Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe aisbl
“YOU WERE CALLED TO JUSTICE” (Galatians 5:13)
Activity and Development Report 2012 ECUMENICAL YOUTH COUNCIL IN EUROPE Conseil Œcuménique de la Jeunesse en Europe aisbl Rue Brogniez 44, B - 1070 Bruxelles, BELGIUM Tel. +32 2 510 6171 Fax +32 2 510 6172 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.eyce.org
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe aisbl | Conseil Œcumènique de la Jeunesse en Europe aisbl Rue Brogniez 44 – 1070 Bruxelles – Belgium Phone: +32 2 5106171 – Fax: +32 2 5106172 – E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Web: www.eyce.org Bank details: KBC Bank, Argence Marnix – BIC/Swift: KREDBEBB – IBAN: BE30 7340 0440 4011
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe
Table of Contents 1. Introduction............................................................................................................................
2. EYCE’s activities....................................................................................................................
EYCE training course"Human Rights for everyone? Right!" .......................................................
EYCE training course "Taking Steps Towards Ecologically Responsible Society" ......................
EYCE training course "Acting Together to Overcome Poverty!" ................................................ .. 9 EYCE study session "Gender: Revised?!" ................................................................................... 11 EYCE Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice........................................................................... 13
3. External Relations..................................................................................................................
4. EYCE structural development...............................................................................................
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe aisbl | Conseil Œcumènique de la Jeunesse en Europe aisbl Rue Brogniez 44 – 1070 Bruxelles – Belgium Phone: +32 2 5106171 – Fax: +32 2 5106172 – E-Mail: email@example.com – Web: www.eyce.org Bank details: KBC Bank, Argence Marnix – BIC/Swift: KREDBEBB – IBAN: BE30 7340 0440 4011
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe
1. Introduction The year 2012 has brought many exciting moments, new involvements and challenges to EYCE. There have been remarkably positive developments regarding the expertise of EYCE in thematic fields, such as interreligious dialogue, ecological justice and youth employment. It was once again reaffirmed that EYCE speaks out loudly on behalf of young Christians all over Europe, sharing the knowledge and expertise available in its network! It has been a very rich and inspiring year! In 2012, EYCE addressed through its programme a variety of themes important to young people in Europe today, still following up the mandates from the 38th General Meeting. The programme included a training on human rights and ethnic minorities, which helped EYCE to strengthen its cooperation with its member organisation in Italy - FGEI, as well as with the Church and Society Commission of CEC, but also was the starting point for slightly more practical activities of EYCE, involving more the local community and leaving a more tangible impact. The year 2012 was also the second year of EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice, which now looked more deeply into the issues of ecological justice and in particular the links between economy, politics and ecology. Within the framework of the campaign, EYCE organised a panel discussion, following up the outcomes of the Rio+20 meeting. This panel discussion was another innovative approach in EYCE's usual working methods and made a good use of EYCE's location being Brussels, Belgium. During the thematic campaign event, which took place in Minsk, Belarus, EYCE kept the well started tradition of a low-consumption day, as well as continued the activities with local society to leave a practical impact, e.g. garbage collection. EYCE also maintained its engagement into the field of youth politics, especially through the European Youth Form, e.g. by addressing various themes in Thematic Squares or by contributing to a number of thematic statements and activities with its expertise. Special attention was brought to the planned changes in the Youth in Action Programme. Furthermore, the relations with the ecumenical organisations, e.g. Conference of European Churches and World Council of Churches, were increased and EYCE further strengthened its position as the transmitter of the voice of young European Christians and as the expert in many fields connected to social justice and Human Rights. The highlights of this engagement were the participation of EYCE General Secretary Ms. Kristine Jansone in the Meeting of High Level Religious Leaders with the presidents of the European Institutions, as well as an invitation for EYCE’s Executive Committee member responsible for EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice, Mr. Benjamin Mlynek, to be part of the Working Group on Climate Change of the World Council of Churches. A special highlight was the biannual meeting of EYCE's National Correspondents, which took place in Warsaw, Poland. This was a great opportunity for EYCE’s member organisations to come together in order
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe aisbl | Conseil Œcumènique de la Jeunesse en Europe aisbl Rue Brogniez 44 – 1070 Bruxelles – Belgium Phone: +32 2 5106171 – Fax: +32 2 5106172 – E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Web: www.eyce.org Bank details: KBC Bank, Argence Marnix – BIC/Swift: KREDBEBB – IBAN: BE30 7340 0440 4011
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe to share their work and experiences, to network, introduce the news in EYCE and more. Important outcomes of the meeting were the joint contribution to the campaign and in particular the initiative, which will be launched in 2013 to make EYCE and its member organisations more sustainable. In addition, creative solutions were sought together for more fundraising for EYCE. It must be noted that in 2012 EYCE also faced quite few challenges, mainly in the financial aspect, as the fundraising became more and more difficult. Nevertheless, EYCE managed to discover and make use of new funding possibilities and became more creative and innovative regarding its programme. All the planned activities were carried out successfully and with remarkable results. For all activities the participants gave very positive feedback.
Altogether, despite the challenges and difficulties EYCE faced in the year 2012, it has been a successful year for EYCE, which has led to strong and innovative programmatic developments, stronger member organisations and better equipped young people on the grass roots level. The ExCo and EYCE office are looking forward to strengthen the weak aspects of EYCE's work in the future and hope to maintain the development oriented work also in the years to come!
