During the 2018 United Nations Trust-Building Forum, held from 6 to 8 May in Ljubljana, Slovenia, more than 120 participants representing a broad cross section of Kosovo society, including civil society, media, youth leaders and municipal leadership from both majority and non-majority communities, met to exchange perspectives on building trust for a more peaceful and inclusive society. Participants shared their experiences on how to resolve issues of common concern and their ideas for workable and practical solutions to issues affecting their lives. The experience of the Forum highlighted the value and need for similar exchanges that bring together diverse views in a solution-oriented manner.
Providing opportunities for increased solution-oriented journalism in Kosovo is an important means for advancing this aim as it focuses on rigorous coverage of responses and potential solutions to problems. It is not about just endorsing a specific solution, but rather about the reporting of potential strengths and responses to problems alongside the problems themselves – not only looking at what has happened but also at ways to improve the future.
One of the project objectives is to have strong engagement of youth as audience members and discussants in the panels. A key premise of the project is that the future cannot be shaped or discussed without active youth participation.
Town Hall discussions have been designed to address the following objectives:
- To amplify the voice, the people, men and women from a diverse cross-section of Kosovo society, and to provide an opportunity for their constructive engagement in shaping and influencing discussions and decisions of critical importance to their future;
- To bring nuance to the issues that directly impact the lives of people through in-depth discussions and dialogue;
- To stimulate dialogue and encourage members of different communities to challenge and overcome narratives and stereotypes and to build greater trust;
- To broaden and to bring greater transparency and inclusion to current political discussions so that the voice and views of all communities are reflected.
- To highlight existing solutions, areas of strength and lessons learned that can empower change-makers to contribute to the progress of the society towards reconciliation and lasting peace.
Output 1: Dialogue among communities across Kosovo is encouraged and facilitated through the organisation of the Town Hall debates:
Activity 1: Conduct research and mobilise resources
Activity 2: Conduct pre-production preparatory works for the Town Hall Debates
Activity 3: Informing the audience on the upcoming themes for Town Hall Debates
Activity 4: Production and Post-production of Vox Pops
Activity 5: Production of Town Hall Debates
Output 2: Dialogue among communities is promoted across Kosovo
Activity 1: Post-production and broadcasting
Activity 2: Promotion of the debates through social media channels
The target audience of these debates are the people of Kosovo, along with institutions and the international community who benefit from hearing the problems of various communities, and the solutions that they offer based on their own lived experiences.
The Town Hall debate series use a more advanced format compared to the aforementioned debates, bringing people from all communities with diverse demographics to participate more actively in a society-wide inclusive and informed dialogue about their future, and on various topics that directly affect their lives and Kosovo’s path towards reconciliation and sustainable peace.