Held on the third floor of Dom Omladine (House of Youth) on the 20th October, 2014 was the media conference for the launch of the website http://www.nasiljenemaopravdanja.org. As part of the project “Theatre against violence,” a press conference was held to offcially launch the website of the project while simultaneously assessing the gains made thus far. The main purpose of ‘Theatre against Violence’ is to reduce violence in Serbia with particular emphasis on regions that are multiethnic and culturally diverse. The program is organised by The Centre for the Development of Non-Formal Education (Centar za razvoj neformalnog obrazovanja), and also funded by the European Union and the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund).
Present at the Press Conference were Zijah Sokolovic, author and director of the theatrical presentation ‘Violence has no justification.’ Also present was one of the actors in the presentation Rifat Rifatovic in addition to a representative of the UNFPA.
The project has been lauded as one of the most succesful in Europe and the work of director Zijah Sokolovic has received wide recognition. In May 2012 Sokolovic was appointed UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for non-violence.
The project is presently active throughout five cities in Serbia: Sombor, Bor, Prokuple, Novi Pazar and Bujanovac. The project attempts to educate and inform citizens through theater about the different forms of violence – whether it be as personal as domestic violence or as general as conflict between ethnic groups. The text upon which the theatrical production is based was developed in collaboration with psychologists and contains over 100 examples of forms of violence.
The website itself contains not only information about the different projects being undertaken by the organizers but also personal stories by various individuals. It provides a platform for individuals to share their experiences with the goal of helping others.
Evidently thus far the project has benefited many. During the question and answer segment of the press conference, one woman spontaneously took the opportunity to share her own moving personal story. This highlighted even moreso how important such a project is in providing a platform for all who have experienced some form of violence, and to help them in dealing with such.
Mikhail E.D. Byng