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Training for the Summer of Cooperation

Good youth work needs well-trained professionals. That’s why youth leaders of 45 youth organisations from 14 European countries met in Hattingen/Ruhr from 26 May to 1 June. Despite war and crisis, they are preparing for a great summer of European cooperation. Within the network of Generation Europe – The Academy, they are planning a total of 15 international youth encounters this year, and also local actions in all participating cities.

Trying out and enhancing methods for international youth work, learning how to master challenging situations, experiencing community-building first-hand: These were intensive and moving days for the youth leaders. With the five-day training, this year’s preparation and support programme of Generation Europe – The Academy reached its climax. Prior to this, there was a Project Planning Conference in January and the Ambassador Conference, a meeting of young activists from the 45 participating European youth organisations. Now, after the training, all participants are well prepared for the season of international youth encounters. In the coming four months, each three youth groups from three participating countries will meet to be active together and to support each other in local activities. This is how this year’s 15 youth encounters are organised.

The special situation in which Europe finds itself since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine of course has an impact on European youth work. During the training, the documentary film project Generation Ukraine, which was produced within the framework of the network, provided stirring moments and intensive discussions. Katia Henrikh presented the project in Hattingen. With her Ukrainian youth organisation Duga, she continues to be active in the network of Generation Europe – The Academy, both with a group of young refugees in Munich and with young people in Ukraine. Together with the Kyiv-based production company Minimal Movie, she shot a film about the hopes, dreams and fears of young people in Ukraine during the war. At the training in Hattingen, the youth leaders tried out methods that the 45 European youth organisations can use to talk about the war with young people all over Europe.

This large-scale project of European youth cooperation, which is unique in this form, is coordinated by the Dortmund-based International Association for Education and Exchange (IBB e.V.). Building on experiences from previous programmes, IBB developed the concept to strengthen institutions of international youth work and to give more young people the opportunity to get involved in society and to network across borders – regardless of origin, parental income and previous success in the formal education system. Together with the 45 network partners, the work in the programme, which is currently funded until 2025, is constantly being developed.

More Reports on the Youth Leader Training:

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Colourful and fun, intensive and serious – international youth work is important, especially in times of war and crisis. Good opportunities for training and reliable structures for cooperation are indispensable for this. More impressions of the youth leader training in Hattingen: