Youth for Peace and Democracy

The key aim of city partnerships is their contribution to international understanding and peace among nations. Where friendships grow between people of different countries there is no room for hatred, intolerance and warfare. This vision of peaceful co-existence has sparked many city twinnings after World War II – like the partnership between Leeds and the German city of Dortmund.

In 2018, 100 years after the end of World War I, Dortmund has invited youth groups from all its partner cities to participate in an International Youth Summit and join the city festival DortBUNT, a colourful celebration of tolerance and diversity. For seven days young people from Dortmund, Leeds, Amiens (France), Netanya (Israel), Novi Sad (Serbia), Rostov-on-Don (Russia) and Zwickau (Germany) have experienced Dortmund’s diversity first-hand, learned about different cultures and made friends with each other.

On 1st May, the visit started with the May Day events organised by the Federation of German Trade Unions where the young people could learn about the labour movement and the workers’ struggle for a solidary society that values their rights. During the following days, the young people explored Dortmund, learned more about the different partnerships with Dortmund’s twin cities, got to see a German high school from the inside and participated in the DortBUNT festival [bunt meaning colourful]. Sports also featured strongly in the programme Dortmund had pulled together for the young people and so international understanding grew in a match of volleyball and a visit to the Signal Iduna Park stadium, home of the football team BV Borussia Dortmund 09, which mentors children and young people to create a tolerant community free from racism and xenophobia – an idea inspired by the Leeds United Learning Centre.

Read more about the visit here [German].

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