See beyond the prejudices

15 - 21.10.2012

Aksaray, Turkey


SMIT "CREATOR" members were participating in a youth exchange titled See beyond the prejudices is co-ordinated by Aksaray Sosyal Bilimler Lisesi AB Gençlik Kulübü and held in Aksaray, Turkey.


The Project is about tolerance and dialogue. We are all living on the same earth but we have many differences. One of the main difference is RELIGION. Although we are parts of different religions, we can live together peacefully. In our Project we will prove that we can tolerate each other even if we are parts of different religions. We will succeed that via dialogue.

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Comments: 8
  • #1

    Jan Talaga (Wednesday, 24 October 2012 22:16)

    Although nowadays intercultural communication and interactions seem fundamental for European Union, a role of prejudices in a field of religions has been constantly growing. Every form of discussion about these problems is extremely needed and required. This is a report of an international project “See beyond the prejudices”, which took in Aksaray, Turkey.
    In the middle of October I has an incredible opportunity to participate in a seven day long project which was organized in Aksaray, Turkey. Although groups of participants came from four countries: Denmark, Poland, Romania and Turkey, altogether nine counties were represented (in addition: Belarus, Hungary, Italy, Moldova and Ukraine). It gave us a great spectrum of discussed issues in different countries among Europe.
    In general we were focused on spreading religious tolerance and multilateral understanding. All major religions of Europe were represented. All participants agreed that religion has a great influence into everyday life and everyone’s point of view. In the project we proved we can tolerate each other even if we are parts of different religions. We succeeded our goals via dialogue and games. Group discussion confirmed we all have different point of view and taught us to respect each other.
    One of the most important moment of the project for me was visiting a praying area of ancient mosque in Aksaray. Usually it is extremely difficult for not believer to understand meaning of praying rituals. We stayed there for a while in spiritual silence. Then the leader of Turkish group started to sing holy lyrics of Al Quran in Arabic. Next, main pillars of Islam and Islamic ways of praying were explained to us. In my opinions this practical experience was far more useful and interesting than hundreds of boring theoretical lectures.
    Another event I found really interesting was sightseeing of Istanbul and Cappadocia. These two places have been having a huge impact into development of European culture for more than two thousand years. It is really exiting to discover multicultural background of Turkish and European culture. That’s why Turkey seems to be a perfect place for hosting projects like that.
    “See beyond the prejudices” was a well-organized and effective project. I am absolutely sure every participant enjoyed his/her time in Turkey and took many benefits. In my opinion we built really stable fundament for further cooperation.

  • #2

    Pavel Ivanchyk (Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:26)

    In our times when globalization process embraced almost all countries, all of us have to deal with diversity. Diversity includes – different looking, opinions, religion, tradition and so on. Of course it is a huge advantage, but at the same time it is also a source misunderstanding, conflicts, prejudices not only among people who live in different countries, but also among citizens of the same country. It is necessary to conduct workshops, discussion, and meeting which will be a cause not only for dialogue between different countries’ leaders but also among regular citizens, who have less information, and have more difficulties to cope with this issue.
    Participation in a training course “See Beyond the Prejudices” which was conducted in Aksaray, Turkey from 7.10.2012 to 14.10.2012, was a nice opportunity to get a deep overview in this issue. During training course in Braga 28 youth people from all over Europe had a chance to meet each other, learn and work together. The aims of this training were: firstly – to give an overview and understanding what “Youth in action” program is and how does it work; secondly – to introduce concept of religion in general, and to show all main world religions, thirdly – to show how stereotypes and prejudices are common, and that it is also a source of problems; and finally - to share ideas and opinions how to see beyond the prejudices, and how to teach others to do same things. All kind of activities have been a part of so called non-formal learning exercises, like group work, role-playing, creation activities, debriefing, that are widely used now as a main technique of working with youth to develop the different skills and competences. During these nine days of training participant also had a chance to meet and understand deeply Islamic world, and culture by visiting mosque and meeting with Muslim people. By the way all of us had a nice chance to have a meeting with Turkish culture.
    As a results of training it is important to mention that all of participant enhanced their background and experiences not only about religion, especially Islam, but also learn how important tolerance is, and how to share and spread it over the world.