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe
2. EYCE’s activities EYCE training course "Human Rights for everyone? Right! A training course for young Europeans to overcome racism and discrimination against ethnic minorities" 18th - 25th of March 2012 Palermo, Italy Developments in the past two years in the Northern African and Arabic countries, show the great importance of awareness on Human Rights, both by the oppressed groups and the broader society, including people in other countries. Firstly, it is important that the oppressed people know their rights and are able to stand up for them in order to make use of their human rights. Secondly, it is important to be aware of human rights and their oppression in order to be able to successfully advocate for the rights of the oppressed, in cases of a violation of human rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. Human Rights Education (HRE) with young Christians in Europe has always been important for EYCE. With this project EYCE wanted to further deepen its focus on HRE, especially with regards to the rights of minorities, migrants and other oppressed groups in Europe and beyond, as well as training young people from church backgrounds to address these issues within their contexts. In many European countries those oppressed groups are mostly ethnic or religious minorities, migrants and people who suffer from racist outbursts. Furthermore, many young people in EYCE's networks are already working in addressing these issues in their churches and organisations, however they often still lack a proper training and expertise. In addition, the international group of participants allowed the young people to look beyond the local contexts, in which many young people grew up with certain stereotypes and prejudices towards minorities in their regions or towards minorities in other parts of the world. Furthermore, with this event EYCE contributed to the European Action Week Against Racism, which is traditionally taking place around March 21st, the International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. This training course aimed at empowering young Europeans with knowledge and skills to overcome racism and discrimination against ethnic minorities.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe In order to reach the aim, several objectives were developed: • to provide knowledge about situations of ethnic minorities in Europe; • to provide an overview of positions in European churches regarding ethnic minorities and racism towards them; • to analyse concepts of human rights in the light of different ethnic minorities; • to learn from good practice examples on the local level in Italy; • to equip the participants with tools and methods to address racism and discrimination in their own context; • to develop a common contribution to the European Action Week Against Racism, which traditionally takes place around March 21st; • to provide a safe space for intercultural sharing and learning. The training course brought together 30 participants (age 18-35) and team members from all over Europe and from various cultural and denominational backgrounds. The training course was prepared and implemented by a team of volunteers from the EYCE network. The team was coordinated by an EYCE Executive Committee member and supported by the EYCE General Secretary. A local team member was engaged to assist the team with practical arrangements. Non-formal education was the main methodology used during the project. The programme consisted of three thematic and methodological aspects. Firstly, setting the basic knowledge through an overview of the variety of social aspects related to racism and ethnic discrimination, an analysis of the main terms used when addressing these issues and the exploration of different situations regarding racism and ethnic discrimination in various European countries, including good practice examples. Secondly, providing the participants with the main concept of Human Rights regarding issues of racism and ethnic discrimination, as well as giving them the opportunity to experience the debate and analyse these HR concepts. Finally, the role of churches and religious communities in general in addressing these themes was analysed and practical examples on local level in Palermo experienced through presentations and voluntary work. The practical aspect of the training course focused on equipping the participants with knowledge, skills and tools to address the issues of racism and ethnic discrimination in their local contexts, e.g. advocacy, pastoral counselling with migrants or Human Rights based approaches. Participants were also offered the possibility to put the knowledge and skills acquired during the training course into practice by preparing a common input for the European Action Week Against Racism - workshops for local young people. Learning by doing and a creative approach was an important aspect of the training course. The highlights of the programme were the simulation game prepared by one of the guest speakers, as well as the practical workshops offered to the participants. The project was very successful and brought many good outcomes for the further work of EYCE, especially through various thematic aspects emerging from the discussions by the participants. Also, it was beneficial for EYCE in order to increase its visibility and role in the ecumenical movement, by providing expertise and contribution to certain sections of the Human Rights Manual for Churches, developed by Church and Society Commission of Conference of European Churches. The training course also helped to identify young people
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe in the EYCE network, who would take an active role in the further involvement of young people and youth organisations in addressing racism and ethnic discrimination.
EYCE training course "Taking Steps Towards Ecologically Responsible Society" 24th June - 1st July 2012 Minsk, Belarus The training course was the central event of the second year of EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice. During this year the relations between ecology, economy and politics, including reviewing ecology issues as basis for numerous conflicts, were explored. How can habits, policies and products, which are hindering ideas of ecological justice, be recognised? In which way can young people influence policy making processes? Especially after the expiration of the Kyoto protocol and ecological justice being one of the central debates globally, it is important to provide young people with knowledge of ongoing processes, as well as to equip them with skills to address these issues in their own context. The aim of the training course was to enhance the understanding of complexity of ecological justice among young Europeans by exposing the links between social inequality and environmental degradation, ecological and socio-economic issues, and to increase ecological responsibility in European civil society through active contribution of young people. To reach the aim of the training course, following objectives were set: • To provide the participants with good factual knowledge on various situations of ecological injustice in different contexts, at both European and global levels; • To give an overview and examples of basic notions and concepts related to the links between ecological, political and socio-economic issues (e.g. bio-piracy, fair access to water, greenwashing, land-use changes, agroecology); • To facilitate the understanding of mechanisms influencing the processes of ecological justice, such as political negotiations, economic transactions and the consequences of those mechanisms. • To analyse in depth the governance and economic mechanisms of distribution of wealth, natural resources and land in Europe and at a global level;
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe • • • • • •
To analyse the possible consequences and the outcomes of international events with a significant impact on environmental policy; To develop together with the participants ideas for the contribution of young people to promote ecological justice and fairer distribution of wealth, land and natural resources; To enable and inspire the participants to actively take part in decision making processes on all levels in order to overcome ecological injustices on their local and national levels; To equip the participants with practical methods and tools to address the issues of ecological justice and implement concrete projects in their own context; To provide a platform for the intercultural exchange of experiences and good practices among the participants; To provide space for practical implementation of ecological responsibility by reducing the CO2 emissions as much as possible, reducing consumption connected to the implementation of the training course and providing useful knowledge for the participants to improve their daily ecological responsibility.
Through these objectives EYCE wanted to stress the importance of young Europeans in addressing global challenges and actively taking part in civil society with regards to issues of ecological justice. Solidarity and justice need to be addressed on multiple levels - starting from personal to local and then global. The training course gathered more than twenty young people from Europe and beyond, as well as from various denominational and national backgrounds. During the week of the training course, the participants got the opportunity to further develop their knowledge of different aspects of ecological justice and acquire practical tools and skills for further promoting the ideas discussed. Several guest speakers contributed to the programme of the training course with their knowledge and expertise. Ecological knowledge and practical tools were offered to the participants by using a variety of nonformal learning methods. Rev. Henrik Grape, Officer on Sustainable Development at the Church of Sweden, shared his own life experience of advocating for sustainability from a religious perspective. He provided the participants with a deeper understanding of the global situation through the use of data and by pointing out the main challenges sustainability as an ideal is facing. Mr. Evgeniy Lobanov, a local guest speaker from Belarusian environmental organisation "Environmental Solutions" gave a broad insight of the Belarusian situation according to the environmental issues. The participants could become aware of the reality of the situation in a country they might not know about and benefit from the practical example of experience Mr. Lobanov shared with them. The highlight of the week was the "Challenge your Lifestyle!" day, where participants and the team restrained from using electronic devices, excessive water consumption and learned some practical skills through the up-cycling workshops. The garbage collection organised as a follow-up session to Mr. Evgeniy Lobanov's input, was the opportunity for the participants to actively contribute to improving the local environment and raise awareness among local inhabitants! The final part of the programme provided the participants with knowledge and ideas for use in their practical work through sessions on advocacy, exchange of best practices and local experiences with youth groups. Participants also brainstormed on the implementation of the outcomes of the training course in more practical terms. They came together through a series of ideas how to address the issues of ecological justice
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe in their own contexts and inscribed them on the official training course Charter. The participants contributed actively to the process of the training course with their experiences and knowledge of the subject, and enriched the atmosphere of the event greatly with creative approaches to the activities. Finally, to mark the end of the training course a tree was planted at the venue of the training course, in the outskirts of Minsk.
"Acting Together to Overcome Poverty! Young people address social injustice through interreligious cooperation" 2nd - 9th of September 2012 Paris, France The training course "Acting Together to Overcome Poverty!" was the annual interreligious event organised by EYCE, together with its interreligious partner Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO). This training course aimed at strengthening the role of young people from various religious communities in overcoming poverty and social injustice on various levels and promoting collaboration between religious communities in developing joint initiatives.
In order to achieve this aim, several objectives were developed:
to provide good factual knowledge on mechanisms behind poverty and social injustice on global, national, or local level; to give an overview on definitions of poverty and social welfare models in various religious traditions; to analyse the role of religious communities in tackling poverty and collaboration between them; to study poverty and social inclusion in the context of basic HR; to discuss the causes of poverty in the framework of multilevel discrimination; to share best practices; to raise awareness of the creative potential of young people and empower them to increase their active engagement on local, national and global level; to equip participants with tools for addressing poverty and social injustice; to increase the participation of young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds;
to provide a safe platform for sharing and interreligious dialogue.
