Mittwoch, März 29, 2006


youth event

The Austrian Government decided to hold the European Youth Event in health resorts for pensioners. So I am spending 2 days youth event in Oberlaa, a part of Vienna and 2 days in Bad Ischl, the summer residence of our former emperors.
So far the seminar is going quite well. I am in the working group on youth and jobs. There are some really interesting and some really conflictual discussions. We try to focus not only on how to combat youth unemployment but also on the quality of jobs for young people. It is a quite huge discussion and many issues of cross-sectorial policy making are addressed such as education, training, social services and welfare.
From tomorrow on the youth event will merge with the informal youth ministers’ conference and the young people will have joint working groups with the ministers.
Till then we have to come up with a declaration of the youth event… lets see how this is going.

Samstag, März 25, 2006


austrian airlines

04:40 – Baku, Azerbaijan (01:40 CET)
Now it is official – I hate Austrian Airlines. Exactly 2 weeks ago, they cancelled my flight from Strasbourg to Vienna. I was in a forgiving mood back then. Though it took them 3 hours to re-arrange my travels and the accommodation for the night was shitty, I thought such things could happen. When they ordered only 1 taxi going back and forth 10 times to bring all the passengers where they were supposed to stay for the night, I even blamed it on the French ground staff.

This time I am in Baku; the flight got cancelled once again. The lounge is not even open jet. Oh – what I forgot to mention - the flight was supposed to be at 4:30 am directly to Vienna, instead I am going now at 07:10 to Paris and from there at noon to Vienna. I was supposed to be in Vienna at 6 am and would have to attend a conference from 9 am on, now I will only be in Vienna, if everything goes well till then, at 14:40.

Like to weeks ago there is again no compensation, no free drinks, nothing. In Baku though, other then in Strasbourg the restaurants at the airport are still open – or better already.
My mobile phone is almost empty and for sure the battery of my laptop will also not last all too long.

I had to depart in Baku at 02:45 to be at the airport on time. Luckily I did not feel too well and decided to take a nap at 10pm already, otherwise I would feel even more miserable right now.

I changed some Azeri money from the friends who brought me to the airport. At least I have to do that only once, other passengers were re-booked via Istanbul. They are in Vienna 2 hours earlier. By the time it was my turn in the queue this option was not available anymore. I am not sure if I should be angry because I travel 2 more hours, or if I should be happy because in Paris there will be a lounge, there will be internet and I will be able to pay in Euro again.

And just to re-affirm the conclusion of these events – I hate Austrian Airlines!

Update: 11:40 CET, Paris, France (15:40 Baku time)
I am sapped and on the edge. Not sure if I should just scream at everyone passing my way or if I should just laugh.
Found Internet at the airport, paid for it, tried to access my mails, now my mail providers server is down, how frustrating is that?

But maybe it is better, that I did not read my e-mails, I might have responded too quickly in a not all too friendly mood and then written angry and undiplomatic mails to all sorts of people. Mails where I might have regretted the content and tone afterwards. But this is a “what if” theory anyways, so it does not matter.

I am so ready for a bed and a shower, not sure jet in which order!

16:30 CET – home.

I would be much more angry if my iPod would not have been such good company. Listened to St. Germain, which is really calming me down and for a long long time i gave some attention again to the cranberries!



So – I have spent 2 days in Azerbaijan; 1 day in Sumqayit and 1 day in Baku.
In Sumqayit the Seminar “why all different – when all equal” took place. I had to give an introduction to the youth forum and people where really interested. The presentation was kept rather short, but the questions and answer session was really intensive. After this we had the presentation of the “all different – all equal” campaign, mainly focusing on the European management, activities and material.

In the afternoon we went to the executive power of Sumqayit, the equivalent of the city major, where we had a press meeting taking about the campaign. Afterwards we had a city tour, starting with a visit at the local museum of history. Given that Sumqayit was only built from 1957 on as a satellite city to Baku, I have seen more interesting museums. Then we stopped at the centre for German language, the Olympic stadium, the park at the seaside and the national art museum. I guess I have a pretty good idea now what Sumqayit is like.

Second day the seminar was closed and everyone went to Baku. Another press conference was held in the Council of Europe Information centre. Then we visited the Helsinki Human Rights foundation.

After the official part our friends and local organisers made a tour with us through the old town of Baku. It is an old castle on a hill. We sow a beautiful Minaret, an old Hamam, lots of carpet shops. It was really beautiful.

Participants at the seminar came from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan. They agreed on joint follow up activities and on co-operating for an evaluation seminar of the campaign activities in their region in July 2007.

Some observations that I have made during my stay here:

Azeri’s are really creative in finding places to dry their laundry. Hanging it between trees having the most adventurous constructions around their balconies and out of their windows. This gives really colourful facades of the houses.

Azeri hospitality is enormous. I only had to express a dissatisfaction, or even only hint at it and help was on its way. Not only that 3 people came to pick me up from the airport when I landed at 3:30 am, also when I ran out of cigarettes, I only had to turn around and already had 2 new packages.

Azeri roads are fine as long as you do not feel the urge to go to the toilet; cause then the bumping is not really helping.

Azeri pakhlava is actually better then Turkish baklava.

I still do not like toilettes that are not more then a hole in the ground.

I am very impressed by the modern art monuments; they are bombastic and huge, in the middle of roundabouts and such alike! I especially adore the symbol of Sumqayit – which is beautiful and supposed to represent wings of a seagull.