  • #3

    Sniżana Neczesniuk (Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:27)

    Religion is a very important part of everyone's life. From the very childhood determines its further views and thoughts directed toward certain goals. This is a report of an international project, which took place in Aksaray, Turkey.
    From 15 – 21 October 2012 I was a participant in the project title „See Beyond the Prejudices”. This was a project dedicated to religious tolerance, but also talks about the cultural differences based on religion. Attended four countries, namely Poland, Turkey, Denmark and Romania. It was a very well-regulated stay in Turkey. We had a plan that we got before the trip, so we knew that what we do and what lies ahead. Besides the conference, which give out information about Islam and other religions, we work in groups. Often were also outputs to Aksaraj center, allowing the understanding of culture and knowing the daily lives of their inhabitants. Also, one full day was devoted to visiting Cappadocia. It was a very nice tour with great views. It is also deselect that we had a typical Turkish dishes. One important part of the program was "cultural night", where each of the countries-participants presented their country. Were exhibited typical food, music and presentations.
    It was my first trip to this type of project, but I will never forget it, it was a very well-organized project in all respects. Thanks to him we were able to see cultural differences as well as similarities. Polish group also had a chance to visit the capital of Turkey, Istanbul, thanks to a faster arrival at the place of the project. I would like to also highlight the good work of Polish leader Kasia, which could be very helpful, especially in terms of language. It was a great time to get to know other interesting people. For the future, I will recommend everyone to take part in such trips.

  • #4

    Jakub Moczek (Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:28)

    In the period 15-20 October I had the pleasure to participate in the project “See beyond the prejudices”. Took place in the charming city of Aksaray. It is a town in the central part of Turkey. The project involved people from Denmark, Polish, Romania and Turkey. On site we were greeted by beautiful weather and very polite part of the Turkish organizers. Initially, I was even suspicious, because so rare open-minded people in Poland, and here foreign to me without a shadow of embarrassment person treated me like a friend. The first two days were spent on activities related to the project in the Turkish school. All classes have a topic combat prejudice. Nowadays, you can see how difficult is it about religion. . Walking around the school, talking with the kids I felt like I walked around the school where I work in Poland. I could on my own experience, that even though we live in different countries, have different cultures and religions, the kids are the same. This conviction did not leave me until the end of the project. Visiting the holy places of Islam, or eating in a roadside kebab bar could always postpone this situation similar to Poland. I think the great strength of this project was the opportunity to see how often we get caught on the media tricks that shallow reality to the concepts of good-bad. This is of course good that we know, and this is bad you do not understand. I though am interested in religions of the world, I try to be the first to know the events in the world are a lot of things I learned. Besides the great value they were new friendships. Bearing in mind that a group of strangers in a week can forge such friendships can be the calm look to the future. The project itself was very well organized. Do not have time to get bored. I think they are in for a big round of applause. Even so, the most for all the values and knowledge which we passed. With a clear conscience I can say that many of the prejudices we were able to destroy. I hope more such projects.

  • #5

    Kasia Kokocińska (Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:30)

    Interfaith dialogue can help us understand that we are all interconnected.
    This is a report of an international project which took place in Aksaray, Turkey.
    In October 2012 I had a wonderful change to participate in a seven day project which was organized in Aksaray located in the central part of Turkey. It was international project for seven young people at age 18-25. Coming from such countries like Denmark, Poland, Romania and Turkey . The project was called,, See beyond the prejudices” In this raport I want to share with my feelings about this unforgettable experience. For me the main idea of the project was to prove myself and other participants of the project that tolerance and dialogue between different countries regardless of religion, culture, language is possible.
    During the time that we spend together we had an incredible opportunity to exchange our knowledge relate to interfaith dialogue. During a international culture nights I got some new information of Danish ,and Romanian people, who in a very interesting way presented and showed information about their country, culture, cuisine, religion and language. I could also try their traditional food and learnt how to dance their traditional dances. Besides that during Turkish culture night we had an opportunity to create Ebru ( Traditional Turkish water painting) and everyone could make his or her own piece of Ebru art.
    In my opinion Turkey as a hosting country has not been selected by accident. As we all know this is the place which was influenced by several cultures. What we had a change experience by sightseeing of Cappadocia which is unique in the world with its geographical formation. In the past Cappadocia also has become one of the most important centers of Christianity.
    I didn't found anyone disappointed with this trip.
    Organizational skills of Turkey, as host country, deserve for a recognition. Our Turkish friends showed us a lot of fascinating places in the city were we staying. In every situation we could always rely on their help. During our stay in Aksaray where we were accommodated, we immediately noticed that the all local people living there, were very curious about us. Everywhere we went we were welcomed very warmly by them. They were very happy about having us as their foreign visitors . Not only ordinary people noticed us because the pictures of us were published several times in Aksaray newspapers and in a TV reportage. In my opinion taking part in this project we showed that we can have a lot of tolerance to each other regardless of the place where we were born . So I think that the purpose of the project ,, See beyond the prejudices” was achieved. Everything we have experienced was so genuine, we've tasted real Turkey.
    I admit that the participation in this project was a real pleasure. We came home fully satisfied with the places we've been, what we've seen, tasted and done. I would recommend it to everyone.
    Summing up the Havran project gave me a chance to meet wonderful people and make friendships . Due to the fact that I’ve been in Turkey many times there was nothing surprising for me (about culture, life style, religion etc) but I have never expected that I’ll be given a chance to meet such wonderful people so thanks for that. My participant in this project showed me that there is still an opportunity for this world for peaceful coexistence and interfaith dialogue between different cultures.

