March 15, 2018

6th Global Meeting of the Youth Solidarity Network

Diseño sin título (8)

In mid-February, the 6th Global Meeting of Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría’s Youth Solidarity Network took place. 280 participants came from 9 countries where Fe y Alegría is located, as well as from the Autonomous Communities in Spain where the Network is present joined together; the 6th Global Meeting was a huge success in terms of participation, content and collective construction.

The theme of the meeting brought youth, teachers and companions to a world in the year 2030, where all the Sustainable Development Goals have already been fulfilled and where a peaceful, sustainable and egalitarian environment served as a guide throughout all of the workshops and activities.

The closing ceremony had exciting testimonial moments from the participants.  Marta, a teacher from the Youth Solidarity Network in Seville claimed:I take from this gathering the energy to engage other colleagues, other teachers in our educational spaces with the idea that these kinds of spaces provide great potential for social transformation, not only in our daily lives, but also related to global realities.”

“We are really different but I think that the things that unite us are much bigger than our differences and those things are the concerns and dreams we have. I think this experience has given us the opportunity of looking into the eyes of people like me, who are outraged but feel responsible for promoting change. We are not alone and there are many of us who want to change things”, said Irene, a member of Entreculturas’ Youth Solidarity Network in Alicante.

Álex from Venezuela, concluded “in my opinion this gathering has provided me with a ‘before and after’ in my life, because despite the distance between countries, cultures and beliefs…, we are closer in what we believe and a problem that we think is unique in our countries, in our environments, becomes general when we are united through a network. That network encourages us to grow, to learn from other cultures, to become stronger every day and to be able to achieve everything we set out to do”.

Ramón Almansa, Director of Entreculturas¸ closed the Meeting with an invitation to the youth: “Stay outraged. What is happening can’t happen, it is truly outrageous. Create channels out of your indignation in order to change things…You can help yourselves through contacts in networks, with your participation, including initiatives in your educational centers, with demonstrations, charity runs, with La Silla Roja… Indignation must be channeled, but you shouldn’t lose it, because being outraged is your major strength.  Make yourselves visible, make your voices heard: you have many things to say.”

The gathering closed with a special tribute to the group of 40 young volunteers over 18 years old who once formed part of the Youth Solidarity Network and who facilitated workshops and spaces, organized and collaborated throughout the course of the meeting with an enormous sense of responsibility and commitment.

International Meeting of “Red Generación 21”

The meeting also served to announce the International Youth Gathering of Red Generación 21, where almost 80 youth and companions participated from Fe y Alegría countries: Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, Italia, Dominican Republic and Colombia. The first day focused on how Red Generación 21 can collaborate in the building cultures of peace and what this has to do with the construction of global citizenship from and for young.

Jessica García, spokesperson of Red Generación 21, head of Non-formal Education at Entreculturas¸ explained: “This year the Gathering is really special, as it is a milestone in a long journey: the Youth Network “Generación 21” in which 21 countries with the presence of Fe y Alegría are participating. We are a global movement. A movement of youth that act together to transform our world. This has been the dream of Entreculturas since our Youth Network was created in 2001, it was small at the beginning, but has grown till today. It has also grown at the international level through “EntreEscuelas” [Connected Classrooms] and much can be enriched in this new stage”.

Juan Pablo Rayo, coordinator of Red Generación 21, added: “Red Generación 21 is a proposal for the articulation of young men and women from 21 countries, which are motivated by the need to transform situations that generate violence in their different manifestations. At the same time, it is a conscious answer to increase the possibilities of real change from our indignation about unacceptable aspects and our commitment to transformation”.

The Gathering was attended by the heads of the Ibero-american Youth Organization, and through their interventions, young people learned about the work of this organization as well as the opportunity to participate in proposals developed by the IYO along with young Ibero-Americans to be presented before November 2018, when the Summit of Presidents and Young Ministers of all Ibero-American countries is going to be celebrated. The IYO invited Red Generación 21 to participate in this journey to have an impact on government authorities that are responsible for developing youth policies in Ibero-American countries.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Meeting and who offered all their enthusiasm, desire and commitment into building global citizenship that drives a more egalitarian, sustainable, and peaceful world.