Mittwoch, Oktober 24, 2007


the word of the day is


Dienstag, Oktober 23, 2007


Sisyphos work to be done...

Sisyphos tells Aiginas father that he witnessed the abduction of his daughter by Zeus. This upsets Zeus and he sends Thanatos to collect Sisyphos – but Sisyphos captures Thanatos, after a while Ares frees him and Thanatos eventually gets Sisyphos. Then Merope skipped the proper funeral rites this lack of protocol offended Hades and he sends Sisyophos back to tell her off – so they lived happily ever after. Maybe he is even the father of Odysseus…
Only when he finally gets to the underworld he has to take care of the eternally rolling stone.
And still many people only recognise Sisyphos as the symbol of the man forever rolling a rock uphill, only to have it roll back down again. Sisyphos has become a symbol for futility. Despite all the tricks and smartness, despite pissing off the father of all gods, despite all the cleverness, despite outthinking the god of the underworld - all that remained about him in common knowledge is the eternally rolling stone. Obviously Sisyphos was not French – otherwise he would have invented the strike.

Donnerstag, Oktober 18, 2007



I was in Kyiv last week. I have to admit I was surprised and did not expect such a beautiful city. It was an amazing mix between nostalgic Stalin Baroque and misty moods narrow cobblestone streets full with arts and craft – both, folkloristic and modern, of Russian and Ukraine orthodox churches and of global fast food chains. I have to admit orthodox churches fascinate me the most; they are so colourful, lots of towers with onion domes and spires. I had a lot of luck because of my good hosts and because of the melancholy of the autumn days in the wide alleys of the town. I will definitely go back there and see more of the country. I am very dedicated to see Lviv and Odessa very soon, and we all know, Odessa is just around the corner to Bucharest.


new words

conflusions = confusing conclusions
fetter = restrain
alacrity = liveliness, eagerness
grapple = to grip or seize, as in a wrestling match, fighting

Montag, Oktober 15, 2007


broken promises

October 17 is the International Day to Overcome Poverty. Millions of people will stand up and demand that our Governments shall fulfill their promises and end poverty. We will not accept any more broken promises.
The European Youth Forum (YFJ) and our Member Organisations will keep monitoring what European Governments and institutions do and don’t do in the fight against poverty and hunger. That is our promise and our responsibility.
No time to wait
However – achieving the goals is not a Governmental responsibility only. The European Youth Forum is an umbrella for National Youth Councils and international Youth Organisations in Europe – and we know that we cannot sit down and wait for the Governments to take action.
Time-wise we are half-way in our fight to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. But in reality we are far from achieving the goals, and especially Africa is lacking behind. While the European Governments are not even able to fulfill their own goal of allocating 0,7% of their budget to official development assistance (ODA) we are today able and proud to support schools in Africa with school books, school meals and other tools to ensure that girls and boys can go to school, learn and feel safe.
1 % possible

Through our 1 % Solidarity Fund we will keep supporting Youth Organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin-America. This is our most important contribution to development cooperation. At the same time it demonstrates for our Governments that spending 1% of the total annual budget on development cooperation is in fact possible.
On October 17 we challenge European leaders to show their commitment and to up-scale ODA for the 2008 budgets. We will not take any more broken promises. We also encourage organizations, schools and companies in your country and all over Europe to actively engage in development cooperation and to allocate funding for concrete development projects.

Dienstag, Oktober 09, 2007


long jouney

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry on

So on we go
welfare is of my concern
No burden is to bear
We'll get there
For I know

If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another.

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all

Samstag, Oktober 06, 2007


all different - all equal

On Thursday 29 June 2006 at 12:30 I was standing in the Hemicycle, the room for the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe and we were opening the “all different- all equal” campaign – for diversity, human rights and participation. The room was almost empty. Today I am proud of the broad range of activities and projects that took place, and the full room of people; but I am also aware that we cannot fold our arms; we still have a lot to do.

It is widely common that politicians and media are often more concerned with demonising people that are different, whilst many decision makers are rather reflecting fears of citizens then offering solutions – it is us that have to cling on long held visions of Human Rights and Democracy. The political culture of mistrust and fears, protecting the own wealth rather then improving the collective well-being must be bypassed if we want to improve everyone’s Rights – not only legally but also culturally.

This will not be possible if we are all just a little bit nicer and if we just like each other a little bit more. Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Islamophobia are still like other form of discrimination not abstract but is a sad and daily reality. The police officer who waits a little longer before he interferes in racist bashing, the teacher who tolerates homophobic bullying, the mother that is not confident in her daughter reaching beyond the glass ceiling which stopped herself as well as the Muslima that prefers to cover herself as any other role models seem unrealistic to her.

Increasing awareness of teachers, police officers, health and care workers or public administration and youth workers to name but a few is indispensable to increasing opportunities for all. As well as we need to liaise with public bodies beyond youth such as justice and home affairs, employment, infrastructure and many more. We must address everyone living in a given Region, many governments only reach out to their own citizens which will be to the detriment of the society as a whole

It is unfortunately the case that many people seem to be stuck in a lifetime of disadvantage; the problems they face are multiple, entrenched and often passed down across generations. To break such enduring cycles of adversity, urgent action is continuously needed, allowing people to realise their aspirations and potential. Such action implies the genuine extension of opportunities to the most marginalised in society, to enable them to exercise the power that the rest of society takes for granted; for youth organisations, this means reaching out to oppressed youth and making sure they are provided the space to speak for themselves, are listened to, and are heard.

Youth organisations as well as public authorities must be conscious of the risk of reproducing structures of exclusion, and serving as the hothouse for elites. In seeking to demonstrate that we are the leaders of today, we must embody the diversity of our constituencies, recognising their heterogeneous needs, and duly articulating them. For youth organisations, reaching out goes beyond quota systems, political correctness, or ill-thought out idealism; reaching out means providing excluded youth with opportunities for participation, and access to those opportunities. This signifies a true acceptance of the agency of young people to make decisions and act on their own behalf no matter where they stand in life right now.

“Participation and active citizenship is about having the right, the means, the space, the opportunity and, where necessary, the support to participate in and influence decisions and engage in actions and activities so as to contribute to building a better society,” this is a quote of the preamble to the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life; and some simply need more support than others, as they have a different starting point for their participation in society.

Last week I was in Cyprus and a Greek Cypriot friend of mine said - “this is what is nice in politics – things are changing!” She did not say this because she is ignorant or naïve and would not recognise the current dead lock in the conflict in Cyprus, she said it because she is a smart advocate for a peaceful solution of the problem and she has seen slow but steady progress on a socio-cultural level and will continue to work for further progress – she is persistent.

The “all different – all equal” campaign is a good beginning for achieving a better Europe in a better world, but it is only the end of the beginning.
So I ask you:

Be persistent – be the change you want to see!

Donnerstag, Oktober 04, 2007



I have just been at the opening of the University for Youth and Development in Mollina, Spain. The Youth forum is involved in 4 activities this year.The trainig track and the political track of the FEULAT, the global educationi seminar, the Pool of Trainers sub group meeting on global eduation as well as the MDG activity. In total there are 300 people from all over the world in Mollina.The Youth Forum sent 9 people there this year and 4 of our member organisations run there own activities there. I true place for exchange and intercultural learning.

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