Creating the un-CONVENTIONal experience!
The YEU International Youth Convention is undoubtedly the biggest and most talked-about YEU event of each year. Organizing an event of such quality is certainly a great challenge and somewhat an unsolved mystery for the rest of us outside the Convention Core Team circle. So, we tracked down Ivana Davidovska, member of the YEU International GB and Trainer at this year’s Convention "YEU ZERO: Volunteering for sustainable development - Reducing the environmental impact of youth exchanges" that took place in Serbia between the 17th and the 28th of August, in an attempt to get all the fascinating details and understand more about how you go on to create this un-Conventional legend!
- So, Ivana, how is working on the YEU International Youth Convention different from organizing other youth exchanges and trainings?
The Convention is an annual event of YEU that has its own specific methodology and approach and as such is used to gather new members and encourage them to get involved in the organization. Furthermore, it’s different since its part of the YEU tradition and history, and it aims for a larger attendance as it’s trying to gather participants from all the Member organizations. Within the convention you can really feel the YEU spirit.
- How long prior to the event do you need to start organizing details and making arrangements for the event? How much time is needed to get everything arranged?
Preparations usually start one year in advance, with the selection of the hosting organization and the application for funds. The biggest preparations occur within the last 3-4 months, which are also the most intense once all the Core Team is composed.
- Why was the topic of sustainable development chosen for this Convention?
Sustainable development is an issue of big importance, and young people should be aware of it not only on how it is incorporated in their daily lives but also for the environmental impact we have by organizing youth activities. The environment is an element involved in all the things we do, and it was about time that we placed our focus upon it and we were educated further about sustainable development too.
- Can you tell us a bit more about the venues visited during the Convention? Why were the specific destinations selected?
Leskovac was selected because the RCLe is situated there and it is working on environmental issues, which allowed us to ensure maximum impact on local level, as well as maximize the possibilities for co-funding; Bor was selected, because of its beautiful natural environment, and in the last period a lot of work has been done to improve the environmental issues there;
Belgrade was selected for presentation of the Convention outcomes, as the relevant stakeholders are present there and the presentation of the final outcomes would improve our visibility.
- What fascinating and new experiences did participants enjoy this year? Were there any “un-Conventional” surprises?
Each convention has its own specificities, and “surprises” depending on the team and the possibilities that the venues are providing. The new experiences are connected with the inter-personal relationship that participants have established, and the exchange of ideas and experiences that has occurred. Programme-wise, we tried to equip the group with different practical tolls in sustainable living, which participants will be transfer back to their local communities and organizations.
- What was the biggest challenge that you faced?
The biggest challenge was the fundraising for the event as we did not receive the usual YiA funding. But with the hard work of the Administrative office, the RCLe and the strong support of Board, and by using all the possible local funds and possibilities, we managed to make this Convention happen.
- Why is the IYC the event that young people shouldn’t miss out on?!
Because is one of the biggest events with different cultures coming together, and it is a space to meet young people and meet friendships for life, to create your network all over the world!
Questions by Michal Klopocki (Newsmail Journalist and Researcher) and Eleni Ioannou (Editor in Chief)