• • • • •
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe The training course brought together 29 participants (age 18-35) and team members from all over Europe and from various cultural and religious backgrounds. The training course was prepared and implemented by a team of volunteers from the EYCE and FEMYSO networks. The team was coordinated by an EYCE Executive Committee member. The support from two local organisations - Coexister and Étudiants musulmans de France (member of FEMYSO) was received in assisting the team with practical arrangements. Non-formal education was the main methodology used during the project. The programme consisted of three thematic and methodological blocks. Firstly, the basic knowledge about poverty and social exclusion was set, through an analysis of the main terms used when addressing these issues and an exploration of concrete examples brought by the participants about the situation regarding the theme of the training course in their countries, thus mapping the reality in Europe and beyond. Several guest speakers contributed to the training course, sharing their knowledge and expertise on identifying and combating different kinds of poverty within Europe. They also provided information on related social challenges and the lack of human rights for certain social groups, using a variety of non-formal learning methods. Ms Catherine Mallet, Representative of Eurodiaconia, shared her experience on advocacy for social justice from a religious perspective. Ms Mallet provided the participants with a deeper understanding of the European situation in times of economic crisis, analysing the new stakes and challenges our societies have to cope with, through the use of data. Ms Danuta Wisniewska-Casals from the Department of the European Social Charter and European Code of Social Security of the Council of Europe, gave a broad insight of the European situation towards poverty and its stakes in terms of respecting basic Human Rights. The participants became aware of the current reality in Europe and the importance of the situation they might not know about and use that newly acquired knowledge to advocate for Human Rights for all people residing in Europe. Secondly, through the case studies and role game, the participants explored poverty and social exclusion from the perspective of Human Rights and multi-level discrimination. The role of religious communities in addressing poverty from practical and moral aspects was explored through text studies and discussions. Finally, the practical part of the training course offered an opportunity to acquire skills and concrete tools to address poverty and social exclusion within the communities the participants come from. Participants had the opportunity to participate in four different practical workshops, focusing on advocacy, motivation and empowerment, organising creative awareness campaigns and practical projects with youth and children. The participants could also learn from good practice examples shared within the group. In addition, the participants were offered a day of volunteering, when they could join an initiative in Paris to experience the work of organisations working against poverty and social exclusion. This experience was one of the highlights of the training course. The highlight of the week was the celebration of a Jubilee of cooperation between EYCE and FEMYSO. It was a time to look back on successful common projects achieved and the improvements they have led to, before planning the upcoming ones! That celebration gathered people who worked on different joint projects and provided an opportunity for them to discuss their experience and reaffirm the strong partnership between the two organisations. The Jubilee celebration was also linked to the thematic focus of the training
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe course through the panel discussion “The role of religious communities in tackling the rising youth poverty”, which focused on the contribution of religious communities in addressing youth unemployment, and was complemented with a photo exhibition with a retrospection of the cooperation. Other faith based partners of EYCE, such as Religions for Peace (RfP) and Conference of European Churches (CEC) took part in the Jubilee celebrations. The project was very successful and brought many good outcomes for the further work of EYCE, especially through various thematic aspects emerging from the discussions by the participants. The participants contributed actively to the process of the training course with their experiences and knowledge of the subject, and enriched the atmosphere of the event greatly with creative approaches to the activities.
EYCE Study Session "Gender: Revised?!" 11th - 18th of November 2012 European Youth Centre Budapest, Hungary Gender identity is only one aspect of identity, however it is the most easily stereotyped, pigeonholed, overlooked aspect, and very often is the cause of severe violence, discrimination and jeopardisation of Human Rights on a daily basis. In many societies around the world, gender equality, especially the role of women, and violence against women, is an issue which calls for urgent action. In Europe as well, less visible, yet strongly present gender inequality needs to be further addressed. Thematically inspired by a publication by World Council of Churches (WCC) "Created in God’s Image: From Hegemony to Partnership – a set of guidelines for discussion, theological reflection and bible study", which emphasizes the need to develop a sense of positive masculinity in order to counter increasing levels of violence by men against women, EYCE together with its partner World Student Christian Federation (Europe) decided to organise a study session, addressing the matters of gender. Further thematic discussions within EYCE and WSCF-E led to the conclusion that it is important to speak about more than positive masculinity, to do more than gender mainstreaming. It was important to address the gender not only in terms of human beings' physical embodiment of gender, but in terms of gender identities going beyond the physical body and strongly shaping one's identity in a positive manner. It was
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe important to develop the concept of gender plurality, which would reflect the many-fold nature of each gender identity and reveal its potential. Looking past the historical and cultural pre-set gender roles, healthy and fruitful gender partnerships, highlighting respectful and mutually complementary cooperation should be inspired and promoted to be developed in society and in youth organisatons, as well as in church institutions. The aim of the study session was to enhance the recognition and positive use of gender plurality among young people in order to further promote an inclusive view to all gender identities and to build gender partnerships in society and churches. To achieve our aim we developed a number of specific objectives: • To establish a common understanding of concepts defining gender. • To study the historical concepts of gender roles and to analyze social and cultural frameworks of gender construction perception. • To explore the theological concept of human being created as image of God in order to look beyond gender stereotypes. • To understand the connection between one’s gender identity and human rights. • To provide good examples of gender partnerships. • To provide tools and resources in order to promote positive use of gender plurality. • To empower young people to speak and address the issues of gender plurality in churches and society.
The study session brought together 25 participants from different corners of Europe. The participants were young people and students from EYCE and WSCF-E networks. They were youth leaders aged 18-30, who had the potential to bring a change to their own social contexts. They were willing to implement concrete projects on gender identity, thus contributing to achieving the aim of study session and to the follow-up of its outcomes. Through the objectives and the thematic focus of the study session, participants explored and touched many aspects of a person's life and discussed many different ways how gender is manifested within society. A variety of non-formal education methods was used to enhance the exploration of the theme and the learning processes of the participants: prayers (ecumenical and denominational), Bible study, Open space methodology to enable contributions from the participants, theoretical inputs by the guest speakers, small group work, simulation exercises and role plays, structured debate, practical workshops to develop skills of the participants, movie and video screening (“Tough Guise”, Jackson Katz; “Tropes vs Women”, Anitta Sarkeesian), as well as social programme of the study session and informal interaction between the participants. In order to achieve the aim of the study session the programme was thematically divided into two main blocks. Firstly, the participants received theoretical inputs from the experts, in particular about issues such as the differences between gender and sex, the historical background of gender, theology and gender, and theology and human rights. In addition, the participants discussed and analysed the themes of the study session from perspectives of different cultures and faith backgrounds. In particular, the approach to gender by faith communities and church institutions, as well as theology of gender was highlighted. During the study
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe session it became clear how important the role of young people can be in the struggle to make churches and church institutions more open towards gender plurality and gender partnerships. Secondly, the practical approach to the follow up and outcomes of the study session was ensured through workshops and practical activities. Workshops were held to empower the participants and to equip them with skills on conflict resolution, advocacy and using Bible study as a tool in their own context. In addition, practical sessions on project planning and fundraising were offered to the participants, in order to facilitate the implementation of follow-up projects. It can be said that the main goal of the study session has been reached, especially with regards to raising awareness among the participants on the importance of gender issues in society today and especially in churches and church institutions. However, it is clear that more discussions are needed about the gender issues in the church context, such as women’s ordination or marriages of homosexual couples. Yet, the participants were equipped with sufficient tools in order to make a first step regarding the theme of gender and its different aspects, in their own context. Participants coming from more conservative churches or church institutions experienced confrontation with the views their churches express regarding gender and gender roles. Many participants felt encouraged and empowered to start activities in their own context. Both EYCE and WSCF-E consider this event as a synthesis of the experiences of both organisations and further exploration of the theme jointly. The most important follow-up to the study session will be the importance of tackling gender issues among young people in EYCE's and WSCF-E's networks in order to empower them to be promoters of a society, where gender partnerships based on a positive view on gender plurality are a reality.
EYCE Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice Thematic focus 2012: links between ecology, economy and politics
In 2011 EYCE launched a 3-year Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice, which will last from 2011 - 2013. The Campaign is being built upon the strong participation of young people coming from various denominational backgrounds from all around Europe - sharing best practices, working on the grassroots level, as well as on an intensive cooperation with other ecumenical/church/environmental institutions and/ or organisations, who work on similar issues, e.g. European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN), International Young Nature Friends (IYNF) and others, thus creating a stronger network to address issues of ecological justice.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe In the first year of the campaign general awareness raising questions were addressed, the basic concepts of ecological justice explained and greener day-to-day habits promoted. The second year (2012) of the campaign focused on exploring ecological justice beyond the immediately visible, which brought up the following questions: how can habits, policies, products, which are hindering the ideas of ecological justice, be recognised? In which way can we as young people influence policy making processes? How can we address and influence ways of excessive consumption, excessive exploitation and cultivation of the earth and its natural resources, as well as excessive economic growth in general? What are the possibilities for all of us to become more aware of the causes and consequences of processes such as poverty, unsustainable manufacturing, bio-piracy, greenwashing and others? How can we promote solidarity and justness of fair labour, fair trade, migrants' rights and renewable energies? Being a community of young Christians, it was important for EYCE to link the campaign processes also to fellowship and solidarity among people and different social groups, as well as responsibility of various religious communities for increasing this solidarity. How can we promote more solidarity among peoples? What needs to be done to reach modesty in consumption? How can one's conveniences be diminished or overcome in order to allow people who live in other continents and are severely affected by the climate change, to lead a life that is appropriate to their dignities as our sisters and brothers? To address all the questions, the relation between ecology, economy and politics, including reviewing ecology issues as basis for numerous conflicts, was reviewed. The contributions of participants of various activities of the campaign was essential, as it provided an overview of the various situations across Europe and beyond, as well as personal encounters among young people, which served as a good tool for increasing solidarity and receiving inspiration to transform things.
Preparation of the campaign materials During the second year of the campaign the publicity materials were prepared in order to raise awareness of the campaign itself and the thematic focus of the year. The following campaign materials were produced: campaign leaflet, bookmarks and buttons. EYCE ensured that as far as possible all printed/produced materials for the campaign were taking into account sustainability and fair trade, e.g. by using recycled paper and other recycled materials and ensuring the usage of fair trade and/ or local products. During the second year of the campaign the leaflet was printed in a slightly different design, thus achieving a two folded effect - on one hand highlighting the thematic focus of the second year and the specific issues to be addressed, on the other hand preserving the imagery of the campaign and providing recognition and follow-up. The leaflet was one of the limited printed publications within the framework of the campaign. It was printed in 300 copies in the first half of the year 2012 and was distributed in all the campaign related activities, as well as all meetings, where EYCE was represented. The design of the leaflet was created by one of the volunteers from the Pool of Interested People - Mr. Nikos Kosmidis (Greece).
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe In order to promote the campaign and a sustainable way of living in a youth-friendly way buttons were created containing the ideas of the campaign and catchy slogans. Being one of the most popular visibility products among young people, campaign buttons served well, especially among the younger people in EYCE's network. There were 5 different designs of the buttons available: "Green and Hot", "be Green", "Eco-hero" and a "Green heart". The buttons were a good tool, both to promote the campaign and advocate for ecological lifestyle. These materials were available at EYCE's events for a donation. Special attention was given to promoting the buttons on the campaign Facebook page, thus linking each of the buttons to a specific issue of ecological justice. In addition, campaign bookmarks were created with the logo and slogan of the campaign and a green heart symbolising love and solidarity towards all the creation. The bookmarks were produced in 100 pieces and were available at EYCE's events for a donation. The Campaign was also promoted through various means of social media, especially the EYCE website and campaign Facebook page. The CCT took special attention to develop a systematic strategy for Facebook posting, which greatly increased attention to the campaign itself, as well as initiated a discussion about various themes related to the thematic focus of the campaign, addressed in those posts. Special attention was paid to the Rio+20 conference and developments before and after it. EYCE collaborated with its German member organisation aej, which organised the Green Hand Day to raise awareness on Rio+20 conference and engage young people in the discussions about it. EYCE provided materials for its member organisations to become active in awareness raising and education about Rio+20 and its follow up.
Meeting of the Campaign Coordination Team During the second year of the campaign the work of the campaign was organised mostly through internet (Skype, email). However, a meeting took place in the first quarter of the year in order to fine-tune the implementation of the plans for the year 2012 and draw the initial outline for the last year of the campaign (2013). The meeting was held from 2nd - 4th of March 2012 in Dijon, France, which was chosen due to accessibility for all the participants. In particular, the CCT planned the concrete themes of the campaign magazine and other materials, developed the idea and video for the Earth Day activities and made preparations for the dissemination visit. Another possibility for the CCT to meet was the dissemination visit, which took place from 12th - 16th of April 2012 in Lisbon, Portugal, where the CCT was preparing for the meetings and activities of the dissemination visit. However, there was also time dedicated to evaluate the first year of the campaign, prepare the further campaign activities and draw an initial plan of the MEMS process (Making EYCE More Sustainable), which will be implemented in 2013.
Dissemination/ study visit in Portugal The dissemination/ study visit took place from 12th - 16th of April 2012 in Lisbon, Portugal for the annual dissemination/ study visit of the campaign. The visit was a good opportunity to share the results and achievements of the campaign, as well as gain valuable knowledge of the organisations and projects in Portugal. One of the most important parts of the visit was the meeting with Quercus - National Association for Nature Conservation and its representative Vanda Marques. The CCT was introduced to the vast work of Quercus, starting from simple recycling projects to preserving biodiversity and offering alternative energy
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe sources. The section for Education for Sustainability was particularly interesting for the work of EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice, as it offers good opportunities for further cooperation and exchange of experiences. The CCT also met with the representatives of EYCE’s Portuguese member organisation, the Presbyterian Protestant Church of Portugal and the Methodist Youth in Lisbon in order to introduce the work of the campaign and to develop ideas for further collaboration and for projects on the local level. The meeting was very successful and brought great interest in the work of EYCE and the campaign. Together with the Methodist youth group the CCT developed an input for the Earth Day activities of the campaign, which were carried out on the 22nd of April.
Activities for the Earth Day 2012 One of the objectives of EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice is to raise awareness about the responsibility for creation and to achieve more sustainability on a daily basis, as well as to involve young people in EYCE's Member Organisations on the grassroots level in the activities of the campaign. To achieve this objective the CCT decided to organise the Earth Day Activity, which would mobilise young people across Europe to participate in the celebration of the Earth Day 2012. Earth Day is a day early each year, when events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment. Earth Day was fist celebrated in 1970 in San Francisco, the City of Saint Francis, patron saint of ecology. From 2009, the United Nations designated the 22nd of April to be International Mother Earth Day and nowadays Earth Day is celebrated in more than 175 countries. The CCT proposed to young people in EYCE's network to take part in a street action during the Earth Day. CCT created a short video promoting the initiative proposed and prepared the information about the action to be taken and materials to be distributed on the local level. In addition, it was proposed to organise a workshop or small activities with the youth groups on local level. The materials prepared by the CCT contained information about the Earth Day, campaign, as well as raised awareness of various aspects of consumerism - water, food, energy etc. The people receiving the materials were challenged to consume less in order to diminish their carbon footprint. The Earth day activities were successful and provided a certain activity among the EYCE member organisations. After the evaluation of the activity the CCT decided to make more effort in promoting this during the last year of the campaign, as it is directly linked to sustainability and plans to involve the member organisations to an even larger extent.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe Training Course "Taking Steps Towards Ecologically Responsible Society: Links between ecology, economy and politics" This training course was the thematic event of the second year of EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice. It aimed at enhancing the understanding of the complexity of ecological justice among young Europeans by exposing the links between social inequality and environmental degradation, ecological and socio-economic issues, and at increasing ecological responsibility in European civil society through active contribution of young people. Please see earlier sections of this report to read more about the training course! The project was very successful and brought many good outcomes for the further work in the framework of the campaign, especially regarding the MEMS (Making EYCE More Sustainable) process to be implemented during the last year of the campaign. Also, it was beneficial for EYCE in order to increase its visibility and role in the ecumenical movement, proving to be able to offer expertise in matters of ecological justice among European churches. The training course also helped to identify young people in the EYCE network, who would take an active role in the further involvement of young people and youth organisations in advocacy for ecological justice, as well as to establish good partnerships in Belarus.
Panel discussion “What hope after Rio+20? Contributions of various stakeholders to a sustainable future" The most visible event regarding climate change and international climate negotiations during the year 2012 has been the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or so called Rio+20 conference. During the course of its Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice, EYCE has been following the developments of the negotiations and raised awareness of the processes among young people in its network. Many actors, especially the representatives of the civil society, have considered the outcomes of the conference disappointing. Moreover, it has been criticised by many, for both its inefficiency and lack of concrete measures to be taken and tangible results. The gap between the need for urgent actions and lack of understanding of this urgency by stakeholders reaches slowly, but surely a point of no return. Seeing the vague outcomes of the conference and clear lack of willingness to act from the world leaders, can we still hope for a more sustainable and brighter future? In the framework of the campaign EYCE organised a panel discussion, which explored the possible contribution of the various stakeholders, e.g. youth organisations, media, scientists, businessmen to achieving meaningful and sustainable outcomes for the society in the situation, when the international negotiations fail. The panel discussion sought to look at the question: what are the concrete things that we as individuals and representatives of these particular groups can do to change the course of the international climate negotiations and diminish the effect of the climate change? The panel discussion took place on the 17h of October 2012 in Brussels, Belgium.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe The panel discussion brought together 3 guest speakers to contribute to its content: Rev. Peter Pavlovic, representing Church and Society Commission of Conference of European Churches (CEC), as well as the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN), Mr. Lloyd Russel-Moyle from European Youth Forum (YFJ) and Mr. Rob van der Meer, representing Heidelberg Cement on the side of industry. Mr. Russel-Moyle, representing European Youth Forum, pointed out that the outcomes of the Rio+20 conference cannot be regarded as entirely negative and explained the “hooks” where the outcomes of the conference can be turned into the positive results. He pointed out that the conference has managed to discuss moving beyond measuring wealth entirely by GDP and looked onto alternative ways to measure wealth. Mr. Russel-Moyle highlighted the importance of necessity to move beyond the current economic system and emphasize more the role of civil society, which might lead to change the patterns of people’s thinking. Rev. Peter Pavlovic, representing Church and Society Commission of CEC, mainly drew up the general difficulties in making new substantial international agreements dues to many-folded nature of international relations today. He pointed out the fact that the Rio+20 report has been agreed beforehand, which made the negotiations pointless and vague. Most importantly he highlighted the ethical and spiritual aspect of sustainable development, growth and negotiations between different actors involved in the negotiations. He underlined the need of cooperation between the governments and civil society, churches included to ensure fruitful sectoral approach and reach out to wider target group. Mr. van der Meer, representative of Heidelberg Cement revealed an attractive and practical approach to the sustainable development issues from the side of industries. He explained the measures of sustainability already being taken by a number of world’s industries, based on voluntarily, non-binding agreements. He elaborated on failures of multilateral and unilateral approaches, highlighting the need to look into the sectoral approach in order to secure more sustainable approach to industries. Similarly to the other speakers he draw upon the current economical model and the mindset of wealth and unlimited growth, which created great obstacles for sustainable development.
The campaign magazine The Leaf During 2012, the campaign magazine "The Leaf" was developed in the first edition (Issue 3) during the 1st half of the year 2012, and the second edition (Issue 4) in the second half of the year 2012. The on-line magazines are available for downloading on EYCE’s website and are promoted on both EYCE and campaign Facebook pages, as well as shared among EYCE member and partner organisations. The Issue 3 of the magazine focused on ecology and its social implications. It featured articles about growth and how it is affecting various groups of society, civil responsibility in relation to poverty on a global scale. It also reflected good practice examples from the local level and drew attention to the global perspectives of ecological justice through a focus on deforestation in Brazil. The Issue 4 of the magazine focused on relations between ecology and the rising risk of conflicts, the interdependence and interconnection between Economics, Politics and Ecology. In addition to the written content, there were comic strips, photographs and a film review, focusing on the relevant themes. Both of the issues provided presentations of the local projects, thus increasing the awareness on problems and initiatives in various countries across Europe.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe The campaign magazine is one of the most useful tools of the campaign, as it allows addressing a much wider spectrum of issues, than a specific event would allow. It also adds the European dimension to the content of the campaign and uses the potential and knowledge of young people in EYCE's network.
