a similar type of communism in other Latin American countries makes our vision biased toward the possibilities of Chile too. Other external factors, such as US blocking other sides through the secret plans of Nixon ruined the continuation of Allende’s regime as well. From the documentary results that even the US ambassador Edward Corry did not know about CIA support and espionage.  The ambassador feared and declared the threat of intervention of US in Chile; he was lucid only about the squeeze in economy declared by the president.

Another point that lacks in the documentary is the road followed by Allende to guarantee the democratic stability. Were his tactics associated with morality, justice and ideals effective?  Was the promotion of peace accepted by the people? If we compare with Machuca perspective, people in the documentary were not as peaceful as Allende wanted them to be. They instead were geared up to violence as the easiest way to achieve the goals. Poverty was haunting and the crash of classes among the society was not as simple to overcome. Victory in agriculture with the abolishment of latifundia was successful but was harmfully fought by the game losers: the rich people, the private owners of corporations.

From the documentary we can conclude very clearly that Guyman sympathizes with Allende personality, his political ideals and the reforms. He tries to make it as real as possible using figures, personalities from the reality such as colleagues, relatives, the crossest persons of Allende and US representative as well.

How to find a fulfilling Work ?- New Year Resolution

On the art-science of “allowing the various petals of our identity to fully unfold.”

“If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment,” wrote Dostoevsky“all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning.” Indeed, the quest to avoid work andmake a living of doing what you love is a constant conundrum of modern life. In How to Find Fulfilling Work (public library) — the latest installment in The School of Life’s wonderful series reclaiming the traditional self-help genre as intelligent, non-self-helpy, yet immensely helpful guides to modern living, which previously gave us Philippa Perry’s How to Stay Sane and Alain de Botton’s How to Think More About Sex — philosopher Roman Krznaric (remember him?)explores the roots of this contemporary quandary and guides us to its fruitful resolution:

The desire for fulfilling work — a job that provides a deep sense of purpose, and reflects our values, passions and personality — is a modern invention. … For centuries, most inhabitants of the Western world were too busy struggling to meet their subsistence needs to worry about whether they had an exciting career that used their talents and nurtured their wellbeing. But today, the spread of material prosperity has freed our minds to expect much more from the adventure of life.

We have entered a new age of fulfillment, in which the great dream is to trade up from money to meaning.

Krznaric goes on to outline two key afflictions of the modern workplace — “a plague of job dissatisfaction” and “uncertainty about how to choose the right career” — and frames the problem:

Never have so many people felt so unfulfilled in their career roles, and been so unsure what to do about it. Most surveys in the West reveal that at least half the workforce are unhappy in their jobs. One cross-European study showed that 60 per cent of workers would choose a different career if they could start again. In the United States, job satisfaction is at its lowest level — 45 per cent — since record-keeping began over two decades ago.

Of course, Krznaric points out, there’s plenty of cynicism and skepticism to go around, with people questioning whether it’s even possible to find a job in which we thrive and feel complete. He offers an antidote to the default thinking:

There are two broad ways of thinking about these questions. The first is the ‘grin and bear it’ approach. This is the view that we should get our expectations under control and recognize that work, for the vast majority of humanity — including ourselves — is mostly drudgery and always will be. Forget the heady dream of fulfillment and remember Mark Twain’s maxim. “Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.” … The history is captured in the word itself. The Latin labormeans drudgery or toil, while the French travail derives from the tripalium, an ancient Roman instrument of torture made of three sticks. … The message of the ‘grin and bear it’ school of thought is that we need to accept the inevitable and put up with whatever job we can get, as long as it meets our financial needs and leaves us enough time to pursue our ‘real life’ outside office hours. The best way to protect ourselves from all the optimistic pundits pedaling fulfillment is to develop a hardy philosophy of acceptance, even resignation, and not set our hearts on finding a meaningful career.

