The achievements of SUSOMAD (Stand Up Speak Out Make A Difference) Ambassadors were celebrated at an awards dinner and civic reception earlier this month. The awards were an opportunity to recognize the contribution of over 100 young Srebrenica ambassadors who have been created to educate others about Srebrenica. Awards were given for young people who had not only learnt about Srebrenica, but had achieved life skills such as:
- Overcoming nervousness
- Explaining complex ideas to young audiences
- Showing a passion for the subject and debating controversial issues
- Being committed to talking about the ideas of identity and prejudice
Amy Drake, Director of Remembering Srebrenica, gave the keynote address where she praised the programme for allowing young people to address the issues that are most important to them, such as human rights, prejudice, discrimination, extremism, hate crime and challenging intolerance, saying:
“The SUSOMAD project provides a fantastic example of the impact that can be made by individuals attending a ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ delegation. The project came about due to the drive and passion of two committed delegates, whose idea was then sustained by a supportive local group, Cohesion Bradford. SUSOMAD perfectly illustrates the great things that can happen when we unite as one to create stronger, more peaceful communities and truly learn from what happened in Srebrenica. These awards celebrate young people working at the heart of their communities”.
Alina Khan and Geraldine Cooper, who run the project, went on Remembering Srebrenica’s flagship ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ programme in 2015. This inspired them to integrate Srebrenica into the already successful “Stand Up, Speak Out, Make A Difference” programme. Through this they trained over 100 young people on the lessons from Srebrenica, in order to become ‘Srebrenica Young Ambassadors’.
The programme not only gives young people an in-depth knowledge about the genocide through being trained as exhibition guides, but also equips them with skills and confidence to discuss its relevance to society in the UK today with people in their community. Earlier in the year, Bradford City Council passed a motion that commits the city to commemorate Srebrenica every year and encourages schools in the city to educate about Srebrenica, so there is also a focus on helping teachers and staff to handle controversial issues effectively and sensitively.
The pupils taking part are enthusiastic about the project: “For me, being an ambassador has been a unique and special experience.” Said one student ambassador, “It has really improved my confidence and I have met some very interesting people along the way. The exhibitions definitely opened my eyes to a darker world.”
Remembering Srebrenica urges more local authorities to pass a motion on Srebrenica (an example of which you can find here) and to develop their own SUSOMAD programme. Please contact Education Manager Rebecca Heron if you would like to find out more about the support we can offer in doing this or to find out more about our work in schools.
You can read a full case study on the SUSOMAD project here.