#Running4youth

It’s official for some time now: I’m #running4youth as candidate for the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe’s Youth Department. What a great chance to lobby and advocate for young people’s rights and ideas from all over Europe.

 

It is my pleasure to present to you all my motivation to run for the AC:

Dear friends,

I hereby would like to put forward my motivation of becoming a member of the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe for the period of 2018/2019. As nominee of the German National Committee for International Youth Work (DNK) for the Advisory Council on Youth (AC) of the Council of Europe (CoE), it is my honour and pleasure to write this letter and describe to you why I am #running4youth.

I have been involved in youth work for more than half of my life. I started youth work in my local municipality on grassroots-level. Throughout the years I grew, my role changed from the beneficiary to a volunteer youth worker, a career that most of you have had as well. With it the responsibilities the scope and frame in which I worked with youth grew from local to regional to national and to the European level. I have been involved in the European Youth Forum (YFJ) for four years. I am passionate for the concerns and views of young people and I want to ensure that they are heard and recognised.

In order to do that and to represent the views of the YFJ as well as the DNK’s perspectives at the CoE’s Joint Council on Youth (CMJ), I am running for the AC. My motivation results from three points that are linked to my own biography:

  1. Take the chance #running4youth: The structure of the Co-Management system between AC and the Steering Committee on Youth (CDEJ) is a unique possibility to work for Youth Rights, Youth Participation and Youth Work. It is the chance to get in touch directly with the decision-makers of the youth ministries in all CoE members states. I want to take this chance and advocate for young people’s ideas and thoughts and help to set the agenda for the issues of the YFJ.
  2. Give back what you learned: I am overwhelmed by the opportunity offered by the YFJ after four years of training and education in this Youth Empowerment platform. From 2013-2015 I was able to participate in the YFJ Workgroup on “Youth Work”, where we developed the Youth Work Policy Paper adopted at General Assembly 2014 in Cluj (Romania).  After that, from 2015-2017 I was part of the Expert Group on Youth Policy. Our work resulted in the very successful launch of the Toolkit on the 8 Quality-Standards for Youth Policy. Additional to this I am very happy to say that I took part in almost all statutory meetings of the YFJ (CoMems and GAs) in the last four years. That is why I am quite knowledgeable about the structures and positions of the Forum. Just like I was empowered I want to ensure that young people all over Europe will have the same possibilities of learning and growing .
  3. More experiences and views: I would like to contribute to this task with my experience of fifteen years of youth work from the local to the world level. I want to bring the experiences and views on practical voluntary youth work to the discussion-table. Also I’ve been involved as an external representative of the DNK for the YFJ since four years. I combine both the  perspectives of the National Youth Councils as well as the INGYOs, since I am engaged in both fields. In addition, I am very happy that my professional experiences as the head of Communications of YMCA Germany, the largest Ecumenical Youth movement, will be beneficial to the three priorities of the Youth Department of the CoE. I have also been involved in (youth) politics for ten years, firstly in the youth-wing of the Social Democrats in Germany and later as an elected official in my city’s parliament, where I currently work in the Committee for social and youth issues. I have a lot of experience of negotiating with government members and politicians for strong youth positions.

If elected to the AC my first area of work will be Youth Rights, which is closely connected to the topic of Youth Participation. This is especially important because the Recommendation on Young People’s Access to Rights has just been finalised and needs to be spread. I believe that youth-friendly organisational structures and online communication and cooperation tools will enhance youth participation on all levels. That will empower young people to advocate for their rights. I want to ensure participation of all young people, including young refugees. My experience and motivation in this area are focused on quality youth policy and youth work recognition. Supporting young people and youth organisations in strengthening democratic structures and influencing policy is what continuously needs to be a priority in his area.

Also, I would enhance the topic of visibility and communication of the AC. On the one hand the AC is a great example for youth empowerment and youth participation through the Co-Management system, on the other hand it is weak in its visibility outside the CoE and YFJ structures. I want to build on the efforts of the current AC that has visibly increased the Social Media presence during their mandate, on both Facebook and Twitter. But this is only a beginning, and we need to ensure better visibility and spread results widely. I believe that pushing the mechanism of the Co-management system to other political arenas would be very important.

With the political situation of European countries drifting apart I would use the platform of the AC to revitalise cooperation. Young people are the bearer of the European idea of peace and reconciliation. Therefore, they need to be strengthened by promoting the Recommendation on Young People’s Access to Rights across Europe.

I am looking forward to share and hear ideas about the work in the AC during our meeting at the Council of Members. In the meantime, I am at your service. Don’t hesitate to contact me via E-Mail, Skype or Social Media.

Together we are #Running4youth

Sebastian

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