Between 19th and 21st March 2010, Luxembourg City hosted the event "Meeting the Network Overture". During the meeting, which gathered 50 participants from 15 different European countries, were discussed initiated projects or projects already in progress on the diversity topic. Diversity is the main idea of meeting and to be more exact - what can do local scout organizations in order to efficiently integrate two broad categories of children and youth: coming from immigrant families and children with disabilities. So, resuming, for three days, scout organizations had represented their ideas and projects which are targeting two population groups: ethnic or social minorities and persons with disabilities.
Along with Republic of Moldova, other countries as Romania, Armenia, Georgia participated for the first time at the event. During one of the workshops, I had the opportunity to present the project initiated and developed by myself together with Sergiu Chirica- including children from migrant families through scout method and scout activities. Overture Network Meeting is not a conference, forum or other formal event, but rather an informal meeting aimed to gather twice a year the representatives from different European scout organizations and Eurasia region to discuss ideas or projects already in progress on a narrow topic - DIVERSITY. The organizers of the event this time were - Letzebuerger Scouten Guiden of Luxembourg - which have made the effort for the meeting to take place at a high level. Since up to welcoming the participants till conducting the workshops, organizational team have prepared everything up to the last detail. All the activities were exciting, we, participants have been actively involved meanwhile taking up from the experience of our colleagues to farther spread it at a local level.
Getting in the city Thursday night, 18 March, together with all the participants on the 19th we had been taken on a field trip in the old part of the Luxemburg city, during which along with getting to know each others, we had the possibility to find out many interesting things about the old capital. Lately, there have been organized games, so we would had the opportunity to know each other, and so there would be created a pleasant atmosphere for efficient communication and collaboration.
There have been created 2 big working groups: the first one put in the discussion the problem of integration of kids and youth with disabilities through the scout activities, and the second group put in discussion the problem of integrating the children of immigrants, or of children coming from socio-economical vulnerable families. Personally, I was part of the 2nd group. So, the themes and the issues, as well as the activities were different for the 2 working groups. While talking about the initiated projects, we had the opportunity to find out information about the history of development of scouting in different countries and different strategies used by scouts to promote the scout method at a local level. Another interesting activity spent outside the scout centre was the so-named- Market of migrants- in which we had the occasion to be part of a great celebration of traditions practiced by the ethnic minorities present in Luxemburg: Portuguese, Brazilian, German, French etc It was a beautiful experience, because the multicultural cocktail offered good opportunities of communication and intercultural exchange. Otherwise said, diversity- the main theme of the meeting was intensely discussed and under different forms.
Another seminar, at which I participated, has been realized by the representative of the scout organization from Germany. The seminar had as a main theme the discussion of poverty in Europe- of those factors that are conditioning it and how exactly can we contribute to stop this global problem, by acting locally. The Israel representative shared with us the rich experience initiated and sustained by the scout movement: with the help of volunteers, there are being integrated minors with criminal predispositions. And there has been presented some data in regard with the history of scouting in Israel starting with 1906.
The top moment of the meeting has been the visit to the so-called “Native village”, location where scouts from Luxemburg in partnership with the Ministry of Youth, organize educational and ecological programs for pupils from schools. These programs offer the possibility to children and youth, which have different social and ethnical backgrounds to experience Scouting, meanwhile this being a great possibility for the scout organization to contact with its potential members. “Native village” supposes a modern centre and a house made in an old Celtic style, where we had a delicious dinner, part of it being prepared by the organizers, and part of it, by us, the participants. For 2 hours we felt like true Celts, preparing the meat at fire.
Overture Network Meeting is not an official conference or seminar, but a perfect practice to share experiences realized by scouts on local level in different countries in order to integrate ethnical and social minorities and children with disabilities, with the help of the scout activities.
Certainly, this was a great opportunity for the National Scout Association of Moldova, in this particular case through my participation at this event, by creating opportunities to create new links and to inspire each other with ideas and new plans for the future activity. I would like to thank the ANSM Council, especially the International Commissioner, Doina Postica, for the offered opportunity to represent the association to this activity and no less important I thank Claude Frantzen and the organizing team for such a interesting, productive and high-level event.