Sunday, June 28, 2015

Continuing the engagement

(By Olafs Arnicāns)

We had our final two classes last Thursday and Friday. Apart from the emotional discussions of what actually happened in our 10 day trip as already noted by Joon in the previous post, we also devoted much of our time sharing the projects that each of us (as individuals or groups) were and still are working on. In total 12 different projects: some are in progress, others have been already launched. I’m sure several upcoming posts in this blog will have a more in-depth focus on some particular projects, so I will try not to speak on their behalf. Instead, what I do wish to tell is how amazed and excited I am about the engagement and ambition of my fellow peers.

Let me tell you why: throughout AUC each of us has been involved in numerous projects and written way too many papers and after the submission date that’s where the engagement stops. The work is handed over the professor and perhaps sometimes presented in a small classroom and later on it’s on to the next one. Too often it might feel that a paper is written just to get a grade or improve our research skills. And suppose it’s fine and usual: you don’t think about it, you just do it.

Now, with the projects that we are working on now after the trip it is a completely different ball-game. Each of the 12 projects, some smaller in scale others more grand, are all focused not just on handing it over to the teacher, getting the grade and then good riddance, but towards engagement, actual care and desire to contribute to others in a scale not many anticipated at the beginning of the course. Let me share a quick example, last Wednesday Carolin, Chiara, Sophia, Roxy, Zoe and me launched a project on Facebook called MeetKosovo. We share personal stories (shorter or longer, simple or complex) of Kosovo as told by the local people there. We want these stories to tell you and everyone else what Kosovo is like. In about 5 days more than 300 hundred people have engaged in reading these stories and our project is far from over.

In the upcoming week or so more projects will come to life. There’s going to be a short documentary, journal/magazine articles, research articles, presentations, a petition and more. All with an aim to one way or another reach as many people as possible and raise awareness, engage and teach more about Kosovo not only to foreigners but also the local population.

Already I have heard from some friends the ‘complaints’ about how MeetKosovo is spamming their Facebook News Feed or the Announcement section. Understandably, it can become tiring for some, but the thing is, through these projects that we are working on Kosovo is constantly in our minds as well as in our hearts and we like to share that with people around us. It’s not Candy Crush invites we’re sharing, it’s what we care about and want you to care about just as much. As the new creative projects will appear, I hope our engagement will get you engaged as well. So keep a close eye on this blog and Facebook, it’s going to be exciting!

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