Dear supporters,

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in January announced parliamentary and presidential elections for May and July of this year, respectively. After 15 years, for many, this is a minor sensation  – whether elections will happen or not remains uncertain. Meanwhile, continuous voting seems to have become the rule in Israel – whether the March election will end this cycle remains to be seen.

In the former Yugoslavia, as almost everywhere else, Corona politics determine everyday life.  Unfortunately, there, as elsewhere in the world, the pandemic is regularly advanced as justification for imposing political action according to one’s own interests: Lockdowns are either tightened or lifted for electoral campaigns and numbers of Corona cases are manipulated, while parts of the population are on the brink of economic collapse and the health care system is barely holding up. For the project Vacation From War, the pandemic poses a major challenge: not only do travel restrictions and Corona protection measures prohibit large scale group encounters and also make their implementation hardly responsible, the aggravated domestic political situation in the project regions further complicates the work of our partners.

Despite all obstacles, we remain active: With creativity and commitment, we continue to work on enabling dialogues and encounters even under difficult conditions – be it in the digital or, wherever possible, in the analog space!

„We are a large group with the common goal of spreading peace in the world. (…) I can’t say that I miss Youth United in Peace – because we are all still there – albeit online. We hang out together, talk and even organize joint actions online. We always find a way.“

Teodora Bijelić, Sombor