Learning about minorities in Trieste

Written by: Jesse David Marinus

Have you ever been to Trieste? In February of this year, I visited this lovely Italian city together with the Frisian young people’s association Frysk Ynternasjonaal Kontakt (FYK). FYK invited me to come with them to a so-called ‘training’. The goal of this exciting training was to improve our leadership skills and to learn us to hold workshops. The training was organised by the European organization Youth of Europe Nationalities (YEN). Together with three very motivated Frisians, Ydwine, Nina and Daniël, I travelled to the city Trieste, home of the Slovenian minority in Italy.

Minority Messenger and Training Architects

The programme was made up of two training sessions: ‘Minority Messenger’ and ‘Training Architects’, and everyone who attended had to choose between one or the other. Daniël and I participated in the ‘Training Architects’-programme, which revolved around non-formal education and its use in workshops and trainings. This programme was both applicable to minority or non-minority settings. The ‘Minority Messenger’-training, done by Nina and Ydwine, concentrated on connecting minorities, strengthening existing connections and improving multilingual education. This training really taught us to promote intercultural dialogue and to bring positive changes to your communities by practicing presentation methods, teambuilding and communication!

Discovering Trieste

Next to the daily training sessions, a lot of fun activities were offered that taught us about the Slovenian minority culture, history and the current situation in Italy. A city tour in Trieste and a dinner at a typical Slovenian restaurant gave us a great impression of this lovely city. Furthermore, we participated in a tour of the Slovenian newspaper facility, which gave us an impression of how a regional paper can fully be published in a minority language. Furthermore, this trip gave us a great opportunity to meet all the other representatives of European minorities. We not only met them during our training session, but also in our free afternoon and during the food exchange market. As representatives of Friesland, we could not come empty handed, so we brought several Frisian foods and drinks with us. We are quite sure that Trieste will remember us!

Luckily, Ydwine (second year of M&M), Daniël (Master Multilingualism) and me also got the opportunity to tell everyone about the top-rated bachelor’s programme ‘Minorities and Multilingualism’ and the master’s programme ‘Multilingualism’ taught at the University of Groningen. Hopefully, this will lead to more awareness of the available studies on minorities at the University of Groningen. This trip was a great experience and I’m really looking forward to the next event in April, hosted in Albania by the member association of the Vlach minority!

About FYK and YEN

FYK (Frysk Ynternasjonaal Kontakt) is an organisation for enthusiastic young Europeans who are curious about other cultures and travelling. Enthusiastic young adults from all over Europe are brought together by FYK in order to exchange experiences and hold congresses. For more information check http://www.fyk.nl/

YEN (Youth of Europe Nationalities) is a network of youth organizations in a multicultural and multilingual Europe. The main goal is to work for the preservation and development of the rights of the minorities and ethnic groups. YEN is a competent partner for all questions concerning youth minorities and creates awareness within the majority population for issues concerning minorities and ethnic groups. For more information checkhttp://www.yeni.org/