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IHEYO General Assembly 2016: putting ideas into action

  • post Type / Conferences
  • Date / 31 May 2016

IHEYO has had a very busy year. Its network has continued to grow and only shows signs of further expansion. Our General Assembly in Malta (Saturday 21 May) was all about setting the stage for things to come. Yes, you’re meant to read that with a hint of excitement about our future! During this Assembly, a new president was elected, the future budget was presented and three big projects left the starting blocks. Curious about what they are? Read on!

Representatives from IHEYO and the IHEU celebrate together after the IHEYO General Assembly in Malta, 2016

Representatives from IHEYO and the IHEU celebrate together after the IHEYO General Assembly in Malta, 2016

A new president

With IHEYO president, Nicola Young Jackson’s term coming to an end, IHEYO set about looking for a successor. Marieke Prien, who has been active in IHEYO’s committee for quite some time was given a strong vote of confidence by the General Assembly to fill this role. “IHEYO will strive to be the platform for young humanists world-wide, focusing on local development through the continued support of the regional working groups,” Marieke said during her introduction. Three resolutions passed later on that day would look ahead to implementation of that ambition…

Strength through democracy

Empowerment has always been one of the cornerstones of Humanism. The idea that we strive towards strong projects in the field by supporting the creation of local knowledge and skills is nothing new, but it needs to be more than just an idea. We must put it in action as well.

IHEYO has a system of regional working groups that organise its regional activity. However, because our General Assemblies are all over the world, there’s always a disproportionate representation of Member Organisations based on transportation costs and proximity to the current year’s meeting. With the internet around, the Assembly agreed in unanimity that this was needlessly complex and undemocratic. For these reasons and many more, the Assembly agreed that the working groups should have their own local elections via an online secure platform. Not only will more people be able to let their voices be heard but we’ll also be applying the principle of empowerment on our own operations.

It is IHEYO’s aim to have these working group elections in mid-July, which gives us ample time to prepare. The newly elected chairs will then have the power to assemble their own teams according to their operational needs.

One big idea, one big network

Last year’s IHEYO General Assembly saw a unified ambition to work more closely with IHEU (International Humanist and Ethical Union) as its youth branch and IHEU in turn has also stressed its wish for a tighter cooperation with IHEYO. As it stands now, our networks are not the same and because of that, a lot of interesting or productive interactions between seasoned experienced  humanists and  its energetic bright youth aren’t there. The combination of those two networks can be mutually beneficial and ensures our future as an international Humanist movement that can continue to grow, generation after generation.

Therefore the GA gave the Executive Committee the green light to prepare a unification of our membership lists which should be ready by the next General Assembly in São Paulo.

What’s in a name?

IHEYO’s name is a challenge on its own. Even though it reflects our ideology well, it needs much more than that. With membership all over the world, we need a name that conveys our message while still being easily pronounceable. Keeping this in mind, the GA has agreed to set in motion the process of a name change which will bring about lots of interesting discussions on how we want to profile and see ourselves. IHEYO really wants the people in its network to have a real say in this process of creation. So throughout the year, we’ll be gathering your ideas via online platforms as well as face-to-face discussions. Feel like you have loads of suggestions? Fire away! We’re happy to hear them.

What will the future bring?

As you could read in the introduction, IHEYO has had a busy year and there are lots of signs that 2016-17 will be a period with even more activity. By the next World Humanist Congress in Brazil, it’s IHEYO’s ambition to showcase its new structure and present another year filled with events and new projects. In this, you as a young international activist will be able to play an important role. If you’re interested in the years to come, keep an eye on our Facebook and webpage <iheu.org/iheyo> for all the most recent updates!


Questions about this article? Feel free to contact Anton (IHEYO Secretary-General) on anton@iheyo.org.


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