7 – 11 December 2005, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

On 7-11 December about 20 vibrant individuals from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania gathered in Skopje, Macedonia in order to give rise to a Balkan version of the Toledo Role Play. What seemed like a difficult process of consensus at first was overcome by fervent collaboration, which produced results that not only satisfied the participants but have also completely fulfilled the facilitator’s expectations as well.

    Aims of the meeting:
  • Present and experience the TOLEDO Role-play “Delicate balance” to adult educators in SEE
  • Have the participants contribute their ideas to the adaptation and creation of a Balkan version of the Role-play
  • Create a draft version of the Role-play and plan its further implementation on national levels

Toledo Role Play itself has been developed in order to challenge participants to take on roles and split into groups that are not necessarily consistent with their own personality, ethnicity or timeline and to be drawn against a crucial imaginary issue and in return, discuss and reflect the next course of action. The ensuing decision making process, inevitably increased participants’ awareness of the community he/she was assigned to, and both the difficulty and simplicity of the word tolerance.

After playing the original version of the game, the participants were again split into three groups of equal size and invited to conceive three Balkan versions of the role-play. Between the three groups, there was a plethora of enthralling and adaptable ideas flowing out of each presentation, however the evaluation of the three creations proved that not a single group could commit to any of the results presented thus, what followed was a creation of a final Balkan version of the Toledo Role Play which considered the best aspects of each of the previously developed role-plays, but had a whole new meaning that every single person in the seminar room could relate to.

All present parties expressed a strong willingness to participate during this seminar, and what’s more, a desire to promote and instigate the Balkan version of the role-play in their own locality. An analysis of the draft role-play will be undertaken by the organization before the contents are ready for implementation; even so, due to the constructive ideas gathered at this seminar, the prospect of employing the role-play at future seminars is promising. All things considered, this seminar provided an opportunity for embarking upon compelling issues and it is undoubtedly, an exceptional instance of joint effort and integration of a wide-range of concepts into one valuable whole.

The report was prepared by Ms. Ana Milanovic, IIZ DVV-Sofia.

This meeting was facilitated by Ms. Emilia Ilieva, IIZ DVV-Sofia and Mr. Ali Gulum with the support of the IIZ DVV-Macedonia.


7 December Wednesday
Arrival and accommodation

8 December, Thursday

09:00 – 10:30 Welcome & Introduction of the participants and team of trainers
Introduction to the SMILE project and the aims of the meeting
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee/ Tea Break
11:00 – 13:00 TOLEDO Role Play “Delicate balance”
Reflection Round
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch Break
15:00 – 17:00 World Cafe on Issues of Tolerance and Coexistence on the Balkans
17:00 – 17:30 Coffee/Tea Break
17:30 – 18:30 Results of the World cafe
Evaluation of the day
20:00 Discovering Skopje

9 December, Friday

09:00 – 10:30 Good morning!
Division in small groups working on the Balkan version of the TOLEDO Role play
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee/ Tea Break
11:00 – 13:00 Work in small groups II
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch Break
15:00 – 16:30 Presentation of the results of the working groups and further discussion
16:30 – 17:00 Coffee/Tea Break
17:00 – 18:30 Reaching agreement and planning next steps
Evaluation of the day
20:00 Evening program

10 December, Saturday

09:00 – 10:30 Good morning!
Work in small groups depicting characters and attitudes
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee/ Tea Break
11:00 – 13:00 Work in small groups depicting characters and attitudes II
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch Break
15:00 – 17:00 Presenting the results and final discussion and commitments
Evaluation of the meeting
20:00 Good bye party

11 December, Sunday Departure of the participants

The SMILE Training

Participatory Methods for Shaping our Realities

10 – 15th October 2005
Cluj Napoca, Romania

On 10-15 October 2005, twenty participants coming from Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria met in Cluj Napoca in order to participate in a SMILE training (Seeding for Multiethnic and Intercultural Learning Experiences) over the course of five days.

This event brought many different participants of various backgrounds to the conference. Such a wide spectrum of differences created a space of opposing and mutual opinions, and as result, many interesting and thoughtful projects, issues, and questions emerged.

