This year, IHEYO organised its already fourth annual international humanist youth conference parallel to the IHEU World Congress. Actually the tradition of this event started at the previous IHEU World Congress in 2002! This year, it was co-organised with la Ligue de l’Enseignement and with a focus on interculturalism and young active citizenship. It took place from 9 th to 14 th of July in Paris. Around 50 young humanists and human rights activists have gathered for a week of intense collaboration, inspiration and fun.
Based on IHEYO’s experiences of previous conferences, this event was a mix of cultural activities, practical training, workshops and interesting in-depth debate. This conference required even more active involvement of the participants and it was a much longer conference. The first few days focussed on giving a theoretical background to the theme, so that participants could draw up their project proposal in the last days of the conference
The conference was mainly financed through a funding from the Council of Europe. The conference consisted of participants coming from European countries, but there were also some participants from the other continents. The participants came from: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine and the US. In total 18 different countries.
The conference resulted in an inspiring exchange and some newly developed and good projects we can carry out. These were developed by the participants who divided into groups. The following projects were developed:
1) Training of humanist trainers
2) Website project to redesign and maintain the IHEYO site
3) Intercultural Arts Camp
4) Camp for promoting interculturalism
5) Discovering Education through Critical Thinking
6) Flying Humanists
7) Partnership between East African and Western young humanists
At the last day of the conference, the group and the jury voted for the best project. The project ‘training of humanist trainers’ was awarded with the most votes and received an amount of 500 Euro given by IHEYO for implementing the project. It was difficult to choose because all projects were good and the time for developing the projects was really short. IHEYO hopes that the projects will be implemented by the groups. Several groups have informed us that they were really keen to do so and we will definitely follow up.
It is important to see that young people exchange their experience of life in a natural way. It is amazing when a girl from Serbia, who has never known a world without hatred, war and fear, discuses with a young man from Belgium and from Norway, who have never seen a gun in their life, about humanism, nationalism, cultures, religious fundamentalism and terror. At that time we know it is a good conference because these are the experiences and encounters the participants will never forgets.
You can find the full conference report with a full overview of the developed project, presentations of speakers and workshop descriptions at the IHEYO site: www.iheyo.org. Do check it out!