Promoting Tolerance Programme in the Eyes of Marius Gorochovskis
For me, the Promoting Tolerance program embodies the following principles: community, understanding, inspiration, responsibility. Let me briefly explain why.
Although I was just one out of many, I was the only participant from Lithuania. In total, there were representatives from a dozen of different countries in the program, and our friendship grew steadily. The workshop in Berlin gave us a glimpse of other nations and for most – our first contacts in some countries. We had much more time in the United States to travel, eat, chat, have fun and participate in serious events together. This has, obviously, brought us closer together as friends. I can responsibly say that I want and I will meet most of the participants in the nearest future.
Here emerges the sense of community – the same old insider jokes, introductions that others can easily conclude, support. Every other event and joint experience had a greater impact on nurturing the group as an ever growing closer community. Moreover, we could share our ideas easier and even to see broader perspectives together.
We live in world which is full of data and information. But that in reality means we have very little knowledge and we depend heavily on trusted sources. Seeing/meeting/experiencing things in person makes it easier to learn things and allows evaluating the information. It helps understand the processes that happen around us, the people that we meet everyday or only see in the media.
Thanks to Promoting Tolerance, the most important thing that I started to understand, of course, is America itself. I have read, watched on the news and in films about it so many times but somehow everything was not real. The true American diversity, society and communities it consists of are so different compared to European analogues. Without actually having a conversation on the ground, it is impossible to even have a clear idea on how the US evolved and got into the place it currently is.
I guess this is the most important of every activity, every program. The final goal of it is to reach and move us, to take a step and to be the change we want to see. I spent so many hours talking to other participants, sharing our ideas and just thinking about human rights, activism, politics that now I have a sparkle of inspiration and commitment inside me.
In the beginning of a journey you do not know where you will end up, and that is exactly how I feel right now. Being a party member and chairing its Human Rights Committee, I received so much in two weeks that now I must figure out how to even start utilizing the knowledge and contacts that I have gained thanks to Promoting Tolerance. Ideas and plans are now thriving in my head knowing that I should start some serious changes in Lithuania. The first serious action I took was during my party’s summit when I penned a speech about human rights and liberalism, and it was acclaimed by the audience.
USA is different, and many things that we, people from Europe and Central Asia, want to bring back to our countries must be adapted. But it also shows a perspective that everything can be completely different, not necessarily copy-pasted. And that requires our own mindsets, dreams and abilities. I believe that having a huge network of contacts (friends) in America, Europe and Asia makes it easier and more fun. Maybe currently I come from a country where democracy is thriving, but all too soon this might change. I know that I am responsible for what is happening in my country or city. And then when I need advice, I know that I could reply on the Promoting Tolerance network for support.
I believe that processes in my environment totally depend on me. I am happy to say that I feel empowered to initiate changes. Looking at the political and social situation in the country I have decided upon a new goal that I am now thriving to reach- I need to initiate an organization to work with various minorities, politicians, local authorities – based on the American examples that I have seen thanks to Promoting Tolerance program.
Human Rights Activist and Communications Officer in Public Sector
Promoting Tolerance 2017 Alumnus