In the former Yugoslavia, 120 young people met for the annual Youth encounter in Split, Croatia this year for the first time, as the hotel in Basko Polje, which we used in previous years, was closed.
Split is generally considered a stronghold of Croatian nationalists. The World Cup and the behavior of fans of the Croatian national team intensified the nationalist sentiments. Some parents of youngsters from Serbia as well as older staff members who themselves have lived through the war were concerned about the safety of the participants, which somewhat overshadowed the encounter this year. Out of fear of nationalistic hostility and assaults, for the first time in ten years, there was no public performance, in which the young people normally take their message of peace to the streets with theater performances or dances. The press was also not informed of the Youth encounter. The youngsters themselves were not influenced by the nationalist mood or the fears of the adults -perhaps preci-sely because of the different environ-ment, the political workshops on the war were especially profound this year. As announced this spring, in the Israel-Palestine project part of Vacation From War, there were some changes this year. The deteriorating political situation on the ground and the hostility and threats it comes with for individuals and organizations that promote dialogue between people from Israel and Palestine make implementing dialogue seminars increasingly difficult. We were all the more amazed to en-counter numerous groups interested in cooperating with Vacation From War during our exploratory journey in spring. Working with new partners brought a lot of new things -along with familiar ones. Detailed reports would go far beyond the scope of this autumn bulletin, but we still want to share at least a few impressions. This year’s women* seminar took place under new coordination. The seminar offers a safe space for women* in which the respective experiences in the conflict and the occupation can be discussed openly and respectfully.