Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU) was founded in Strasbourg in 1986 by a group of 120 young people from 11 different countries. In 1989 we were recognized as a member association of the European Coordination Bureau (E.C.B.). Today we are a member of the European Youth Forum which is the independent platform for INGYOs and NYCs in Europe. We have young people from over 30 countries from across Europe and Africa involved in our activities. As an international network, we are the representative body of our members in contacts with the institutions and partners in the youth field.
YEU is run by young people for young people by means of a democratic structure and our members are mainly working on a voluntary base. The limit age to participate in our activities is 30 years but the majority of participants are under the age of 25. It is young people who decide about activities of the organisation, define the strategies and implement the action plans, run the organization and ultimately evaluate it. It is important to note that most young people in YEU are actively involved in other aspects of civil society, frequently establishing links between the Member Organizations and the local, regional and national institutions, other youth organisations and the community in general, extending the participation in the international organisation to the local dimension.
Youth for Exchange and Understanding works to promote peace, understanding and co-operation between the young people of the world, in a spirit of respect for human rights.
- To realise youth activities that foster closer co-operation and better understanding among the young people of the world, both between and within continents, particularly by encouraging the exchange of information, ideas and opinions;
- To promote co-operation and mutual aid in the developed and the developing countries for cultural, educational and social purposes;
- To work towards resolving conflicts and promotion of peaceful societies through recognition and respect for others.
- To improve the relationships and promote tolerance among young people of different cultural or political realities;
- To work together on issues related to protection of the environment and sustainability.
- To support and promote the health and well-being of young people in order to improve quality of life.
- To encourage the active involvement of all young people in society without distinction because of race, social status, educational levels or any other disadvantage.
YEU uses non-formal education methods to increase tolerance and awareness between young people from different countries, cultures and traditions. Using a Global Education dimension and Intercultural Learning activities we promote a greater level of comprehension and active citizenship through the development of quality youth exchanges, seminars, conventions, meetings, study visits, training courses, and the production of Non Formal education resources.
- The General Assembly is held annually and is composed of delegates from all YEU member organizations. It is the body responsible for the election of the YEU Governing Board. This is the team of people responsible for the strategic management of the network and its activities.
- The Governing Board (GB) is responsible for the general planning, management and strategy of YEU, it has 5 members and meets at least twice a year.
- YEU has full members & observer members which can be registered organizations or an informal group of young people they must be autonomous in their country. Their main role within the network is the co-ordination of international activities in their local context in partnership with other member organizations, and the exchange of information on issues of concerning young people.
- YEU has two offices:YEU International Administrative Office is located in Brussels, Belgium and registered as Belgian entity. There is also an office in Faro, Portugal which is registered as a Portuguese youth organisation under the name of YOUTH EXCHANGE UMBRELLA– Associação Juvenil. All the administrative work of YEU International is taken care of in Administrative Office by a team of staff and volunteers currently made up of the Secretary General, Project Coordinator, Policy Officer, project managers for specific projects, and international and local volunteers.
- YEU is a full member of two platforms: Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP) and European Youth Forum (YFJ).