Aims of the training:

  • Present 5 innovative methods used within the SMILE project activities to adult educators in SEE
  • Have the participants organize their own facilitated sessions within the training
  • Provide a floor for methods exchange between the adult educators attending the training
  • Initiate an adult educators SEE network

By the end of the training participants:

  • Had an understanding of the 5 suggested methods
  • Were experienced in facilitating at least one session with preferred method
  • Were able to creatively adapt the suggested methods to their working settings

The five day span allowed for five different methods to be incorporated into the training, thus the design of the training was different from any we conducted in the previous two years. Beside the Open Space Technology, World Cafe, and Future Creative Workshop, Future Search Conference and Appreciative Inquiry have been included to the list of methods presented, hence the participants had a chance to learn and actively participate in all five methods and further present and facilitate the Appreciative Inquiry, Future Search Conference, and Future Creative Workshop to the rest of the participants by themselves.

Detailed results of:

Detailed results of the participant-generated workshops:

The participants were given the space and time to create action initiatives during the presentation of each method. Their inventiveness and openness allowed for many introspective and executable projects, and many felt encouraged and inspired to take the passion out of the conference room and apply it for the purposes of transformation of their local context. Not only did the participants seem eager to learn the methods presented to them and use them in their own adult education setting, but some were passionate about creating similar workshops such as this one, and showed great enthusiasm for learning how to facilitate such a responsibility.

Materials Distributed to the Participants:

Schedule of Events

11 October

09:30 – 11:00 Welcome & Introduction of the participants and team
Introduction to the SMILE project and the aims of the training
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee/ Tea Break
11:30 – 13:00 Learning Styles & Trainer’s type questionnaires
Personal Tests and Reflection Round
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch Break
14:30 – 16:00 World Cafe on Participatory methods for Shaping Our Realities
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee/Tea Break
16:30 – 18:00 Future Creating Workshop – Presentation & Experience Sharing & Q&A
20:00 Discovering Cluj Napoca

12 October

09:00 – 11:00 Open Space I “Participatory Methods for Shaping Our Realities”
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee/ Tea Break
11:30 – 13:00 Open Space II
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch Break
14:30 – 16:00 Future Search Conference & An example of Mind mapping
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee/Tea Break
16:30 – 18:00 Introduction into the Appreciative Inquiry and Cross cuttings of the various methods
20:00 Evening program

13 October

09:00 – 11:00 Participants practice workshops preparation
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee/ Tea Break
11:30 – 13:00 Participants practice workshops I
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch Break
14:30 – 16:00 Participants practice workshops II
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee/Tea Break
16:30 – 18:00 Feedback sessions

14 October

09:00 – 11:00 Participants practice workshops and feedback III
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee/ Tea Break
11:30 – 13:00 Our Next Steps & Evaluation & Recommendations
13:00 – 18:00 Lunch Break & Cultural event
Visit to the Nicula monastery

The SMILE training design was created by Ms. Emilia Ilieva from IIZ-DVV/Regional office based in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The training was facilitated by Ms. Emilia Ilieva, Mr. Dorin Herlo and Ms. Ana Milanovic.

Embracing Empathy In Intercultural Learning Workshop

23 - 26 June 2005
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

By Emilia Ilieva and Vanya Ivanova, Regional office SEE, IIZ/DVV

Being adult educator requires well-developed skills in many areas. Educators need to adequately address the various needs of participants, and manage the learning process in a way that is beneficial to all parties involved.

Among those skills, empathy, or the ability to actively listen and understand respectfully, is of key importance for those engaged in facilitation. Empathy is also an integral part of any participant-centered approach to teaching and training.

During previous activities of the SMILE project in 2004, participants requested further workshops on the topic of emotional intelligence in general, and empathy more specifically. Participants generally felt that the processes of reconciliation inevitably bring out emotionally-charged reactions that need to be skillfully addressed.