I am more hopeful than this, and subscribe to a different approach, which is that it is possible to find work that is life-enhancing, that broadens our horizons and makes us feel more human.

[…]

This is a book for those who are looking for a job that is big enough for their spirit, something more than a ‘day job’ whose main function is to pay the bills.

 

‘Never have so many people felt so unfulfilled in their career roles, and been so unsure what to do about it.’

 

As we turn the corner of the 50th anniversary of The Feminine Mystique, Krznaric reminds us of the pivotal role the emancipation of women played in the conception of modern work culture:

If the expansion of public education was the main event in the story of career choice in the nineteenth century, in the twentieth it was the growing number of women who entered the paid workforce. In the US in 1950 around 30 per cent of women had jobs, but by the end of the century that figure had more than doubled, a pattern which was repeated throughout the West. This change partly resulted from the struggle for the vote and the legitimacy gained from doing factory work in two World Wars. Perhaps more significant was the impact of the pill. Within just fifteen years of its invention in 1955, over twenty million women were using oral contraceptives, with more than ten million using the coil. By gaining more control over their own bodies, women now had greater scope to pursue their chosen professions without the interruption of unwanted pregnancy and childbearing. However, this victory for women’s liberation has been accompanied by severe dilemmas for both women and men as they attempt to find a balance between the demands of family life and their career ambitions.

Another culprit Krznaric points to in the stymying of our ability to find a calling is the industrial model of education:

The way that education can lock us into careers, or at least substantially direct the route we travel, would not be so problematic if we were excellent judges of our future interests and characters. But we are not. When you were 16, or even in your early twenties, how much did you know about what kind of career would stimulate your mind and offer a meaningful vocation? Did you even know the range of jobs that were out there? Most of us lack the experience of life — and of ourselves — to make a wise decision at that age, even with the help of well-meaning career advisers.

Krznaric considers the five keys to making a career meaningful — earning money, achieving status, making a difference, following our passions, and using our talents — but goes on to demonstrate that they aren’t all created equal. In particular, he echoes 1970s Zen pioneer Alan Watts and modern science in arguing that money alone is a poor motivator:

Schopenhauer may have been right that the desire for money is widespread, but he was wrong on the issue of equating money with happiness. Overwhelming evidence has emerged in the last two decades that the pursuit of wealth is an unlikely path to achieving personal wellbeing — the ancient Greek ideal of eudaimonia or ‘the good life.’ The lack of any clear positive relationship between rising income and rising happiness has become one of the most powerful findings in the modern social sciences. Once our income reaches an amount that covers our basic needs, further increases add little, if anything, to our levels of life satisfaction.

The second false prophet of fulfillment, as Y-Combinator Paul Graham has poignantly cautioned and Debbie Millman has poetically articulated, is prestige. Krznaric admonishes:

We can easily find ourselves pursuing a career that society considers prestigious, but which we are not intrinsically devoted to ourselves — one that does not fulfill us on a day-to-day basis.

Krznaric pits respect, which he defines as “being appreciated for what we personally bring to a job, and being valued for our individual contribution,” as the positive counterpart to prestige and status, arguing that “in our quest for fulfilling work, we should seek a job that offers not just good status prospects, but good respect prospects.”

Rather than hoping to create a harmonious union between the pursuit of money and values, we might have better luck trying to combine values with talents. This idea comes courtesy of Aristotle, who is attributed with saying, ‘Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.’

Krznaric quotes the French writer François-René de Chateaubriand, who wrote over a century ago:

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.

 

Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, arms stretched out wide, is the quintessential symbol of the Renaissance wide achiever.

