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31 March - 2 April 2017, Malisheva

Connecting with and learning about the world: The PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase in Kosovo 

When I attended PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL in 2014 for the first time I was thrilled by seeing so many people from different countries watching wonderful programs and connecting with each other for future cooperation. This was when I started thinking of organizing something similar for my students. Fortunately, we had the chance to be part of the PJ International Youth Jury in 2016 and this was when I realized the interest of the students to learn about media, even after school. In the beginning of 2017 I talked to Kirsten Schneid, PRIX JEUNESSE's festival and project coordinator, about the possibility to organize a PJ Suitcase workshop in Malisheva. The aim was to involve a larger number of students, teachers and even our National TV. For me this was a great challenge, having to organize a cultural event without any financial support from our local government. But with joint forces we managed - thanks to my school director, friends and my students.

From 31 March to April 2, 30 students attended the PJ Suitcase screening in Malisheva, Kosovo. We organized separate screenings for the age groups 11 - 13 and 13 - 15, to allow a more age-specific discussion on the programmes. Kirsten Schneid had curated the screening and moderated the discussions. All students were excited and eager to talk about the content of the films, the various topics they tackled, often commenting on the cultural differences they could depict in the shows presented. Moreover, the National TV was present and reported on the event, interviewing the kids to hear their opinions about this international event.

For me and my students this PRIX JEUNESSE Suitcase event was one of the greatest experiences. In our city only very few events take place. Usually media and NGOs have a focus on bigger cities. For the students it was very refreshing and challenging to watch different TV programmes from countries from all over the world addressing different issues. This makes all of us realize how big and at the same time small the world is when it comes to working, cooperating and creating.

Looking back, when I first heard about the PJ workshops taking place all over the world I never thought that it would be possible for me to organize a PJ Suitcase in my city. But having the Suitcase taken place at Malisheva makes me understand that there is always the right place and the right time to start creating. So we are ready and full of motivation to continue working and involving more young people in the process of learning and understanding media literacy. Our goal in the future is to create a team and to start working on short documentaries, films and a YouTube-channel in order to get the youth involved and give them a space in a society where media mainly consists of news and entertainment shows.

Welcoming speech from student Lorena Mazreku, class VIII, School “Ibrahim Mazreku”, Malisheva: “We, the pupils of the elementary school and the children from the little town Malisheva are more than happy to welcome you here today. We are delighted to see programmes from all over the world and to get to know the different way of lives and habits of children in other countries. As far as I know the theme of last year’s PJ festival was “identity”, addressing topics like society and immigration. This really concerns and touches all of us, especially because me and some of my friends were lucky to immigrate to Germany, now living again in Malisheva, which means living in two societies at the same time. This is why I cordially would like to thank you, also in the name of my friends and the teachers and of course in the name of the principal. We really appreciate your visit, your work and your dedication to our little town. With lots of respect, Lorena.“

Veton Kastrati, Kosovo