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Mirror of history - International youth exhange (Chernivtsi, Ukraine)
Mirror of history
International youth exchange
Chernivtsi, Ukraine, 5-22 of August 2012

Chernivtsi (Ukrainian:×åðí³âö³́, Romanian: Cernăuți, Polish: Czerniowce, German and Yiddish: Czernowitz) is a regional center in Western Ukraine, close to the Carpathians. Along with Lviv, it is considered to be a cultural center of Western Ukraine. The city has a rich history, architecture and cultural background (in different periods it was part of the Turkish Empire, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, The Kingdom of Romania and The Soviet Union. The city is called “little Vienna” or  “European Alexandria” because of its rich cultural and historic background and very multi-national community. According to the population census in 2001, 65 different nationalities are living in the city, which has a total population of about 250 000 residents. One of the biggest ethnic groups is Jewish, and before the 2nd World War, the Jewish minority was playing an important part in the life of the city. One of the traces left by the Jewish community is a cemetery of the 19th and first half of the 20th century, which has many tomb stones made by famous artists. During the 2nd World War the Jewish population suffered terrible losses at the hands of the Nazis. Those who survived the war mostly emigrated. Other bigger nationalities are: Romanians, Poles, Russians and Ormanians. Romanian and Polish community the same as Ukrainian and Jewish are organized within National Houses and publish their own newspapers. This multinational history and culture is visible during two festivals, organized in the city: Folk Festival: “Bukovinian Meetings’ and International Poetry Festival “Meridian Czernowitz”.

The name of the city, as one of the versions says, comes from Chorne misto (black town), as people called a fortress built in that area around the 13th century, which was destroyed by nomadic tribes and rebuilt on the right bank of the Prut river. The first time the town is mentioned in written documents is October 8, 1408, in letters given to traders from Lviv. This date is now considered as the “birthday of the city”. In the second half of 19th century many buildings were built in the city, which made it famous: the University - former Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans and Unesco World Heritage Site, Philharmonics building, the Palace of Justice (now Regional administration), the Drama theater, city hall, Polish, Ukrainian, Jewish and Romanian National Houses and many others. Among the cultural and historic monuments of the city are two cemeteries, which are located close to each other: the old Christian and the Jewish cemeteries, which are both part of one history heritage site, since 2008 there are volunteer projects organized to clean Jewish cemetery from weedy vegetation, and preserve it in order to revive the memory of the Jewish history of the city and the contribution the Jewish community to its development.

The city, which used to have more book-stores than bakeries, and speaking 5 languages, has a lot of stories to share – of its buildings, streets, and people. Some stories are well known – former synagogue becoming cinema, Romanian city mayor Trayan Popovici rescuing 20 000 Jews from deportation, Jewish girl Miriam Taylor surviving ghetto in Chernivtsi, as well as stories of famous people from Chernivtsi – as Paul Celan, Rose Auslaender, Mihai Eminescu, Olga Kobylyanska and many others – who created what we know now as cultural mythos of Chernivtsi.

During the project, we plan to discover and study these stories, as well as many others, in order to show the special history of the city and its multi-culturalism in creative way.

The program of the youth exchange will include following activities:

- workshops and discussions in the group on memory and remembrance, history, multiculturalism
- meeting representatives of different ethnic minorities, learning about their history
- free time, excursions and study trips in Chernivtsi and around
- studying the city as example of multicultural society from different perspectives – culture, languages, history, interaction between minorities, special folklore, collective memory and its gaps
- collecting, discussind and adapting oral history materials, developing and preparing documentary theater performances
- developing and recording materials for studying local history and raising awareness by means of documentary theater and other creative methods
- documentary theater performance

Financial conditions
All costs concerning meals and accommodation, as well as the program and materials will be fully covered for the whole duration of the youth exchange. Travel costs will be reimbursed 70% with the following maximum:
Poland: 250 Euro
Germany: 350 Euro
Moldova: 80 Euro
Ukraine: 50 Euro
We encourage you to consider environmental impact of the trip, and use environmentally friendly transport means. The project is realized with support of Executive Agency of Youth in Action programme.
Participants profile:
-          Able to work in English, knowledge of Russian would be an asset
-          Interest and motivation to participate to the project and contribute to its program with ideas, information, proposals for discussions etc
-          Between 18 and 25 years old
-          Available to join for the whole duration of the project
-          Member of one of the 5 partner organizations involved in the project
Application procedure
•    Deadline for applications is July 15th, 2012
•    A completed application form with any other relevant information shall be sent to:
•    All candidates will be informed by email about the decision shortly after the deadline
Looking forward to welcome you in Chernivtsi!
Author: AVI Webmaster

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