 

And yet, Krznaric argues, a significant culprit in our vocational dissatisfaction is the fact that the Industrial Revolution ushered in a cult of specialization, leading us to believe that the best way to be successful is to become an expert in a narrow field. Like Buckminster Fuller, who famously admonished against specialization, Krznaric cautions that this cult robs us of an essential part of being human: the fluidity of character and our multiple selves:

Specialization may be all well very well if you happen to have skills particularly suited to these jobs, or if you are passionate a niche area of work, and of course there is also the benefit of feeling pride in being considered an expert. But there is equally the danger of becoming dissatisfied by the repetition inherent in many specialist professions. … Moreover, our culture of specialization conflicts with something most of us intuitively recognize, but which career advisers are only beginning to understand: we each have multiple selves. … We have complex, multi-faceted experiences, interests, values and talents, which might mean that we could also find fulfillment as a web designer, or a community police officer, or running an organic cafe.

This is a potentially liberating idea with radical implications. It raises the possibility that we might discover career fulfillment by escaping the confines of specialization and cultivating ourselves as wide achievers … allowing the various petals of our identity to fully unfold.

Krznaric advocates for finding purpose as an active aspiration rather than a passive gift:

“Without work, all life goes rotten, but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies,” wrote Albert Camus. Finding work with a soul has become one of the great aspirations of our age. … We have to realize that a vocation is not something we find, it’s something we grow — and grow into.

It is common to think of a vocation as a career that you somehow feel you were “meant to do.” I prefer a different definition, one closer to the historical origins of the concept: a vocation is a career that not only gives you fulfillment — meaning, flow, freedom — but that also has a definitive goal or a clear purpose to strive for attached to it, which drives your life and motivates you to get up in the morning.

And yet fulfilling work doesn’t come from the path of least resistance. He cites from Viktor Frankl’s famous treatise on the meaning of life:

What man actually needs is not some tension-less state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.

 

Marie Curie didn’t find her vocation. She grew it.

 

For a perfect example, Krznaric points to reconstructionist Marie Curie:

Curie was absolutely committed to her career. She lived an almost monastic lifestyle in her early years in Paris, surviving on nothing but buttered bread and tea for weeks at a time, which left her anemic and regularly fainting from hunger. She shunned her growing fame, had no interest in material comforts, preferring to live in a virtually unfurnished home: status and money mattered little to her. When a relative offered to buy her a wedding dress, she insisted that “if you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.” Before her death in 1934, aged 67, she summed up her philosophy of work: “Life is not easy for any of us,” she said. “But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”

But while Curie’s career embodies the essential elements of meaning — she employed her intellectual talents in the direction of her passion for science, which she pursued with “Aristotelean sense of purpose” — Krznaric debunks theeureka! myth of genius and points out that Curie’s rise to vocational fulfillment was incremental, as she allowed her mind to remain open rather than closed in on her specialization, recognizing the usefulness of useless knowledge:

Marie Curie never had [a] miraculous moment of insight, when she knew that she must dedicate her working life to researching the properties of radioactive materials. What really occurred was that this goal quietly crept up on her during years of sustained scientific research. … Her obsession grew in stages, without any Tannoy announcement from the heavens that issued her a calling. That’s the way it typically happens: although people occasionally have those explosive epiphanies, more commonly a vocation crystallizes slowly, almost without us realizing it.

So there is no great mystery behind it all. If we want a job that is also a vocation, we should not passively wait around for it to appear out of thin air. Instead we should take action and endeavor to grow it like Marie curie. How? Simply by devoting ourselves to work that gives us deep fulfillment through meaning, flow and freedom. … Over time, a tangible and inspiring goal may quietly germinate, grow larger, and eventually flower into life.

A quick yet disproportionately enriching read, How to Find Fulfilling Work is excellent in its entirety. Complement it with this timelessly wonderful 1949 guide to avoiding work.

#1 The Trail , Brainstorming & Free writing

Mystery and ease combined with each other characterize the first lines of Kafka masterpiece, The Trail. A sudden break of the most usual routine hits the life of K. The abbreviation of his name K, itself, represents from the beginning a sort of intrigue and increases the motivation to deepen more into thinking while reading this book.

