European Chess Union is working hard on promoting chess as a useful tool not only to increase intellectual capacities but also as a social inclusion instrument helping very much in developing core competencies. Chess4Europe was established solely to promote values of the European Chess Union and to build chess networks around Europe in order to design and implement projects focused on European issues of these days.
Albanian Chess Federation and Chess Club Prievidza agreed to join efforts and under the ECU initiative Chess4Europe designed the project “Let us find the way to each other!”. The project was selected and got finances under Erasmus plus Youth Mobility Programme. The project objective was to ensure learning and starting the intercultural dialogue among young people and to support young people not having sufficient opportunities.
7 girls and 10 boys of the age 13-16 years (8 of them Albanians and 9 Slovaks) spent together 16 days in a beautiful Slovak nature during the period 14-29 August 2017. 4 experienced and relevantly educated facilitators lead the participants on the way of intercultural education and at the same time motivated them by the focused programme outdoor and indoor activities to increase their key competences (like critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, decision making etc.).
The participants increased their knowledge in the areas like Man and values, Language and communication, Man and nature, Man and society and Art and Culture from both Albania and Slovakia point of view.
The participants enhanced their intercultural communication and presentation skills through many role plays, workshops, presentations and guided discussions. The understanding of other cultures grew and new friendships were established.
Young people experienced an intensive programme full of discussions, presentations, hiking, visits to Bojnice Zoo and the castle, Bojnice swimming pool, Gapel bowling. Of course there was a chess simul, chess tournament and presentation of one of Slovak regional chess academies. Other sports like football, table tennis and many ball games within the “Olympic Day” were also practiced. Every participant received Smart Kids t-shirts, small souvenirs and a Youth Pass Certificate.
The Europe of today is characterized by the positive effort of its citizens to defend the tolerance among different cultures, religions and nations. Slovakia as a conservative country is lacking sufficient information about islam and that can be one of important reasons why Slovaks ranked first in the EU in the recent Eurobarometer analysing the animosity towards moslims (just about 30% of Slovaks have nothing against moslims). Albania as one of the poorest European countries is mostly the moslim country trying hard to join the EU. Its people lack sufficient financial sources to travel abroad and to promote the real image of Albania around Europe.
Albanian Chess Federation and the Chess Club Prievidza are very active organisations having intensive contacts for several years trying to develop chess as the instrument of increasing the intercultural understanding to support the future international cooperation.
The project is without any doubt an excellent example and therefore the partners are ensuring the project results to be promoted at local and national levels. Both partners will disseminate results in their countries to motivate design and implementation of more intercultural projects in the future.
Many thanks go to Albanian Chess Federation for its serious involvement, to the Chess Club Prievidza, the City of Prievidza and Municipality of Čavoj for supporting the project and to the European Chess Union that supports the initiative Chess4Europe!