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Transformation & Personal Development          Designing Your Tomorrow

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iAct

 iACT

Inclusion through Activism, Communication and Tolerance

 

From 2021 till 2023, the International Arts Centre-Zagreb and U Thrive Europe-Brussels successfully implemented iACT, their first out of three common Erasmus+ projects, in Croatia and Belgium.

iACT was created to empower young people. It gathered youth from various walks of life, who were interested in exploring the issues related to inclusion, activism, communication and tolerance and who were looking for new answers and solutions. Our promise was to provide safe environment for everyone to express their ideas and views freely, unusual activities and workshops, stimulating discussions, an outlet for artistic expression, new friendships – and lots of fun.  

Our results

Access them fore free here:

Activities

A1. Training-for-trainers: exchange of expertise on innovative media for youth engagement and empowerment. 

  • Training in Brussels

Activity one on our project, Training for trainers, is set to be implemented in two modules, one of which takes place in Zagreb and the other in Brussels. It is meant to increase our trainers’ capacities and strengthen our cooperation.

In March, our two trainers from Zagreb travelled to Brussels for a two day education on digital course creation, organised by our partners, U Thrive Europe. The weather was nice, and the learning environment even nicer. Tatiana gave us a three day education in which she taught us a lot about the pedagogy itself and the ways to approach the teaching, as well as how to create an online course. It was both educational and informative. We also enjoyed some nice lunches and sightseeing in Brussels. 

 
  • Training in Zagreb

The training in Zagreb started on Monday, 25 April, on a bright and sunny day. The first to go was Andreana with her lecture on civic engagement. We focused on the importance of conveying the message about the necessity of civic engagement to the future participants on our project. 

Day two started with Tatiana’s lecture about debate as a means of persuasion. The subject was so interesting that we skipped lunch and had a mock debate in the afternoon.

On day three Aida gave us the first part of her lecture about emotional intelligence. We discovered certain stuff about ourselves that we didn’t know before, and learned a lot about how the human brain works. In the afternoon Tana, our guest on the day, did a few drama games and exercises with us, again opening our eyes to new ideas and methods of work for the project. 

On day four we continued our education in emotional intelligence with lots of discussion, and for the second part of the day immersed ourselves in drama and improvisational techniques. It was time for our partners to leave, although we had a feeling we could go on for another week.

A2. Interactive educational program for young people on inclusion, non-discrimination and democratic participation

Our project is dedicated to 15 young people living in Belgium, and aged 18-25 for a period of 10 months. It is an interactive educational programme on inclusion, non-discrimination and democratic participation for young people.

We currently join once a week for a session in person in Brussels and one session per month is online to bring together all participants in Belgium and Croatia. The project places the participants in an international context where they communicate with peers from various walks of life, who come from different countries and speak different languages.

They explore social injustice on a personal and societal level through debates, meetings with real-life personalities, self-analysis or field trips as a visit to the Council of the European Union or a debate session with the “ Brussels Toastmasters Club”.

A3. Short digital course on social inclusion and equity in democratic societies 

Our participants worked throughout the summer of 2023, after completing our Interactive Educational Programme on Inclusion and Democratic Participation.    One team was based in Belgium and one – in Croatia. They worked cross-borders and virtually. The course is now available online, for free. You can access it anytime you wish. No hidden costs!

Take the digital course for free 

A4. Multiplier events

Throughout the project, we hosted events to champion tolerance, inclusion, and democratic participation. Our goal was to spread the impact of the iACT project to as many young people, teachers, mentors, and community members as possible.

In October 2023, we organized a mini-conference in Brussels as part of the HOPE salon, focusing on solidarity and sustainability. We brought together non-profit reps and young leaders to discuss using iACT activities to boost confidence and skills in overcoming barriers.

Later that month, one of our iACTers organized a social inclusion workshop at Thomas More University, where he studies. The diverse student group explored using iACT techniques to bridge gaps between local and international students and to discuss migration and its impacts.

