Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo of the Office for Youth, Belgrade

The fact that the world can be changed only if it starts from within was a starting point for 15 participants who took part in a series of workshops on the theme 'I am changing', that took place from 3-13 September in the 'Info-room' of the Office for Youth, Belgrade. Looking within, revealing the values ​and beliefs that guide them, young people aged 18 to 30 years searched for the changes and means to make a difference in their own lives.

This article by Sonja Šulović appeared in the Serbian daily newspaper Blic on 13th September. It is translated by Olivera Ivanovich

'What is the most important thing for me in life' is the question for admission to the workshops. Based on the response I choose participants. It doesn't matter whether their educational background is from the natural or social sciences. I want them to discover the motives behind their own behaviour, and what their reasons are for making their choices. In life we ​​can not control everything, and to be able to make a change in the world, we must first look inside ourselves', said Olivera Ivanovic, master of pedagogy (educational sciences) and facilitator of the 'I am changing' workshops.

Only in extreme situations can we see what is most important to someone, Ivanovic said, adding that the choice made on the basis of moral values is always the more difficult road to go, especially if one doesn’t have a clear idea of the system of values behind it.

The facilitator of the workshop talked about the difficult path we are walking on today, which is best indicated by the fact that even if some are satisfied with some aspects of their lives, young people often feel that they have betrayed themselves because of neglecting that value that is most important to them. Then it does not matter what kind of work you do, or how much money you have.

When asked what would be the first thing in their lives to change, the response of most young people would be the way they live today and financial status. Only when one does not know what more can be done for self-realization and security, do young people reach to discover what dreams are hidden in their hearts and what kind of mark they want to leave in the world.

'I am having a change in my life right now. I thought, like many. that the change would be coming from outside, but in fact it was internal. I realised I should open myself up more, that when I succeed I am driven by desire to do something and that is giving me strength to help someone and make their day', says Borjana Vorkapić (age 23), who is studying a masters in public relations, as well as studying psychology.

Bachelor of Law Jovan Popovic (age 26), who is preparing for her bar exam, is searching for which area of work she should be involved in in the future. 'The workshop helped me to better understand, and to view from different angles and accept some everyday occurrences, such as conflicts. It prompted me to wonder how those everyday occurrences can find a balance, and to understand that it is not always our fault, that we cannot influence some situations that are happening'.

Through four pilot workshops participants were searching for answers to the questions:

  • what is change
  • why do we resist it
  • what are our values and beliefs
  • how much are they in conflict with other people's values
  • are there absolute moral standards.

In life we ​can not control everything, and to change the world, we must first look inside ourselves.

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