Christian Herrmann

3rd German-Greek Youth Forum ends on a high note

After four days of intense networking the third German-Greek Youth Forum in Cologne ended on 25 October 2018, producing a large number of project ideas, amongst other outcomes. In 2019, too, the project partners will likely benefit from the special programme of the Federal Youth Ministry to promote German-Greek expert and youth exchanges.

A mqan and a woman are standing on a stage.
Konstantinos Spatiotis and Nadia Zaboura, the facilitators of the Youth Forum BildImage: Christian Herrmann   Lizenz: INT 4.0 – Namensnennung CC BY 4.0

The Youth Forum opened on Monday, 22 October 2018 in Cologne’s historic Town Hall, attended by Cologne’s Lord Mayor Henriette Reker, the Mayor of Thessaloniki Giannis Boutaris, the Greek Secretary-General for Youth and Lifelong Learning Pafsanias Papageorgiou, and Bettina Bundzus, Head of the Directorate-General for Children and Youth at the Federal Youth Ministry. Tuesday morning was when the actual work of the Youth Forum started. The co-organisers – the Federal Youth Ministry, the Greek Secretariat-General for Youth and Lifelong Learning, the two National Agencies for Erasmus+, and IJAB – had chosen two open formats for the Forum, namely the fishbowl and the barcamp, to encourage all participants to put their issues on the agenda, start up a dialogue, learn from each other’s projects, develop their own project ideas, and find partners to work with.

Although many participants were unfamiliar with these two formats, their benefits became clear very soon. A schedule with 24 sessions was put together in no time, with a wide variety of themes ranging from information on the German-Greek Youth Office, funding schemes, and project presentations to discussion sessions on civil society in both countries and remembrance activities. The sessions are documented here: https://agorayouth.com/2018/10/17/barcamp/.

One issue came up repeatedly: the state of play of the German-Greek Youth Office. A treaty establishing the Youth Office was signed in Athens on 11 October 2018 by Federal Youth Minister Franziska Giffey and Greece’s Secretary-General for Youth and Lifelong Learning, Pafsanias Papageorgio, in the presence of Germany’s Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos. However, the German and Greek partners still have to resolve a number of conceptual, technical and labour-related issues before the Youth Office can be considered fully established. It is currently unclear how long this will take. Naturally, the Youth Forum participants would like to see this happen sooner than later.

Among the highlights of last year’s Youth Forum in Thessaloniki were field visits to youth and social institutions. Thanks to support from Cologne’s youth welfare office, this was again offered in 2018. Field visits are crucial for understanding how and under what circumstances youth welfare works in a given country. The young journalists of agora youth documented these visits, as well as the entire event, here: https://agorayouth.com.

The Youth Forum ended on a high note for German-Greek youth exchanges in particular: everything indicates that the special funding programme of the Federal Youth Ministry will also be open for youth exchanges between Greece and Germany in 2019. All organisations with concrete project ideas are invited to submit their applications!

Lizenz: INT 4.0 – Namensnennung CC BY 4.0


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