Written By Jack Moriarty and Emma Briars
After arriving at the airport in Prishtina, Kosovo, we boarded a bus with the Kosovo, Guyana & Georgetown Project Manager Fellows (PMF’s) and ventured into the mountains of Kosovo nearly three hours away from the capital, finally arriving late at night to the Magra Hotel in Rugova Valley! Despite the long and eventful day of flying we found a last burst of energy when we were greeted by the rest of the OWYP staff and the remaining PMF’s from Turkey and Pakistan. Before crashing for the night, we experienced the first of a trend of delicious cooking from the hotel chef who whipped up a late-night “snack” which actually meant gourmet pizza, pasta, French fries, and coffee for the tired yet excited souls that were the PMF’s!
So, why have a Summer Training Conference? Among the many workshops and introductions on the first day of programming, we explored the mission and vision of OWYP. This gave us meaningful context for the interactive activities that we would do later that day. While familiar with these concepts in theory, we are only beginning to understand and appreciate the impact and importance of the work and how it relates to our roles as PMF’s.
The most striking feature of the STC is the real-life, face-to-face dialogue and communication with students from other countries, cultures, and communities different from our own. Familiarity with these cultures on an academic or theoretical level is only half the battle of what’s required to foster mutual understanding. There is immense value to be here in-person with the other leaders from around the world, learning and sharing with them.
In a brand new environment with new people and new ideas to explore, we quickly dived into a positive, group-oriented working environment. We wasted no time discovering more about each other and our respective cultures. During breaks we explored the topics of music, television, movies, and hobbies that all gravitated toward mutual appreciations and interests in the same artists and/or entertainment. Finding similarities and common ground was a natural and enjoyable process, embodying the true sense of “one world youth.”
After a final goal-sharing activity and an animated game of charades, we’re now sitting here in a circle sharing different music (and even dances!) It’s incredible how much we’ve gotten to know each other and come together after a mere 24 hours – we can only imagine how much we will grow as a team by the end of our time here.
Stay-tuned for more updates to come from our 12 Project Manager Fellows from the U.S., Guyana, Turkey, Kosovo and Pakistan!