K wakes up and finds himself among strangers. The author describes the visible characteristics of these beings, which have suddenly invaded K, in extremely cold and nocturne colors, which force a dark imagination. The reader creates instinctively a conception of these strangers’ personalities. From their cold statements we can retrieve rudeness, professional ignorance but at the same time pomposity, which consequently establish the paradox. They do not even recognize their superiors although they have this kind of authority to arrest and pressure.  In the other hand we notice an important statement. He claims to be innocent but he does not eve know the Law. How contradictory that can be? However we cannot expand the analysis of this phrase at this stage. That can be the key of the entire book understanding or just an introductory to the following episodes.

The extremely interesting details, which we find in this chapter, are countless. One of them, which hit me most, is the choice of the author to match the day of arrest with his thirty birthdays. Thirty anniversaries are supposed to announce another stage of life, a start of stability, achievements and perhaps a significant moment of nostalgy. Hence, the unexpected event changed completely the common sense of this day. The existentialism strikes from the first lines of the book. Mister K questions his entire being and his existence in this life through the discussion and his personal reflections. His breakfast is not anymore at the exact time, he is not even certain about his job in the bank and for the first time he returns directly back home after work. Does he know how to deal with brand new issues happening? Is he respectful anymore? This expert man who somehow was shining in his domain and had a comfortable life suddenly turns into an alien who has came to rule the K’s life. 

Youth Work – Serbian Model

Peer-Learning Team: Cemal, Erika, Kristina, Joakim

 

A: Reflections on the general social and institutional context for youth work and non-formal learning in Serbia:

Regarding the historical development of youth work in Serbia and circumstances and non-formal education, it can trace back to the 1990s. But the most important developments can be seen especially after the 2000s. Some levels and strategic documents have been adopted and some youth organisations established, and some of them are under construction still. Some of the important laws and documents are:

–          Law on Youth (2011)

–          Law on Volunteerism (2010)

–          National Youth Strategy (2008)

–          Provincial Youth Strategy (2011)

–          Strategy for Career Guidance

National adviser for youth is under construction for two years and besides that Ministry for Youth and Sport (MoYS) (2007). There is a clear division in civil sector: (1) Youth association: Mostly youth organisations which work with the youth and its members under 30 years old. (2) Association for Youth: Its organisations give support to the youth and their general service providers.

690 organisations and associations are registered with MoYS. There are 101 career guidance centres and 13 of them are in universities. Youth organisations in Serbia are mostly active in areas of human rights, youth participation, culture, public health, environment protection and inclusion. But there is great variety of organisational capacities. The most important opportunity is young population rate in Serbia, 18%, and maybe the biggest challenge is with budgets and funding. As far as we’ve said before, public knowledge about youth work and non-formal learning is superficial and youth work is still developing. We can say the same thing about the recognition of youth work and non-formal learning. In the last two years, the term of non-formal education and its definition has started to be seen in some of the official documents, which is a first step.

B: Reflections on statutes and recognition of non-formal learning and youth work in Serbia:

Recognition of youth work and non-formal learning in Serbia is developing.

To compare with our own countries:

Turkey: Despite the fact that Euromed youth, youth and youth in action programmes have played an important role in the development of youth work. It is an area that still needs to be developed in Turkey. Apart from the Turkish national agency there is only one governmental body supporting youth work in Turkey: Minister of Youth and Sport. The development of youth work in Turkey owes a great deal to NGOs working on youth issues, and youth organisations such as Youth for Habitat, Community Volunteer Foundation, Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey, Youth for Understanding. Youth is often regarded as a voluntary kind of work, and public authorities approach to civil society in general, and youth work in particular is supportive. But over the last couple of years, some of the organisations have started to give projects cycle management training for a fee in Turkey. Some of the workers in these organisations, like accountants, IT officers and other specialists, are earning money in these NGOs. That’s why the approach to the NGOs is changing slowly. As far as we know, there is no real connection between the formal education and the youth workers, but some of the private schools are starting to use non-formal educational methods when teaching foreign languages and maths and sometimes also in lessons of physical education.

