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Youth Day: Getting ready for the symposium!

“Youth work in Europe – Mission (Im)possible?” – On 13 November 2023, European youth organisations met with representatives from politics, administration and academia in Dortmund, Germany. Their common goal: to develop solutions to the huge problems international youth work is currently facing. Young people from nine European countries have already travelled to Dortmund one day earlier to prepare for the international symposium during “Youth Day”.

The youngsters wanted to present the various projects they are involved in, at home and with their international project partnerships. They also wanted to discuss with those who set the framework for youth work how these opportunities for participation can be supported and safeguarded, even in times of multiple crises. So to speak, they are lobbying on their own behalf. For that, they have travelled to Dortmund from Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, and eleven German cities. Among the participants also is a Ukrainian youth group that is currently active from exile in Munich.

But how can a balanced discussion on equal terms be facilitated between young people and representatives from politics, academics and administration, some of whom have decades of experience with such events? For this, the International Association for Education and Exchange (IBB e.V.) developed the concept of the “Youth Day” and implemented it together with an international team of youth work professionals from the network of Generation Europe – The Academy. On this training and preparation day, the young activists not only prepared their presentations and worked on the main topics of the symposium. In order to familiarise themselves with the stage situation, exercises that allow them to try out speaking and arguing in front of a larger audience also played an important role.

It is quite unusual and remarkable that so many young people take part in an international symposium. After all, political and academic consultations, even on topics such as youth work and youth policy, often take place without those who are most confronted with the consequences. In contrast, the symposium “Youth Work in Europe – Mission (im)possible?” aims to enable an exchange between politicians, youth work professionals, academics, administrators and those young people affected.

A huge thank you to all those involved for their outstanding commitment! More impressions of the “Youth Day” on 12 November 2023 at the Dortmunder U – Centre for Art and Creativity: