We completed the first youth exchange between young people from Poland and Ukraine, focusing on the topic “Galicia and Europe, Let’s Discover Our Common Identity.” The participants in the project, which lasted from the 21st to the 28th of October near the town of Tarnow, Poland, consisted of 24 young people from Ukraine and Poland.

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Galicia is a historical region that was once our common home, an occupied territory of Western Ukraine and South-Eastern Poland; therefore, the non-governmental organizations, “The Society Initiatives Institute” and “New Inspirations,” formed an idea to enhance regional cooperation in the context of shared history and culture of Galicia, which they successfully implemented.

The event brought together very diverse people who are working or studying in various fields (political science, law, economics, design, etc.), but who share one common goal – to build a strong and reasonable intercultural dialogue between the two countries.

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During the week, participants along with active youth coaches tried to find answers to the questions: What is identity? How are stereotypes born? How can stereotypes be destroyed through new perspectives and communication?

Every day there were workshops, lectures and debates. In particular, the topics included organizational capacity, international institutions and identity of Galicia, analysis of business in two different countries, language, analysis of historical facts and many others. Participants presented the culture of their regions and had a wonderful opportunity to see and understand how similar the seemingly quite different language, customs, traditions and values actually are of the abreast countries.

There was an organized trip to Krakow and Tarnow in order to further experience the atmosphere of the local lifestyle. Participants were provided time for active, recreational activities, including, volleyball, soccer and tennis. Polish and Ukrainian cultural events including dancing and karaoke also created a fun atmosphere for participants to discuss the important topic of the project in a less formal setting.

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As a result, the main goal of the project was achieved because it was important to not only find a common identity but to also develop a fruitful collaboration for future ideas, which are scheduled to be implemented in the coming months, in several stages. The next phase will launch soon and will consist of a series of educational activities in the schools of Lviv region in order to start building a platform for cooperation and the development of ideas.

The project “Galicia and Europe, Let’s Discover Our Common Identity” was launched under the Ukrainian-Polish exchange of young people and was supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Ukraine.