Northern Ireland news

Young people from Northern Ireland and Germany come together to explore shared history of growing up in cities divided by walls

Ten young people from Berlin were welcomed by 10 young people from Belfast as part of a ground-breaking international youth exchange programme which will explore their shared history of cities divided by walls. The programme, which is delivered by Hostelling International Northern Ireland and the German Youth Hostel Association, began at the North Coast at the weekend
Marie Louise McConville

A new youth exchange programme has brought young people from Northern Ireland and Germany together to explore their shared history of growing up in cities divided by walls.

The programme, which is being delivered by Hostelling International Northern Ireland (HINI) and the German Youth Hostel Association, DJH, began in White Park Bay on the north coast this week, where 10 young people from Germany joined 10 young people from Northern Ireland who have both grown up in cities with a legacy of conflict and division.

The project, which is funded by the EU, will explore how the young people make sense of the division they encounter.

Through the programme, the young people will get to travel to each other's countries and enhance their inter-cultural awareness through direct life experiences, exploring topics including culture, identity, stereotypes, conflict, history, freedom, diversity and tolerance.

Julian Schmitz, CEO of DJH, said; “We are proud of the implementation of this new youth exchange with our partner HINI".

"Crossing Borders' is an important programme for our association to show the importance of peace to young Germans and that it is so important to overcome borders: on the personal level as well as politically.

"Secondly, the exchange is meaningful due to the German venue of the programme, Berlin. The Northern Irish participants will experience a former divided city, which took the chance of the German reunification for a peaceful, vital and diverse life together. These intercultural exchanges for young people are very significant, especially nowadays, to build and preserve a strong and united Europe".

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