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Kęstutis Kurienius

Partners – The Duke of Edinburgh‘s International Award and Jaunimo asmeninio tobulėjimo centras
Duration – 2019–2021
Regions – Throughout Lithuania

To encourage cooperation among youth from diverse ethnic backgrounds, the British Council and partners organisedStrong in Diversity. This youth summer training project was developed and delivered with key governmental partners, including ministries and defence agencies, amongst others. 

Each year, 40 young people from different ethnic groups participated in training through which they developed teamwork, democratic decision-making, reflection and critical information assessment skills. The training particularly contributed to bringing the participants closer together and inspiring them to contribute towards the creation of a modern Lithuanian state.  

The project had an impact at several levels. First, the participants considerably increased their intercultural competences, stating that they had shifted their perception or become better acquainted with those from different ethnicities following the training. Second, the participation of the Lithuanian armed forces made a strong impression on the participants, with the close interactions with military officers changing the young participants’ perspectives on what it means to serve one’s country, how the Lithuanian Army is organised, and why it represents such a crucial pillar of the Lithuanian state. Third, the project helped to galvanise the youth’s interest and willingness to become active citizens and take an active role in their community through volunteering or other activities. 

Ultimately, the participants of the project felt inspired to continue their communication and collaboration after the youth summer training had drawn to a close. In 2020, several young people developed a unique board game that encourages connections between community members, fostering mutual trust and building close personal relationships. The board game gained such popularity among Vilnius schools that it was awarded funding from Vilnius City Municipality and other organisations to extend its presence in communities.