Mittwoch, März 22, 2006


the unexpected

The unexpected hits you the hardest and gives to the most intense pleasures. Imagine you are going to a seminar or for a weekend trip, you have planned it for quite a while but all of a sudden you don’t feel like going anymore. Because of obligations, social or work commitments you go anyways, though you really would prefer to stay home.
But then – you meet the nicest people; you have the funniest and most remarkable experiences.
If I could, I would really try not to expect anything – and therefore could never be disappointed. Unfortunately it does not work for me that way, usually when I plan something I have an idea what I would like it to be and therefore can quite easily be disappointed.
For going to Slovenia I had a quite clear picture about what would happen but not really high expectations. I would go there, meet old friends, do my workshop and leave. Which indeed all happened. In addition the people from the seminar were really nice and fascinating, catching up with the old friends was more needed than I did imagine, Ljubljana is even adorable when it rains. I really regret that I could not stay for the last day of the seminar and for the farewell party.
Luckily I have to go back to Slovenia for the pool of trainers meeting beginning of April.

Embarrassing but useless info – I have never been to Slovakia. Just to say it out loud for once.

And now I am going to Azerbaijan, I am very exited about that. I have never been there before and really look forward to it. With my head I am still in Slovenia – the seminar in Azerbaijan is on the same issues as the one in Slovenia. On equality and non-discrimination and as I did in Slovenia I will present the “all different – all equal” campaign. So maybe the group there is equally nice and the group dynamics catch me and embrace me like they did in Ljubljana.

and i promise i will not kiss swans or any other poultry!

Montag, März 20, 2006



I am off to Ljubljana now for 2 days. I am taking part in the “equality in action” seminar. Presenting the Campaign “all different – all equal” and giving some instructions on fund raising. But apart from that I am also going to meet friends from good old ESIB times. I am really happy to go there. Also because I like the town a lot; it reminds me a bit of Salzburg, but it is way less posh and snobbish and elitist as Salzburg. In Salzburg you can enjoy a beautiful day in an open-air museum, never being sure what you are allowed to touch and what you are not. But Ljubljana seem to me like a place that one can enjoy living at, that is friendly and young and … just some architectural and superficial similarities, but very different at the scratch. Only downsides of the trip will be, that I have not much time to stay but many hours (more then six hours for one way) in train!

Donnerstag, März 16, 2006


kids kids kids

Today was the children’s parliament in my district council. The little monsters brought excellent motions forward and left a big sticky mess (from chocolate and juice) behind them. They presented in total 244 motions, some of them do overlap though or are even the same.Still, quite some work to do when going over the 200 suggestions on how to make the district more like they want it to have. Most of the suggestions concern public and school space, leisure time and street traffic. In the June meeting of the kids’ parliament we have to report back what the progress in implementing their motions is. Let’s see what is possible to manage in the meantime.



I was in Toledo for the weekend. We had the Youth Forum bureau meeting there and also the General Assembly (GA) of the Spanish youth council (CJE) took place there.
During the bureau meeting we managed to decide, discuss, ratify more than 300 pages of documents and around 30 agenda points, amongst other things we agreed on 3 policy papers and the position paper on the world bank – which was long over due.
The CJE General Assembly was huge compared to other GA’s of National Youth Council that I have seen so far.
But best of all was being in Toledo. Toledo is amazingly beautiful and it was spring, if not summer in Spain already! So coming home on Tuesday evening after having had breakfast at 23°C at a balcony to a –3°C cold Vienna was not really fun.

Mittwoch, März 08, 2006


Olympe de Gouges

Gouges works were both profoundly feminist and profoundly revolutionary. Author of several feminist works, her best-known work is "The Rights of Women." Taking the French Revolution's "The Right of Man" as her guide, Gouges wrote "The Rights of Women", claiming for women equality with men in all aspects of both public and private life - including the equal right along with men to vote, to hold office, to public employment, to speak in public on political topics (to "mount the rostrum"), to equal public "honors", to own and control property, to participate in the military, to an education, and to equal power in the family and the church.

The Rights of Woman
by Olympe de Gouges, 1791, english translation with links to the french original

Dienstag, März 07, 2006


its all so diverse

I am just right now trying to find out a little more about diversity management policies of public and private organisations and it is amazing which nice words they use!
It is fun to see what kind of “diversity” different actors a talking about. Here are some examples for you:

IBM: “We take positive actions to ensure equal opportunity in the conduct of business activities without regard to gender, race, colour, national origin, sexual preference, marital status, pregnancy, potential pregnancy, age, disability, religious belief, family responsibilities, ethical belief, employment status and any other factors that are not related to individual ability, job performance and potential to develop in the workplace.“

HP: „ In accordance with this, HP does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, age, or covered veteran status“

“All Lexmark employment practices are conducted without regard to race, color, age, gender, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or disability.“

„Xerox Corporation is an equal opportunity employer and, as such, affirms in policy and practice to recruit, hire, train, and promote, in all job classifications, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, citizenship status, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Furthermore, Xerox will not discriminate against persons who are veterans of the Vietnam era. Similarly, considering the need for reasonable accommodation to their limitation, Xerox will not discriminate against persons because of their handicap, including disabled veterans.“

Ithaca college: “Increase the diversity of the Ithaca College population – students, faculty, staff and trustees – with regard to age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, and religious belief, and ensure equity in admissions and employee positions. … Everyone is treated fairly regardless of their race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, marital status, family responsibilities, disability, age, sexuality, political or religious beliefs, socio-economic group, trade union activity or being an ex-offender”

Making conclusions for youth NGOs I have not found any jet who has the following “diversity criteria” included in their mission statement: marital status, family responsibilities, trade union activity, being an ex-offender, political belief, veteran status, potential pregnancy, military status…

Those things seem not so relevant for European NGOs or so obvious that they are legally regulated.

But – “all different – all equal”

Sonntag, März 05, 2006


snow snow snow

I can not stand it anymore.

snow everywhere

and transport, not matter if trains or planes do not function as they should!

I need spring!!!!!

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