  • #6

    Marlena Strużak (Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:30)

    Thanks to SMIT I could take part in such a great initiative as „See beyond the prejudices” project. It took place in Aksaray, Turkey.
    Participants came from Poland, Turkey, Romania and Denmark, but we had an opportunity to meet there also people from Hungary, Italy, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. For a seven days we’ve been talking about prejudices in a field of religion. This topic actually, as everyone knows, is full of them- and that’s why I think this kind of dialogue is extremely important.
    We had a possibility to get to know many important things about different religions, because participants represented major part of them- Christianity, Protestantism, Orthodoxy and Islam. Also few of us were non-believers - that’s why our discussions were very interesting and we could learn much from eachother.
    For me one of the most important things in project were words which I heard in a school where we had our “classes”. I was talking with some students about Turkey-Syria conflict, and when I asked them what they think about this, one girl said : “It is never good when people die, doesn’t matter who.” Then I realized that for all the time in a back of my mind I had the feeling hammered into me by the media, that Muslims are xenophobic and hateful. I was shocked that I could ever judge so easily such a large group of people composed of different personalities, characters and ideologies not influenced by religion. Now I’m sure I will never let anyone to persuade me some nonsense and make me believe in anything which is simply wrong any more.
    This project was a fantastic experience- I think nothing better could ever happen to me. I learned so many new things, I changed my way of thinking and, the most important- I met so many wonderful people that I can trust and rely on. I hope I will have more opportunities to be part of such a great initiative.

  • #7

    Ewa Mrozowicz (Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:32)

    I am very happy and satisfied that I could participate in program ,,See beyond the prejudices”. There were lot of young people, full of energy; everyone with own history and experiences.

    City where we were living – Aksaray – for me was totalny diffrent world, culture, religion and habits. The most surprised thing was the reaction of habitants for us – on the one hand they were very open minded, they invited us for a tradicional turkish wedding e.g. and on the other hand they were shocked of our presence there. And I was impressed of the school – the best one in state; it was very modern.

    Taking part in program allowed me to discuss and get knowledge about other religions, see diffrent points of view and break some stereotypes. I think that group activities are very developing and integrating, what is important for people who do not know each other.

    I am glad that we could visit Cappadocia, local craft shops and climb in the mountains – those views I will remember forever!

    The thing that I did not like was not enough of meritorical knowledge about religions. Unfortunately project was focused on Islam religion though participants represented many Religion what could be useful. My preposition is to make a discussion about interreligious and intercultural areas. These are places where exist lots of conflicts and it would be a good idea to teach young people talking about it and finding some solutions. I mean areas like Israel and Palestine or East Europe e.g.

    Very good concept was to organise the national evenings. We could get some information about living in Turkey, Romania and Denmark. We have learned about behaviors, traditions and standards proper in those countries and taught other people about Poland. Those meetings was very funny and needed.

    In general this project was great, I had really good time with people I have meet there. After that I can observe my country, city and habitants diffrently. I have learned a lot and now I have more motivation and energy to travel, learn and meet new people.

  • #8

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