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We also got together with the Ukrainian Civil Society Hub for a workshop with  Ukrainians younger than 18. They got especially engaged in our “diversity wheel” activity and the discussion with the iACTers, the young adults who underwent our programme.

In April 2023, we visited the Ukrainian Voices Refugee Centre, conducting sessions with youth workers and young Ukrainians in Brussels. Many faced challenges like unemployment and interrupted education. iACT allowed them to connect with peers and learn about life in Belgium and the EU.

 

Throughout all our sessions, we shared information about our project and engaged attendees in practical games and exercises to address specific challenges.

Most importantly, they could meet the iACTers – the young people who participated in our programme and engage in a debate with them. They also learned the life stories of the iACTers and how the project helped them thrive.

A5. Transnational project team meetings

  •     Kick-off meeting

Meet the trainers on our new iACT project: Tatiana and Aida from Belgium and Romana, Tana and Andreana from Croatia. Our team had its first transnational meeting in Zagreb on 4th February, and with the sun shining, we found some time to visit the city centre. We worked hard on creating a training agenda for both our trainers and the young participants in our activities.

Our project focuses on establishing effective communication among diverse groups of people, on developing understanding and tolerance towards others, and on getting young people actively involved in democratic processes. The foundations of our democracies need to be stronger than ever, and we can all benefit from some solidarity and acceptance of diverse groups. Because, in the end, we are not that different from each other.

  • Interim meeting 1

The management teams of the two partner organizations met in Brussels in November 2022 for an interim management meeting. We discussed and evaluated our Activity 1 – Training for trainers and Activity 2 – Design of an interactive education programme. The trainings for trainers in the specific fields of expertise of each trainer have created the expected pool of expertise in soft skills needed under the project: debating skills, political/research skills, drama and emotional intelligence. We also reviewed the budgetary plan, and the implementation of Activity 3 – Short digital course on social inclusion and equity in democratic societies.

  • Interim meeting 2

The next interim meeting was held 6-7-8 April 2023, again in Brussels. We took the occasion to review the management and administration of the project. We discussed the planning of the upcoming activities of the interactive educational program for our participants, the plan and organisation of the digital course on social inclusion and equity, and the organization of multiplier events.

  •  Final meeting

The final management meeting took place in October 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. We reviewed in-depth the activities that we have conducted so far. We looked again at the tools that we have created: the curriculum for a 4-module programme for young people on inclusion, non-discrimination and democratic participation, a short digital course on soical inclusion and equity and a dedicated YouTube channel. We reviewed all our results and finished the planning of the multiplier events which we still had planned by the end of the project. Last but not least, we reviewed the project’s final budget and planed our final external reporting.

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Our team

Andreana Baeva Motušić

Andreana is a political economist and an educator active in the areas of education, digitalization and democratization. Born in Bulgaria, Andreana has studied, worked and lived in the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and Croatia, and enjoys establishing international teams and collaboration. She is passionate about regional development, the modernization of education, and building more prosperous and environmentally sustainable societies for future generations.

Tatiana Levceva

She is a former diplomat, with experience in European and classical diplomacy. Building a dialogue based on a good argument has been part of her daily professional life for 22 years. It continues to be so in her current occupation as a director of the U Thrive Europe non-profit, a trainer in the art of persuasion and a social mentor to Ukrainian migrants.

In her courses, she builds on the European traditions in rhetoric and logic, enriched by British and US debating methods. She has specialised in International Relations and European Economic & Public Affairs in three EU countries, as well as in strategic negotiations with Yale University.

Romana Petrusic

Romana Petrusic is an actor and director. In 2012 Romana founded the International Arts Centre (IAC) in her native Zagreb, Croatia, an NGO devoted to developing the creativity and imagination of people of all ages and walks of life. IAC also serves as an umbrella organization for international cooperation in the area of visual and performing arts.

Aida Pana

Trainer and accredited ICF Associate Certified Coach passionate about neuroscience, she specialised in supporting transformative processes that aim towards personal growth and societal change. She brings on board over 16 years of project management experience in education and international cooperation.

Disclaimer:  The iAct project is financed by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.