In the beautiful city of Mitrovica, inter-ethnic tolerance has an even deeper meaning. Since different communities live together, accepting differences and respecting them is not only important but also necessary. The Ibar River, which separates not only symbolically but also physically Serbian and Albanian citizens, is the “symbol” of this city. Overcoming historical tensions is a long process and requires daily efforts. But each action is a step in this important process for building tolerance everywhere in Kosovo.
In this long and important process, each action is a building block of peace. It is essential to plan each activity well to achieve the desired result. In the framework of the project “Reconciliation and conflict transformation” supported by USAID and implemented by Community Building Mitrovica and partners, we have been working in this direction for 4 years now. The joint activities of the communities and the events that bring them together are engines of understanding and tolerance. Following these activities, on the International Day of Tolerance, we also organized the peaceful run “Run for Tolerance”. Young people met at the Ibar River bridge and started running in the northern part of the city. Then, we continued to the reservoir and the southern part, to finally return to the starting point.
Our journey together, apart from walking and running, had conversations and smiles. The view that the city received was one of those views that prove the importance of efforts in this aspect. When we create an opportunity for youngsters to spend time together, we have given them the opportunity to overcome barriers that have been built by past events or stories. In this way, we have planted the seeds of a different future.
This event not only brought the communities together but also set a good example for the city, highlighting the value of unity. Once again, it was proven that every journey is easier when we are together. Since tolerance creates an environment where everyone has the opportunity to express themselves freely, building such an atmosphere is the first step in the process of overcoming divisions. A symbolic run or a walk reminds us of the value of small actions. A simple conversation or a shared experience are memories that you cherish for a long time. “Run for Tolerance” was anything but a race. It was a race towards a common goal, where we accept our differences and embrace them.