In response to this, a workshop on Nonviolent Communication (NVC), as developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, was presented during the conference on Intercultural Learning and Human Rights Education at the Dawn of the European Year of Citizenship through Education (see Publication 2004). This event took place in December 2004, in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Embracing Empathy in Intercultural Learning was a step further in this direction. It focused on the art of listening with the heart and the concept of being fully present. Through a variety of exercises in the course of two days, participants explored the way they usually listen, differentiated between various levels of empathetic/non-empathetic behaviors, and practiced methods of communication and facilitation.

Another aspect of the training was on how empathy can be used in facilitating intercultural work and in addressing emotional issues. Additionally participants have been encouraged to organize national events in their respective countries to share their experiences as the best way of practicing what they experienced during the workshop.

During the first day the participants explored the suggested approach to empathy of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg along with other methods provoking creativity and artistic expression. The second day was devoted to the experience of the Ballint groups and the Open Space Technology method.


24 June 2005

09:00 – 11:00 Introduction to the theme of the seminar and the aims
Who is in the room?
What is empathy?
The empathy process and levels of empathy responding
The differences between communicating with and without empathy
11:00 – 11:30 Break
11:30 – 13:00 The crossroads of empathy and intercultural learning
Example of an empathy session in intercultural learning
Practicing receiving with empathy (group work & feedback)
Reflection on the morning session
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
15:00 – 16:00 Using Balint Groups in intercultural learning
16:00 – 17:00 Break
17:00 – 18:30 “The meeting place” – Where what we say and what we understand intersects
Conclusion and shared discussion

25 June 2005

09:00 – 09:30 Open Coffee Space
09:30 – 10:00 What is Open Space Technology?
The Law, the 4 rules and some bugs
The Marketplace of ideas, or what is your passion today?
10:00 – 10:30 Passion debate selection, and workshops
10:30 – 13:00 Passion debates (First session)
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
15:30 – 16:30 Passion debates (Second session)
16:30 - 17:00 Break
17:00 - 18:30 Passion fruits and commitments
18:30 - 19:00 Conclusion and shared discussion

For detailed descriptions on the Non-Violent Communication method, the Ballint Groups and the Open Space methodology you can refer to Publications.

Results from the Open Space - Word 60 KB.

Listening and Empathy - Word 51 KB.

Creating Networks for Social Transformation through Intercultural Learning

18 - 20 March 2005
Sofia, Bulgaria

On March 18-20 2005, fifty participants from across South Eastern Europe (SEE) gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria for an Open Space Technology Conference with the goal of discussing and developing projects for networking and intercultural learning.

The participants came from different backgrounds, and brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the conference. They included students, teachers, adult educators from local and regional NGOs, and university professors.

As the method of Open Space gives the opportunity to participants to create their own agenda, some of the participant suggested and respectively managed workshops including various topics such as: What are the theoretical foundations of Open Space Conference?; How do we promote education for peace through history teaching; What a new European curriculum for intercultural education could be?; Intercultural tourism; Using ICT for networking etc.

A second half-day session (Action Space) allowed for the creation of projects based on the topics that had been discussed during the initial half of the Open Space Conference. These included the following:

  • SEE e-network for intercultural learning
  • Regional improvement of Early Childhood Education through community action
  • Intercultural educators forum in SEE
  • Youth network in SEE
  • Educational consultants network

Participants left the conference both pleased and provoked, as they saw the importance of their own inspiration and creativity, and its potential for achieving social transformation. Furthermore, they could see the value of self-organized activity, and its relevance to developing projects and proposals.

During the final day of the conference, participants created concrete action plans based of their project ideas and discussions. Some participants were deeply enthusiastic about developing regional youth exchanges, and made a commitment to creating such a system.

Others left determined to create an electronic network for intercultural education and educational consulting. In addition, participants from Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria also developed proposals for disseminating Open Space in their countries, and to use the system in other contexts.

The Open Space Conference was facilitated by Holger Nauheimer from Change Management Toolbook

A detailed report of the event is available at: Word document, 73 KB

For further information, please contact Emilia Ilieva, at:

Tel.:++359 2 983 65 43
IIZ/DVV – Regional Office, South Eastern Europe
147 Knjaz Boris I
1000 Sofia, Bulgaria