Cooperation with other organisations During the second year of the campaign the cooperation with other organisations working in the field of ecological justice was an important element of the campaign. The cooperation with the Church and Society Commission of Conference of European Churches, as well as with European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) was successfully continued and knowledge and expertise was exchanged among the organisations. Through the training course in Minsk a good relationship with the Church of Sweden was established, especially significant for MEMS. The Church of Sweden has a well established framework to increase sustainability within the churches, both regarding the maintenance of church buildings and the service/ activities carried out. Also, the cooperation developed with the "Environmental solutions", the local organisation in Minsk, has been very effective and provided good experiences and examples for the participants of the training course. The campaign provided a possibility to reach out and receive contributions from young people on various levels - international, European or local. The good practices shared through the training course, dissemination visit and other activities, provided a variety of creative and inspirational ideas, various viewpoints from the perspective of different cultures and inspirational ideas. EYCE also actively contributed to the work of other organisations, e.g. European Youth Forum, regarding the developments around the Rio+20- conference, by providing perspectives of young people from all over Europe, both from the professional background matching the issues discussed, but also providing expertise in other fields. A member of the CCT took part in the stakeholders consultation regarding sustainability "CLIMSAVE", which took place in Tallinn, Estonia, Prague, Czech Republic and Brugges, Belgium, where he represented EYCE and the campaign. Also, EYCE updated its website and campaign Facebook page with news from various other programmes and activities. In the need of guest speakers it was always sought to use the expertise available in other organisations or ecumenical bodies.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe
3. External Relations
Council of Members of Youth Forum Jeunesse 20th - 21st of April, Brussels, Belgium From 20th - 21st of April 2012 the Council of Members of the Youth Forum Jeunesse took place in Brussels, Belgium. This meeting was a good opportunity for EYCE to network with other youth organisations in Europe. EYCE representative Catharina Covolo (EYCE Chairperson) attended the meeting. The Council of Members itself was dedicated to discuss different thematic themes, such as youth employment and precarious work, EP elections, democracy, new media and globalisation. In addition, statutory changes of the Youth Forum Jeunesse were discussed, as well as the report from Advisory Council on Youth received. For EYCE the engagement in YFJ is important, as it allows good networking and cooperation possibilities with other youth organisations in Europe, thus strengthening the voice of young people.
EYCE – WSCF-Europe Joint Strategy Meeting 27th - 29th of April 2012, Brussels, Belgium The annual strategic meeting brought together the Treasurers and General Secretaries of two major international youth NGO’s, EYCE and WSCF-Europe. This meeting provided the space for exchanging experience and review the previous cooperation. These included common aims as well as joint funding proposals and a strategy to promote active democratic involvement of the Christian youth in Europe. Since EYCE and WSCF-E work in the same field, it was agreed to build an even closer network to better communicate the needs of young people. An important part of this meeting was discussing the ever more disappointing financial and fundraising situation of both organisations, as well as finding better approaches to the church donors and seeking new sources of funding for their work.
Press and Communications Meeting of European Youth Forum 15th of May, 2012, Brussels, Belgium The Press and Communications Meeting of the European Youth Forum (YFJ) brought together communications officers and/or Secretaries General of member organisations within YFJ. EYCE was represented at this meeting by the General Secretary Kristine Jansone. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss and develop communication strategies and concrete tools to be used in the communication of the organisations. Both, through networking, exchange of experience between the organisations, the participants created drafts of further developed communication strategies for their organisations. The various tools for implementation of a good communication strategy were discussed. For EYCE this meeting has been beneficial, as it helped developing ideas for improvement of the internal/ external communications of EYCE, as well as for the campaign. In addition, better contacts have been established with other member organisations of YFJ and YFJ itself.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe European Interfaith Youth Network (EIYN) Youth Summit 20th - 24th of June 2012, Lillehammer, Norway The meeting brought together 35 young leaders from Europe, Middle East and North Africa, representing EIYN member organizations, as well as social activists and journalists from Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco. EYCE was represented by Mr. Christian Arffmann, from the Danish member organisation. The meeting was conducted in 2 parts - a seminar and summit of EIYN. The seminar was mainly focusing on 3 subjects: dialogue for solving conflicts, Arab Spring and economical crisis. The seminar was followed by 1.5 days long annual summit of European Interfaith Youth Network. The summit was attended by 20 people representing EIYN members. Having in mind current thematic focus of EYCE on ecological justice, the EYCE representative joined the working group on Ecology in order to propose concrete actions and ways to cooperate between the different organisations. This representation and interreligious cooperation is crucial in the work of EYCE and it is continuing its engagement in this work.
High-Level Religious Leaders meeting 12th of July 2012, Brussels, Belgium On the 12th of July 2012, EYCE General Secretary Kristine Jansone represented the voice of the young Christians at the annual High-Level Religious Leaders meeting, which took place at the European Commission. Upon the invitation of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, the meeting brought together more than twenty senior representatives from Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions and from the Hindu and Bahá'í communities from all over Europe. The meeting was co-chaired by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and László Surján, Vice-President of the European Parliament representing President Martin Schulz. The meeting was held under the headline 'Intergenerational Solidarity: Setting the Parameters for Tomorrow's Society in Europe'. Drawing upon the demographic challenges in Europe and challenges caused by the economic and financial crisis, the leaders outlined the causes and solutions of the present crisis. The crisis in interpersonal relationships and lack of values was often pointed out as crucial elements lacking for a fully functional and solidarity-based society. In addition, many leaders called upon cherishing the value of the traditional family
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe and intergenerational solidarity was highlighted as a basis for the wider solidarity between various age groups in the society, where wisdom and advice is transmitted. In her input EYCE General Secretary Kristine Jansone, strongly emphasized the situation of young people in Europe and the need to involve young people to a larger extent in the processes where long term decisions about the present and future of young people are made. Especially highlighting the role of solidarity and education, Ms. Jansone stressed the work of the youth organisations in enhancing solidarity and participation, as well as pointed out the need for structural support for the International NGOs. The meeting clarified the strong need of the involvement of religious communities and related organisations in enhancing the solidarity in the society and showing example of interaction and cooperation between the different social and cultural groups in the society. Also, president Barroso encouraged religious leaders to engage in public dialogue and show the specific contributions that churches and religious communities can make to explain the need for solidarity.
CoE Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue Taking responsibilities for tomorrow’s Europe: the role of young people in the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue September 3rd-5th, Dürres, Albania EYCE Chairperson Catharina Covolo represented EYCE in the CoE exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue, which took place under the Albanian chairmanship. Young people discussed together with representatives from member states, as well as journalists and experts the role of young people in the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue. Catharina Covolo gave among others an input on the panel for discussion of the plenary. Next to discussing these issues, the group was taken to different religious site in Albania to experience the coexistence of different religions in Albania.
Working Group on Climate Change of World Council of Churches 1st – 3rd of October 2012, Kolymbari, Crete EYCE Executive Committee Member Benjamin Mlynek took part in a meeting of the Working Group on Climate Change of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which was held to plan and synergise next steps in climate change advocacy. The meeting was hosted by the Institute of Theology and Ecology of the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolymbari, Greece and took place from 1st to 3rd October 2012. Fifteen representatives from various churches and Christian NGOs from Africa, Asia, South and North America, Europe and Pacific evaluated work on climate change done so far, as well as outcomes from two recent major conferences: UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Members of the working group stressed the need to overcome frustration towards the poor outcomes of the conferences and to enhance cooperation among ecumenical partners in support of responsible and effective international climate and sustainability negotiations. Moreover, the working group planned future steps in global advocacy. The need of advocating for the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on Climate Change and Human Rights by the UN Human Rights Council was reaffirmed. The working group also developed an action plan in order to get ready for the WCC
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe General Assembly in Busan, South Korea which will take place in October/November 2013. Participation in the meeting helped EYCE to link its activities regarding ecological justice to global initiatives beyond Europe. In addition, it was a perfect opportunity for networking and giving the EYCE campaign more visibility.
