Inter Alia: Enhancing Civic Action and Creating Opportunities

In Greece, Inter Alia is working to create opportunities for young people to make waves across the country. We explored their story.

Balancing the grim situation caused because of the financial and social crisis in Greece back in 2013, a hope was born.

This hope was Inter Alia, a non-profit organisation which started on a small core of three people, but slowly began targeting engagement with youth and other people wanting to be active.

Today, Inter Alia is active in the fields of education, youth work and culture. It promotes and enhances civic action, empowers youth and increases employment opportunities through training, skills development, and civic and social participation.

Besides, Inter Alia confronts interpersonal and intergroup stereotypes and enhances intercultural understanding inside and outside the perceived limits of Europe to peace and well-being.

Youth Time spoke to two Inter Alia founding members: Nikos Pasamitros, PhD, and Boyka Boneva.

 

Urge People to Act

In the beginning of our conversation, Pasamitros highlights that the inspiration was to urge people to act instead of letting them be trapped in the ‘cage’ of sterile disapproval and complaints.

“What we always want to achieve is to keep people constantly aware of the different levels (local, European, global) of action and dialogue.”

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Founding Member: Nikos Pasamitros

“During the years, the Inter Alia team expanded in a circle that includes permanent employees, standard and occasional collaborators, friends, supporters and followers.”

This means multiple actions, programmes, and projects that offer the opportunity to participants to have their voice heard, take initiatives and use their creative powers.

“In youth, we run actions on building new skills and competences, map and record best practices, and promote causes that preoccupy young people. 

“In education, we are dedicated to using non-formal and experiential-learning methods and we often frame them with quality formal tools to rejuvenate educational processes in all contexts.”

Whereas, in the domain of culture, either they employ creative, artistic and cultural means to approach burning issues, or they promote arts and cultural heritage serving the principles of inclusiveness, open-access, and co-creation.

He adds that all these activities are always based on the values of openness, inclusiveness, respect, tolerance, equality, extroversion, diversity and interconnectedness.

 

We Can All Blossom 

Inter Alia also aims to increase employment opportunities through training, skills development, and civic and social participation.  

When asked about this work and how they build co-operation, Pasamitros says that the keywords here are lifelong education, applicable skills and transferable competences.

“Reality shows that some people build their tangible skills and find employment, while others build their self-confidence through life-changing experiences.”

“But, the common benefit of all is that they see that there can be a place for all people to blossom no matter how different we are in the way we see and understand the world.”

Inter Alia offers the common ground and is always there for these young people, and not only, to express their creative energy and ideas.

“This openness creates a long-term relation of mutual respect and cooperation. In simple words, if you have taken part, even just once, in some Inter Alia activity, the doors are always open for you to propose your ideas, get involved again, act or simply brainstorm and express yourself.”

 

Young People Supporting Inter Alia

In this part of our interview, Pasamitros elaborates on how youth can support their cause.

In Inter Alia we are proud of our prompt way of answering requests and keeping communication channels open. 

“There is also a rich variety of educational and artistic publications, merchandise and memorabilia that we offer to people as a kind of compensation for those that support and donate.”

In the upcoming months, Inter Alia will also launch their membership programme in order to “institutionalise” their connectedness and cooperation with active people.

“There will be a variety of creative skill-building, participation and other opportunities in order to boost our action to the next level. 

“We have already surveyed people on what their needs are in order to complete our membership working strategy and I encourage all those interested to follow our online activity and stay tuned for the following steps.”

 

Communicating Concerns

Speaking about the biggest challenges and shortcomings faced by youth today, Pasamitros draws our attention toward the fact that the current pandemic is the cherry on the cake in the negative sense.

“Claiming change in a rigid environment of disparity was already a hard task, let alone in conditions of restrictions in socialisation and mobility. 

“The people that are currently considered as youth are deeply politicised, knowledgeable and flexible. They ask for meaningful social and political engagement, balanced living and open public space.”

According to him, the biggest challenge is to find the ‘open ears’ in order to communicate young people’s concerns and aspirations for the present and the future.

“There is a communication gap between the decision-makers on all levels and the young people. 

“On the one hand, decision-makers are wrong, thinking that they can “protect” conditions and values of normality. 

“On the other, youth have already comprehended that past normality is no longer functional and there is a need for change.”

For example, he goes on, youth that admittedly face difficulties in terms of employment and income are open in accepting and coexisting with migrants and refugees or in sacrificing gained amenities in order to protect the environment.

“They do not need to be tagged as anti-European when they criticise the European Union (EU). This is where Inter Alia agrees 100% with them. We criticise the EU just because we want to make it even better.”

 

Learning from Each Other 

Conclusively, Boneva introduces our readers to their key achievements of two programs: Youth Pool and Youth Going Live.

As noted above, Boneva reminds us that their aim is always the same: to offer skills that will lead to empowerment, to active participation, to civic engagement.

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Making Change: Boyka Boneva

“The list is long, but the fundamental idea remains the same: (young) people to get involved and take action.”

Even though the two above mentioned projects have just been launched, she chooses a crucial detail to emphasise.

“Project reports look at results only in the short run, right after the activity, or at most right after the project. 

“What we try to build, also through the projects that we implement, is a long-term relationship of mutual trust, with our beneficiaries, and with the different target groups that get acquainted with our activities.”

In this process, Inter Alia team learns from each other, and as a result, their services are constantly improving.

Those that want to engage in Inter Alia actions all they have to do is follow the opportunities they offer at their Training calendar on www.interaliaproject.com.

You can support and donate by contacting them through social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.


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