Symbiosis-Council of Europe School of Political Studies in Greece, with the support of the UNHCR Office in Thessaloniki and the Municipality of Neapolis-Sykies, organised two capacity-building workshops for youth organisations on 22 and 23 May 2024, within the framework of the EU CERV project “Butterfly Effect.” The workshops aimed to equip participants with comprehensive knowledge and practical tools to effectively address and combat issues related to discrimination, hate speech, and racist violence. They sought to foster a deeper understanding of these critical issues among youth, promote human rights, and encourage a culture of inclusivity and respect within communities.

The training sessions revolved around critical themes, including the portrayal of stereotypes, stigma, invisibility, and representation of othering in the Greek media, while a workshop, integral to the training, aimed to explain how these representations can be decoded and countered. Furthermore, discussions extended and examined how fires and climate change have contributed to increasing xenophobia, demonstrating the interconnectedness of these issues and the need for holistic approach. The workshops underscored the vital importance of defending the defenders as well as the role of advocacy against racist crimes. Additionally, they delved into historical and institutional contexts, elucidating the roots of racist violence, and providing a framework for protecting and supporting victims.

The workshops for youth organisations provided a valuable platform for participants to delve into critical societal issues and engage in meaningful discussions aimed at fostering understanding and empathy among young leaders. Through a series of sessions and workshops led by experts in various fields, attendees gained insights into diverse perspectives and explored ways to address pressing concerns relevant to youth and their communities. The exchange of ideas and perspectives encouraged participants to reflect on their own biases, leading to increased awareness of the importance of promoting diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of society, particularly within youth organisations.