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YEU celebrated 30 years


"YEU history began in 1980 when a group of people decided to organize an international camp and get to know young people from other side of the border. In the time of Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall, everybody was dreaming about meeting people from the “other side”- to speak about simple things that make our daily lives as they are. And they did meet. And they did speak. And they realized we are all the same. Not even planning to do so, they have built something unique – Youth for Exchange and Understanding. And it changed lives of many generations. Forever." Tamara Gojkovic, YEU Secretary General.

This Newsmail is very special for YEU and YEU people, as it includes a very special occasion for us. This year marks 30 years since YEU started, but also the 35th year that YEU had its’ Convention which is a concept that started in 1981 and kept running once a year till today. Having in mind how Conventions were important part of YEU History, celebrating YEU birthday on 35th Convention made perfect sense. On the 23rd of July, in Brussels and De Waterman hostel we revived YEU History through the timeline of Conventions, which gave us a chance to remember how YEU became part of our lives, how it has grown and became an international organization with members across Europe, Asia and Africa, while, in the beginning, it was just a group of young people travelling around Europe. Best part of it is that we celebrated it with participants of the 35th Convention, people who just became part of YEU and who immediately felt they are part of something bigger. 

But before that, there was a lot to be done. Before sharing anything, the YEU Office had to go on this long trip to mark down the path of our Organization. First, it all started in Faro, where Tamara (Secretary General) and Panagiotis (Administrative Assistant) visited the office in Faro and collected material for the Birthday. Photos, documents, material were all brought to Brussels. Bags full of emotions, data that people of YEU were not even aware that they existed. Just to mention some, we found books with songs, stickers of previous conventions, agreements with third countries like India and so on.  The next step was online, with Alumni and people who were and are YEU till today. Tamara and Panagiotis, had a small online talk with previous members of YEU and managed to collect pictures and even more data related to YEU and Conventions. Additionally, they got to enlighten the Office about documents that were not so clear for the “newbies”. The team of the Office, managed to bring all this material together and with the help of Panagiotis and Erika to separate it in years and folders. Then Giulia (Project Coordinator) took all this with Erika and made a video and a timeline with stop motion-after drawing all parts and pieces.

Passing from the part of collection, discussions, emotions and memories, the office wanted to do something special for this Birthday and get to share more with the world about what is YEU and the YEU people who made it what is it is today. After a meeting, the ideas were a lot and the tasks were already about to be fulfilled. But what made it special? This birthday manage to bring people back together, online and offline, it brought back memories and reminded people of things they did, how their YEU friendships or even relationships started and equally important, reminded them that they managed to change the world to a better place. At least the worlds around us. It reminded us, that from travelling to Europe to find people to learn with, we are an Organization that has all these members and that it is located in various countries and continents.

This small path of ours demonstrates YEU and what we are. As we say “YEU is You” and we do feel that. We are YEU, older or younger, newbies or not, we are all part of this family. We learn from each other, we keep YEU alive and vice-versa by giving us opportunities, new chances, knowledge and space to grow. YEU is part of us and YEU is what it is due to its people. An organization without people means nothing. Good times or difficult, times to advocate or celebrate, times to learn or educate, are all YEU times for us. That’s why it is important. Cause it is the time that the “older” get to remember and the new ones get to learn.

Therefore Happy Birthday YEU, happy celebrations YEU family. YEU is YOU, so stay tuned and let’s all prepare for the big celebration for our 30th Birthday during November, at the General Assembly 2016 in Belgium.

Meanwhile, if you want to see how this year's convention and Birthday Celebration was, take a look at our Facebook page, while also you can see our video with the Conventions' timeline that the Administrative Office made specifically for this celebrations in our Youtube Channel.

Panagiotis Chatzimichail

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YEU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727066