Creating a locally produced Sesame project in Kosovo was more than just creating a children’s TV show. As Producer Basia Nikonorow explains, “We really believe that a Sesame project could aid in the peace process.” After years of violent ethnic strife between Serbs and Albanians, the show had the potential to build peace and tolerance with a new generation of children, showing them that their ethnic counterparts were just kids, too.
But for the adults involved, it was often a different matter. Working with both Albanian and Serbian directors and producers at times proved to be a tense situation. Topics for debate included whether the show would feature a street sign with both the Albanian and Serbian names of the program, or two separate signs altogether. And when the fragile peace in Kosovo was shattered by a sudden resurgence of ethnic violence, the producers faced their ultimate challenge—how will they produce a television show in a political minefield?
Rruga Sesam and Ulica Sezam Update from Sesame Workshop Annual GIving Director Carol Leister:
Season one of Rruga Sesam and Ulica Sezam has been dubbed into Albanian and Serbian and is being broadcast nationally in Kosovo on RTK, the public broadcaster. In addition, Ulica Sezam, the Serbian version, is broadcast on three regional stations, TV herc, TV Most and TV Puls. Sesame Workshop also partnered with UNICEF to create and distribute 12,000 parent and children's kits.
Season two is currently in production and set to launch in October 2006. Again the Workshop is working with UNICEF to create and distribute two story books and a facilitators’ guide.
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