3rd Assembly of Church Action on Labour and Life (CALL) 8th - 10th of October 2012, Brussels, Belgium From 8th - 10th of October 2012 the 3rd Assembly of Church Action on Labour and Life (CALL) took place in Brussels, Belgium. EYCE General Secretary Kristine Jansone represented EYCE in this meeting. The main focus of the meeting was the precarious work and EU2020 in this context, including the issues of youth unemployment. Among representatives of different churches and church related organisations, also 3 youth organisations EYCE, YMCA and Syndesmos, were represented, which gave a different aspect to the discussions on youth unemployment. Together with the representatives with other youth organisations, Ms. Jansone took part in the working group on youth employment. In the framework of the activities of this working group, it was decided to organise a conference in Germany during the second half of the year 2013 in order to bring together churches and young people to discuss challenges of youth employment and seek solutions. Eventually Ms. Jansone was elected to be the facilitator of the working group.
Launch of the Water Campaign of Religions for Peace 19th of November, Brussels, Belgium In August 2012 there was a meeting held with the President of Religions for Peace Europe – Ms. Yolande Iliano in the EYCE office to discuss the possible cooperation between the two organisations in the field of ecological justice, including access to clean water. Following this meeting, upon the invitation of Ms. Iliano, EYCE General Secretary Ms. Kristine Jansone took part in the launch of the Water Campaign of RfP – campaign for availability of clean water for all human beings -, as well as moderated a panel discussion in the framework of this launch. The campaign will focus on a variety of issues related to water: availability of clean water, safety, poverty, peace, clean environment, development, gender issues. Solving problems related to water will help solving many other problems. The biggest project planned so far, in the framework of the campaign is a 2013 cruise on the Danube for young Europeans aged 13-18, under the title “Our Sacred Water. “Youth Ambassadors for the European Dream”. EYCE will support and participate in this project within the framework of the Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice.
Council of Members of Youth Forum Jeunesse 21st - 25th of November, 2012, Maribor, Slovenia 23
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe From 21st to 25th of November the autumn session of the Council of Members of the Youth Forum Jeunesse took place in Maribor, Slovenia. This meeting was a good opportunity for EYCE to network with other youth organisations in Europe. EYCE General Secretary Kristine Jansone together with EYCE Executive Committee member Benjamin Mlynek represented EYCE at this meeting. Among other discussions and networking meetings, a meeting between faith based member organisations (JECI-MIEC, MIJARC, EUJS, YMCA, YWCA etc.) of YFJ took place to strengthen the cooperation of these organisations and bringing joint input to the work of YFJ. Special attention was given to the response to current crisis affecting young people and looking beyond the obvious causes, through the value-based approach. The Council of Members itself was dedicated to discuss different thematic themes, such as climate change, Youth in Action Programme, democracy, new media and globalisation. In addition, statutory changes of the Youth Forum Jeunesse were discussed and a new board of YFJ elected. For EYCE the engagement in YFJ is important as it allows good networking and cooperation possibilities with other youth organisations in Europe, thus strengthening the voice of young people.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe
4. EYCE structural development Executive Committee Meeting 23rd - 26th of February 2012, Brussels, Belgium The Executive Committee of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe met for their first meeting after election at EYCE's 38th General Meeting October 2011. The ExCo meeting was held from 23rd - 26th of February 2012 in EYCE's Office in Brussels, Belgium. In order to establish mutual understanding and develop a common working style, in its first meeting EYCE's ExCo undertook a team building training. The first meeting of the new ExCo also provided the space to set up working priorities, to develop the future split of responsibilities within the ExCo and to carefully steer EYCE into the next year. Chairperson Ms. Catharina Covolo (Lutheran, Germany) will take the responsibility of the overall programme of EYCE, youth politics and external relations with the Conference of European Churches. Vice-Chairperson Ms. Adriana Florea (Lutheran, Romania) will be responsible in the fields of interreligious dialogue, Ecumenical leadership training, as well as future development of EYCE. Treasurer Ms. Sini Tyvi (Lutheran, Finland) will take over the responsibility for Finances, Relations to Church donors and External relations with the World Council of Churches (WCC). Ms. Zofia Kozlowska-Socha (Baptist, Poland) will be responsible for EYCE communication and Public Relations, as well as parts of the interreligious dialogue. Mr. Andrea Aprile (Baptist, Italy) will work mainly in the field of relations to Member Organisations and National Correspondents, as well as with volunteers and office supervision. Mr. Benjamin Mlýnek (Hussite, Czech Republic) will mainly take over the responsibility of coordinating EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice. Mr. Slavi Spasov (Orthodox, Bulgaria) will work in the field of spirituality within EYCE, as well as support Zofia in Public Relations. All the ExCo members will share the responsibility of additional fundraising for EYCE and strongly support each other in their tasks, as well as share responsibilities. The ExCo dedicated much time of its meeting to follow-up the decisions and recommendations of the 38th General Meeting. The first steps have been taken in order to pursue the mandate of the GM and to establish the Financial Advisory Committee. The active involvement of EYCE's Member Organisations in the work of the Council and the improvement of the communication between actors within the Council was discussed, as well as the external relations with EYCE's partners in various fields of work. The meeting also provided time for meetings held alongside the working sessions. The ExCo met with representatives of EYCE's long standing inter-religious partner Forum of Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), Ola Himmat and Najatte Kaaoiss, with whom a Memorandum of Understanding was signed, as well as plans to mark and celebrate the anniversary of 10 years of cooperation were discussed. A very fruitful meeting was held with the representative of Church and Society Commission (CSC) of CEC Rev. Frank-Dieter Fischbach, which resulted in concrete ideas and proposals for cooperation of EYCE and CSC in 2013.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe Volunteer Training May 2012, Brussels, Belgium Starting at 1st of May 2012, Ms. Alicia Hamet joined the EYCE Office as the new volunteer, in cooperation with YMCA France. In the beginning of the volunteering, a training was provided for the new volunteer by EYCE General Secretary Ms. Kristine Jansone, as well as a special meeting was arranged with the project coordinator in France, Mr. Cedric Graser. During the meeting with the coordinator, on the 15th of May 2012, issues such as reviewing the aims of the volunteer, her expectations and fears, introduction to the structures of EYCE and the role of the volunteer in them, the positive and negative experiences within her work so far, as well as the possibilities for the improvements were discussed. Also, the further communication arrangements were made together with the coordinator. During the training with the EYCE General Secretary at the beginning of her voluntary stay, the volunteer was introduced to the main working areas of EYCE, especially highlighting the special working focus of the volunteer – ecological justice. Ms. Hamet was assigned a mentor from the side of EYCE to support her in the mission - a former EYCE volunteer Ms. Vera Kockler, whose main responsibility had also been the coordination of EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice. In addition, during her voluntary stay Ms. Hamet underwent several special trainings, e.g. first aid training by Red Cross France, as well as special training for volunteers coordinated by YMCA France.
