Every year, the Danish political festival Folkemøde attracts people from all over the country on the lovely island of Bornholm. This year, Crossing Borders was lucky enough to share a tent with the organisation RIKO.
From the 15th to the 18th of June, the CB team went to Bornholm and enjoyed life at the sunshine island. Our tent was located ideally, right next to the TV2 News studio, allowing several people to come by and great exposure for Crossing Borders. The tent was full of flyers and newsletter subscription forms for those who were interested. The Crossing Borders’ team was always ready to answer questions.
Every day, several events took place in the tent. Some of them were held by RIKO and others by Crossing Borders. The ones held by Crossing Borders were events on Identity and Integration – with the participation of Bwalya Sørensen, and Peaceful Elections and Youth Resistance for Democracy – presented by Andrew Julius Bende and Milcah Abasabyona. Both events were successful and attracted a good crowd with interesting questions and comments. Bwalya Sørensen made her event very interactive as she encouraged the audience to share their stories and their opinions on the topic. This way, we got to hear, among others, the stories of a Brazilian girl who, thanks to the history of her country, considered herself as from all over the world and of a Danish man who spent three years in Zambia and now considers himself as 10% Zambian.
The speakers for the event on Peaceful Elections and Youth Resistance were both from Uganda. Therefore, they talked about their country of origin and about the situation in said country. They explained, for instance, that young people often did not see a point in voting as the outcome did not reflect what they voted. They are not very open on the subject. However, one of the solutions that was put forward was to organise sports events for instance and take 20 minutes out of this event to talk about voting. This way, people are more inclined to start a discussion. Of course, a lot more was discussed during both events.
The Crossing Borders’ team could also enjoy some free time to have a walk around and go to other events. The general atmosphere of this festival was very positive. As a foreigner, the whole concept of this festival looked like a great idea. It is not something that exists in many countries, or in any other country for that matter. Seeing all the political parties and different organisations from Denmark gather for a weekend in the sole purpose to inform people and make all the information available for them was very inspiring. Walking around, it was easy to discover organisations we did not know about and which we found interesting. And what’s more, everybody was on the same level, there did not really seem to be any social differences. This can make people less intimidated by politics. People might realise that politics and national issues are more accessible than they thought it was. There is always a way to act even at the smallest scale, which people might not always be aware of.
Overall, it was a great and successful weekend for Crossing Borders. We enjoyed bringing our work to Bornholm and hope we will have some new members as a result. We will definitely come back next year. There are already discussions about Folkemøde 2018, with the idea of sharing a tent with more organisations. See you next year!
Article written by Chloé Ladeira – Crossing Borders Intern, and national coordinator for France.