Opening Event for Syria Delegation: A Warm Welcome
What a day it was! The YPI Syria Conference only takes place at the end of 2017 but the Youth Peace Initiative wanted to organise a first event on 24 April to warm up its young Syrian delegates. The day would be about getting to know each other as well as a short preview of things to come. That Monday nine out of the fifteen Syrians delegates came to the International Institute for Social Studies (ISS) to see their fellow enthusiasts. What followed was a day filled with smiles, heartfelt conversations, and a great start for the Conference to come.
After a brief introduction of the participants and organisers, a preview was given of the Conference later this year. At the centre of it stood the concept of scenario building, a tool that would allow delegates to anticipate different outcomes and plan their actions accordingly. With the stakes established, Unfold kicked off with a workshop for the delegates to get to know each other and break the ice. As teams got creative and worked together to build towers of spaghetti and marshmallows, it was safe to say that the ice was shattered. The energy continued to run through the group as they joined forces to get a fresh portion of pasta for lunch at a local bistro. The long table was soon filled with conversation as the participants filled themselves with enough food to last the day. The last group exercise of the day was a Spoken Word workshop. After a short introduction of the concept, delegates were given twenty minutes to dive deep into their memories and hearts to find something worth performing. Safe to say, everybody was blown away by the creativity, heartfelt and beautiful poetry that followed. Even for the members of YPI that had never been to Syria, the images created by these words brought feelings of nostalgia with them.
Looking back, both YPI and the delegates couldn’t wait to follow up on what was discussed that day. Contact details, ideas, and promises were exchanged as the day came to an end. Overall an amazing day that showcased all sides were enthusiastic to come together and discuss the future of Syria.