Executive Committee Meeting 31st of May - 4th of June 2012, Svätý Jur, Slovakia The Executive Committee of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe met for their scheduled meeting from 31st of May to 4th of June 2012 in Svätý Jur, Slovakia. The ExCo also took the opportunity to travel to Vienna in order to meet with the representatives of EYCE's Austrian Member Organisation Ökumenischer Jugendrat in Österreich and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE). In addition, the ExCo met the former EYCE ExCo member Dr. Július Filo. Of great interest was also a meeting with Marek Hrivňàk, who represents youth ministries in Bratislava, which encompass a vast network of young people.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe The ExCo reviewed and evaluated the work that has been done since their last meeting in February 2012 in Brussels. Much time during the meeting was dedicated to the preparation of the events of this year, especially the work done on EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice. Also, the cooperation with various partners of EYCE, such as Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), Conference of European Churches (CEC) and World Council of Churches (WCC) was discussed. Special attention was given to stabilizing EYCE's financial situation and the newly established Financial Advisory Committee. The ExCo took time to further plan the upcoming Meeting of National Correspondents, which is foreseen to take place in Poland in October 2012. The ExCo also continued outlining the themes and events for 2013, planning the events in the second half of the year more concretely. Alongside other activities in 2013, EYCE's 39th General Meeting was planned and will take place in October 2013. The meeting also provided time for meetings held alongside the working sessions. In Vienna the members of EYCE ExCo met with Ms. Katherine Jolly, the National Correspondent of the EYCE's Austrian Member Organisation Ökumenischer Jugendrat in Österreich, as well as young people being part of the organisation. The work and cooperation of both organisations were discussed, as well as possibilities of Austrian young people to participate in EYCE's activities. The ExCo was also taken for a short tour in Vienna before leaving for Bratislava. In addition to that meeting, the ExCo met with the General Secretary of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE), Bishop Michael Bünker, in order to discuss a possible cooperation between CPCE and EYCE, as well as discuss the role of young people in CPCE. In the town of Svätý Jur the ExCo had a unique opportunity to reconnect with one of EYCE’s alumni, as it met the former EYCE ExCo member and Vice-Chairperson Dr. Július Filo. Dr. Filo is also an emeritus Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Slovakia and a professor in the Faculty of Theology. The ExCo was delighted to hear about EYCE's life in the early 1980-ties and discussed challenges shared with Dr. Filo. The ExCo received a kind invitation for an informal meeting with Dr. Filo and Mrs. Filova, which offered a great opportunity to further discuss and exchange experiences. On its day in Bratislava the ExCo had an opportunity to meet with Marek Hrivňàk, who represents youth ministries in Bratislava, which encompass a vast network of young people. The work of both organisations was presented and possibilities for cooperation discussed. The meeting offered a good perspective of increasing the number of Slovakian young people at EYCE's activities.
Meeting with a Member Organisation 9th of July 2012, Brussels, Belgium On their annual visit to Brussels, among other organisations and EU institutions the group of delegates from EYCE’s German member organisation aej met with EYCE's General Secretary. During this meeting EYCE's involvement in youth politics was discussed, as well as the mechanisms, how to emphasize the impact of EYCE and its member organisations to the legislative and decision making processes with regards to the matters related to young people. The future of Youth in Action Programme was high on the agenda.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe EYCE National Correspondents Meeting 26th - 29th of October, Warsaw, Poland The biannual meeting of the EYCE National Correspondents took place from 26th – 29th of October 2012 in Warsaw, Poland, and brought together the National Correspondents, the Executive Committee and the Office staff of EYCE. The meeting also offered a possibility to meet with representatives of the Youth Committee of Polish Ecumenical Council and to welcome a representative from the European Baptist Federation Youth and Children Workers. During the National Correspondents meeting issues concerning the current work, as well as the future of EYCE were discussed, in particular focusing on EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice and the sustainability of the organisation and its member organisations. The criteria and methods of evaluating the sustainability of EYCE and its member organisations, as well as developing the tools for more sustainability were discussed and developed. In addition, the National Correspondents together with the EYCE ExCo developed creative ideas on sustaining the organisation financially. During the meeting the National Correspondents were updated about the work and achievements of the ExCo since the General Meeting last October, as well as got the opportunity to share the work of their organisations with one another. In addition, the National Correspondents had the possibility to welcome Mr. Jeff Carter from the European Baptist Federation Youth and Children Workers who presented the work of EBF and discussed the possibilities for further cooperation with the representatives of EYCE. In an informal meeting the EYCE National Correspondents also had the opportunity to meet and discuss with Julia Maria Koszewska from Religions for Peace, European Interfaith Youth Network. After the meeting of National Correspondents, the EYCE Executive Committee met for their regular meeting. During the meeting the ExCo evaluated the activities of the council in 2012, discussed the current work of EYCE and continued planning for the year 2013. The agenda of the meeting included also discussions on the future cooperation with the Conference of European Churches (CEC), Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO) and European Youth Forum (YFJ). The ExCo also took the opportunity to meet with the representatives of EYCE's Polish Member Organisation - Youth Committee of Polish Ecumenical Council. Both organisations and their current work were presented, as well as the possibilities for a stronger cooperation and more involvement in EYCE in future was discussed.
Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe Meeting with a Member Organisation 22nd - 25th of November 2012, Plön, Germany Participating in the annual meetings of EYCE member organisations is an important part of staying informed of what is happening and how could EYCE and the member organisation benefit from each other the best. EYCE Treasurer Ms. Sini Tyvi visited the EYCE member organisation aej in Germany at their annual meeting. She met with aej board members and participated in a working committee on ecumenical and international youth work. Many fruitful discussions and new ideas were shared during this meeting. Ms. Tyvi also shared the visions and plans of EYCE for the coming year.
Volunteer Programme May - December 2012, Brussels, Belgium EYCE’s Volunteer Programme aims at providing training for young people as youth leaders/workers involved in European/ national organisations. It also provides an opportunity for young people to work in an international organisation and get involved in intercultural learning. In 2012 EYCE was privileged to host one long-term volunteer Ms. Alicia Hamet. The main focus of the work of Ms. Hamet in 2012 has been on EYCE's Campaign to Promote Ecological Justice, where she has been coordinating the team of the campaign, researching the resources and developing the publicity materials relevant to the campaign, as well as organising meetings and events in the framework of this campaign. Ms. Hamet also worked on the preparation, implementation and follow-up of the EYCE training course "Acting Together to Overcome Poverty". Apart of working directly with this EYCE event and the campaign, Ms. Hamet represented EYCE in various events and trainings regarding her theme. During her work with EYCE Ms. Hamet added the practical experience of planning, implementing and evaluation work with young people, thus giving a practical aspect to her placement. The placement of Ms. Hamet was arranged in cooperation with the YMCA in France. EYCE is grateful to all the volunteers in its network - ExCo, members of various committees, office volunteers and many more - for their commitment, enthusiasm and creativity, thus greatly enriching the work of EYCE!
The work of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe has been supported by the European Commission and the Council of Europe. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and neither the European Commission, nor Council of Europe cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.