Norway: In Norway youth work is largely undertaken on a voluntary basis, and it is very much recognised as adding significant value to society. Whether sports associations or other activities, it requires initiative from someone to have the given activity materialise. Parents are integral when incepting and perpetuating the activity, as coaching, organisation, fundraising, and more, require the energy of the supporting apparatus of the association. For youngsters and kids, no formal certification is common in this context. The formal education sector is usually very lenient in allowing pupils or students to pursue their extra-curricular activities and interests. Youth work practitioners, or others who have something to teach in a non-formal way (e.g. theatre instructors, cartoonists, actors, etc) are relatively often invited to schools to hold workshops.

Albania: NGOs , associations and other institutions which deal with youth work are very much fractioned in Albania. This division of civil society creates great competition and few results. There is a problematic invisibility of the youth work in Albania. A bridge that could connect youth with the activities, trainings or workshops on behalf of non-formal education is necessary to be constructed. In addition, there is an absence of professionalism among the youth workers. They are lacking the right education and qualification. A special faculty or major should be established to offer this indispensable learning. Thus, we suffer from lots of amateurs in the field of youth work. However , there is a positive wave of intercultural connection from EVS and  other international programmes which enriches our non-formal learning system. Finally, there is a great necessity to create new policies in this particular field , serious recognition and support from the central institutions.

Macedonia: Youth work in Macedonia is usually is recognized as a voluntary job and is not undertaken as a real profession. Macedonia had made some steps forward establishing the Ministry for Youth and Sport and the Law of Volunteerism but there were few unsuccessful tries for making the Law for Youth. So still there are a lot of NGO’s which are working with and for the youths, and there are a lot of projects and activities running by the civil society but  still he youth work is not so visible and recognized in society.

C: Reflections on innovative practices in youth work and non-formal learning in Serbia:

Interesting to see how Hajdeda used theatre to activate physically disabled people, and also how they coupled disabled people with non-disabled people to create understanding between them and the audience who watched the show.

We enjoyed seeing how care for the environment was merged with the concern for local youth. Creating activities for local youth which had a very clear environmental component, such as the near “carbon-neutral” premises, and organising outdoors camps with activities which are based on getting close to nature.

MaTerra was innovative in that it stands apart from other cafés and bookshops. It has a strong profile of no-discrimination which encourages critical thinking and conversation and invites youth and other people to come by and challenge their prejudices.

Smart Collective Face-to-Face:” Robin Hood” organisation in that it gathers funds from companies and distributes it to organisations. They inform companies about their goals and targets, and invite companies to donate funds, which are in turn passed on to different organisations which are members of (or registered with) Face-to-Face.

 

 

We have a feeling that many of the youth work organisations seem a bit “elitist” in their selection processes. Although several of them mention that they try to include Roma-people and other minority groups, we are still left with a feeling that mostly the youngsters who are already performing well in some formal setting who are taken in and follow up on. We wonder about the ones who are falling through the cracks, as there seems to be a gap there in the Serbian context. 

The Persuit of Ignorance

Ignorance has a lot of bad connotations [but] I mean a different kind of ignorance. I mean a kind of ignorance that’s less pejorative, a kind of ignorance that comes from a communal gap in our knowledge, something that’s just not there to be known or isn’t known well enough yet or we can’t make predictions from, the kind of ignorance that’s maybe best summed up in a statement by James Clerk Maxwell, perhaps the greatest physicist between Newton and Einstein, who said, “Thoroughly conscious ignorance is the prelude to every real advance in science.” I think it’s a wonderful idea: thoroughly conscious ignorance.

[…]

So I’d say the model we want to take is not that we start out kind of ignorant and we get some facts together and then we gain knowledge. It’s rather kind of the other way around, really. What do we use this knowledge for? What are we using this collection of facts for? We’re using it to make better ignorance, to come up with, if you will, higher-quality ignorance.