HERMES is a non-governmental organization that was founded by a couple of idealists with a background in formalized, competitive debate, youth work and social activism. The organization was founded with the desire to provide others with a chance to enhance their communication skills, with the goal of applying them to concrete life situations and challenges. To know how to communicate with the Other means understanding the Other – a deeper understanding among ourselves is a way of improving the world. HERMES is the (Croatian language) acronym for the Croatian Education and Development Network for the Evolution of Communication.
The mission of HERMES is education for democratic citizenship, through developing and applying innovative (non-formal) educational programs based on promoting non-violent communication methods such as structured and critical thinking, active listening and radical empathy as conflict resolution and prevention tools.
HERMES’s activities revolve around using applied debating skills for the purpose of fighting discrimination, contributing to active participatory citizenship, raising awareness about human rights and facilitating the building of an open and inclusive democratic society.
Open Communication is the largest debating network in Serbia centralized in Belgrade. It was founded in 1997 on the basis of enthusiasm of several professors and students of the University of Belgrade who were willing to improve the culture of dialogue and tolerance and provoke critical thinking in a conservative society like Serbian was then. Twenty years which followed brought a lot of challenges and obstacles, but the team continued to grow and advocate for the established values.
Until today, the Open Communication has gained numerous commendable achievements through different fields of activities.
The organization offers separated courses for beginners, young competitors and experts in debate, led by experienced trainers. The courses are being attended by more than 700 participants every year. In 2016 Open Communication has made a significant step towards the institutionalization of debate through a series of seminars intended for teachers and professors. These seminars, based on promotion of debate as a teaching method, have been accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.
Western Balkans Network
The Western Balkans Network (WEB) is a non-governmental organization, founded as result of the successful regional project Model International Criminal Court Western Balkans – MICC WeB. It brings together individuals, interest groups, professional associations and organizations that seek to nurture regional cooperation and reconciliation, by organizing joint workshops, meetings, roundtables, seminars and study trips.
Our vision is that of a peaceful region, in which recent history, nationalist conflicts, divisive rhetoric and extremist views are discussed through dialogue and debate, building long lasting bridges, friendships and networks in the process. Since the successor countries of former Yugoslavia share so many of the problems and challenges in the present, it is our vision that WEB’s activities will bring together disenfranchised interest groups (youth, women, educators, professional associations, labor unions, social justice activists and minority groups), providing an opportunity for exchange of experiences, and building their capacity for advocacy and problem solving in their communities.
The Kreisau Initiative eV was founded in 1989 – even before the fall of the Wall – as a citizens’ initiative by East and West Berliners to support the establishment and work of an international meeting place in Kreisau / Krzyżowa (Poland) in an ideal and material way.
The district of Kreisau, where the Kreisau resistance group met in 1942/43 to develop visions and concrete plans for a peaceful future for Europe, is a place that is particularly suitable for communication between Western and Eastern Europeans.
The Kreisau Initiative aims to initiate and support activities in and around Kreisau / Krzyżowa that aim at a peaceful and mutually respectful coexistence of social groups and individuals.
The Kreisau initiative organizes youth meetings, workshops, seminars and conferences for different target groups. Our projects are international and inclusive. The participants come from all over the world, belong to different generations and have different educational backgrounds. Our projects focus on three areas:
– Contemporary history and human rights
– Social-ecological transformation