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"Tech2Peace - Youth empowerment through technology and dialogue"

January 2023

Guggisberg BE / Switzerland

A project of the Urgestein Foundation in cooperation with the partner organisations Tech2Peace (T2P) and Yad B'Yad (YBY)

 

The Urgestein Foundation and the Israeli-Palestinian NGO Tech2Peace (T2P) are organising a 10-day youth exchange in Guggisberg from 09 - 19 January 2023. The purpose of this youth exchange is to introduce young adults from different cultures to new media in relation to the ever-growing digitalisation through non-formal methods. In self-determined workshops on the topics of videography or web design, the participants' digital skills are strengthened in order to improve their profile for the future job market.  In addition, the young adults strengthen their intercultural skills as well as their ability to deal with constellations of different backgrounds, perspectives and work situations.

 

The daily routine in the foundation's own Weitblick House was as follows: In the morning, the participants learned skills in video editing and app development, which they then immediately applied in their own projects; the afternoons were devoted to workshops on intercultural dialogue and non-violent communication; in the evening, social and (inter)cultural activities took place in Guggisberg and the Bern region.  

 

Imparting technical knowledge

Under the guidance of the experienced workshop leaders, participants gained a deep insight into all aspects of web design and video editing and honed their skills to gradually work independently on their projects. Some participants were so enthusiastic that they developed apps with the aim of bringing them to market. 

 

Intercultural exchange

In addition to the technological workshops, the focus was on the mutual exploration of different cultures, communities and identities. Especially because of the tense political situation in Israel/Palestine, the group eagerly awaited the cultural country evenings. With the help of the country leaders, both the Palestinian and Israeli groups were able to sensitively present their perspectives around the conflict and daily life alongside it. In addition, the participants from the Middle East were surprised to learn that Switzerland has four different language and cultural regions when they were presented.

 

"The chance to feel and interact with other cultures was eye opening. It's something you have to do at least once in your life, because that's how you get the opportunity to learn about other cultures and tell others about yours." - Iftah Ivry

 

Swiss mountain village experience

The village of Guggisberg and the "Weitblick-Haus", which is located in the Gantrisch Nature Park, was the perfect venue for the high-tech youth exchange. The participants were not only surprised by the icy cold, snowy winter weather, but were also able to get to know and enjoy the surroundings, the deep snow and the viewpoints in the nature park during their free time.

Startup pitches with representatives from Google Switzerland and Israel

The highlight of the youth exchange was a 24-hour "hackathon" in which the participants developed their own business ideas on the topics of sustainability and peacebuilding in groups of three or four. They were supported by three experienced mentors from "Google for Startups" in Zurich and a Google expert from London, who visited Guggisberg for two days.

 

The project is supported and promoted by:

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