Multilateral meeting about Peace in Scy-Chazelles, FR
From the 27th February to the 1st of March 2017, the Centre européen Robert Schuman (CERS) hosted the 4th meeting of the project CitiPart – dedicated to ‘peace’. Around 30 participants from Germany, Austria, Poland, Croatia and France met in Scy-Chazelles and Metz (Lorraine – France) to discuss the topic of peace through various interactive activities.
On February 27th, after the arrival and welcoming of the participants, they were invited to take part to some ice-breakers activities and cooperation games. The main goal was to make them understand the importance of interacting together and cooperating with each other in order to find solutions and achieve goals more easily as a team.
Moreover, participants took part to a ‘Peace Bingo’ (see page 8) in order to extend their knowledge about peace in various fields (culture, history, politics etc.…), sharing their knowledge through different questions (“Name a book related to peace” – “Name Peace Nobel Prize Winners”…). They got the possibility to learn new facts about peace through the common debriefing.
At the end of this first day, the participants attended a lecture by Richard Stock, Director of the Centre européen Robert Schuman dealing with “Europe: from the continent of war to the continent of peace” and could debate about topical issues.
Through this conference, Richard Stock presented the authentic message of Fiquelmont to the participants: in 1916, six German soldiers stationed in a farm of Fiquelmont in Lorraine (France) wrote a message addressed to future generations to denounce war and to call for peace. The soldiers signed the letter and hid it in a small bottle of schnapps. They left it in the attic of the farmhouse just before leaving the village of Fiquelmont. 65 years later, in 1981, Fernand Boulanger, the owner of the farm, rebuilding the roof, discovered the message by chance. In March 2009, M. Boulanger officially offered the message of peace to the Centre européen Robert Schuman during an emotional ceremony in front of young German and French people. Since then, CERS uses the message within the framework of an animation entitled “We are brothers” and during projects and meetings – like CitiPart.
On the second day (28/02/17), the project partners met in Scy-Chazelles, the village of the fateher of Europe, where he lived between 1926 until his death in 1963.
The day started with each group presenting its peace newspaper and the local activities about peace they made in their respective cities.
Afterward, some of the partners worked in small groups on the letter of Fiquelmont. Their task was to reply to the six German soldiers in a letter in which they explained that the European unity has been built step by step and that peace is now reigning over Europe. Simultaneously, representatives of each country gathered to prepare the evaluation meeting of the project in Villach (Austria).
In the afternoon, pupils from the Secundary School Saint-Pierre Chanel in Thionville (Lorraine – France) and from the Secundary School Sainte-Marie in Chartres (Centre-Val de Loire – France) came in Scy-Chazelles to meet the European project partners. Each class presented in French, English and German the answer to the soldiers of Fiquelmont they had prepared in class with their teachers as part of the pedagogical workshop “We are brothers” (See pages 9 and 10). Then, the CitiPart participants were addressing to the present ‘future generations’ their peace messages. The readout of the different messages was followed by a discussion between the pupils and the CitiPart partners.
As the event took place in Scy-Chazelles, the CitiPart participants and pupils got the opportunity to visit the House of Robert Schuman and the chapel where he was burried through guided tours. The participants also visited the museum about Schuman and Europe, watched a film about the life of the Father of Europe and finally toured a temporary exhibition about Bertha von Suttner, the first female Nobel Peace Prize.
On the last day of the meeting (March 1st), epitomy of this multilateral meeting, the European project partners took part to a ‘Human Library’ in the City Hall of Metz. The Human Library is an innovative concept from Denmark: just like in a real library, a visitor to the Human Library can choose a Book from a range of titles. The difference is that Books are people, and reading is a conversation. The Human Library provides a safe environment for people to engage in a 20-minute conversation within a framework of respect and to share experiences. Books here are ‘ordinary’ people, with extraordinary stories to share about peace.
7 different books were available to discuss with :
- An actor, who’s a former migrant from Congo
- A retiree volunteering in an association dealing with eduction without borders
- A track and field coach
- The creator and director of an association dealing with peace-building
- The President of the UNESCO club in Metz
- 2 Professors : one specialized in the Bible, the other in the Muslim-Christian dialogue
Before the beginning of the library, the group was welcomed by Nathalie De Oliveira, a representative of the town of Metz: she presented the different peace projects in which the city is involved.
At the end of this special event, books and participants evaluated the Human library. The CitiPart partners also evaluated the whole meeting with help of targets and written questionnaires.
The peace message from the Secundary School Sainte-Marie, Chartres
Brave soldiers, rejoice !
Your hope wasn’t vain !
A century after you wrote your message, it was discouvered and is now known all over Europe. It became a symbol of hope of lasting peace, even if one World War was not enough to maintain this peace. France and Germany, once worst ennemies, are now the main keepers of peace in Europe.
Our countries have suffered great losses and injuries. And yet, as in your dreams, a new union was born in Europe which makes life better for the Europeans by solidartity and friendship between our nations. We are all untited against all sorts of attacks which could harm our citizens.
Now, it is up to us, young Europeans, to pass on your peace message to keep Europe united. Today, it is a new world and we hope the new world will be even better.
The peace message from the Secundary School Saint Pierre Chanel, Thionville
Dear soldiers, dear friends,
Your letter is a real life lesson and it really touched us. We are young kids from the North East border of France, and we have decided to answer you one hundred years after your letter.
Whereas at your time France and Germany were two enemies’ countries until the end of the Second World War, nowadays they are perceived by the whole world as good friends and the motor of Europe. This peaceful Europe that you’ve been dreaming of has become true. For us, it’s a symbol of liberty and unity. Indeed, we can travel freely from one country to another, have friends in all Europe and have exchange students who we can share our cultures with. A war as the one you have known seems unbelievable for us.
Unfortunately, this Europe stays weak in front of many threats like: religious and political extremism, terrorism, environmental damages, economic competition and the population’s doubts about the concrete utility of Europe. The Brexit makes this weakness more present, puts Europe under pressure….
Thanks to testimonies like yours we become aware how lucky we are but also how responsible we are concerning this precious but vulnerable peace. You fought for peace, it’s our turn to preserve it and to pass it to next generations.