International Seminar Madrid

The launch of the programme: from the preparatory meetings to the Madrid International Seminar By Sandra Lougui- Argentina


The International Seminar in Madrid, Spain – Climate, Countries, Themes, Interculturality

The first international seminar took place in Madrid, Spain, in February 2020. It was attended by young coordinators of Youth Act from America and Europe: Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Belgium, Mexico, United States, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
We met to report on the process carried out during the period from November to February, on the first steps within the local groups. The meeting was characterized by the intercultural exchange of young people sharing different experiences, ideas, processes and dreams. Each country presented the work done during the first semester and its local project in front of their counterparts young people of EDIW from the local groups in the respective realities the realities with which we chose to commit ourselves.
It was very enriching to share the seminar with young people with similar motivations and the same desire for transformation for a better world, distributed in locations around the world. We got to know, through the participants, communities far away from our country, with the current problems and the specific
urgencies of the population, and at the same time we listened to proposals for transformation with respect and great commitment.
We then began with theoretical and practical activities dealing with the preparation and elaboration of projects. The proposals were framed in workshops, where we interspersed moments of exposition and working groups formed by members from different countries and continents. Links were consolidated that favoured the construction of work teams with spaces of solidarity, companionship and collaboration. The training and workshop on audiovisual design as a communication tool was developed. We analyzed intentionality through images and audios.

We participated in round tables and case studies. Carla Micele, from the University of Lanús, together with Trinidad L. Vicente, from the University of Deusto (Faculty of Social and Human Sciences) and María Yarosh, from the University of Groningen (Tuning Academy), presented a case study.
The third part of the seminar dealt with the theme that would accompany us during the second semester: communication and information. In order to start a new working block, a round table was organized on thefollowing topic: Information and communication processes: the role of communication in citizen
participation. Four women who are dedicated to communication tools from different points of view took part in the round table.
Within the context of the second semester, on information and communication processes we visited the newspaper El País in Madrid. The tour of the newspaper was a very enriching experience where we were able to get to know the work environment and the people dedicated to communicating news to the whole world on a daily basis. The space, with the particularities of the profession, allowed us to get to know the
general panorama in the editorial office of a newspaper, with the influence and professionalism with which it is characterized.
This visit was a moment of reflection on the specific processes linked to the circulation of information and the ways of communicating.

Lessons learned. The meaning of the group

In terms of our shared experience, we value the opportunities for work and reflection provided with people from other cultures. The seminar gave rise to an exchange of different positions and knowledge that enriched the group work at the local level and personal training.
We lived days where multiculturalism nourished not only our knowledge, but also every encounter with each other. From the different spaces of participation with actors involved and activities involved and activities that were carried out, we encouraged a joint participation in the processes of citizen participation.
One of the fundamental aspects dealt with was democratic leadership, characterized by creating enthusiasm among the participants, prioritizing the active participation of the whole group, promoting dialogue among all the people and taking into account the different opinions.
All members of the group contributed to the decision-making process in an active and committed way, with the aim of increasing satisfaction with the work and favoring the development of new skills and projects where each participant felt part of and responsible for the process.

Equality and respect in the dialogue were two pillars within the participation processes, wherein every word put in common implied the same value, thus achieving a cooperative, oriented, responsible, sustained and committed work.
We consider these actions to be essential for the processes of citizen participation to be based on democratic values. We also concluded that it is important to identify leadership, which is very necessary for the organization.