July and August are going to be very hot in the Baltic Sea region. On July 1, 2014, the third year of the “Bridge It!” non-formal education Programme is starting directed at involvement of youth from the Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia in the development of the Baltic region, finding solutions for actual social problems and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries.

‘For the third year in a row, one of the “Bridge It!” introduction seminars will take place in Pelči (Latvia), says Laura LEIMANE, a Programme Co-Ordinator. ’This time we come back there with a highly actual topic for the region and a controversial question – “Migration: To Live or to Leave”. In the course of the event ending on July 8th, its participants will try to elaborate their own definition for migration as well as discuss, what kind of impact it had on each of them and the societies around them.’

After the evaluation seminar held last December in the border city of Pskov, the Programme extended its scope to wider regions of the Russian North-West. Now the participants represent not only St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region but also Republic of Karelia and the Arkhangelsk region. New is also the offer of the second seminar which will be carried out nearby the settlement of Ostrovtsy in the Pskov region on July 11-18, 2014.

 ‘The place called “Trideviatoe Tsarstvo” is situated between Pskov and Gdov, at the shore of the Peipus Lake, and the choice of the topic for the seminar was quite natural – “Ecology as a Lifestyle”.’ tells Elena RAZUMOVSKAYA, Project Co-Ordinator at German-Russian Exchange (St. Petersburg), one of the Programme’s organisers. ‘The topic is wide enough to lead interesting discussions on various aspects of ecology – be it related to city or house we live in, food we eat, clothes we wear, waste we separate, or creativity we apply. We are curious ourselves, which way the participants would like to go.

Another innovation of the third “Bridge It!” year is plenipotentiary participation of new partners in the Programme – ”Domus Dorpatensis” from Tartu (Estonia) and ”Lithuanian Children’s and Youth Centre” from Vilnius (Lithuania). Both organisations were active at the application stage already, and the Programme Co-Ordinators hope for a further fruitful co-operation with partners to the mutual benefit.

The hot summer of 2014 will be continued with two project meetings in August to be held in Riga and St. Petersburg followed by the implementation stage of social projects and initiatives and the evaluation seminar at the end of November in Tartu (Estonia).

For your information:
 Bridge it! is an empowerment programme for young people at the age between 18 and 28 years old coming from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia. It connects people and raises their interest in the Baltic region. The Programme is based on non-formal educational methods stimulating the participants to develop critical thinking, diversity awareness and giving them impulses for civic involvement and a space for trying out own initiatives.  The Programme has been implemented by organisations ”German-Russian Exchange” (Russia), ”Orbita” (Latvia), ”Domus Dorpatensis” (Estonia), ”Lithuanian Children’s and Youth Centre” (Lithuania) and supported by the Theodor Heuss College of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the MitOst Association (Germany).