The General Assembly will take place in our renovated Training Centre in Litomysl (Czech Republic) from Thursday 29th. May until Sunday 1st. June.
105 delegates from 32 countries gathered in Litomysl at YMCA Europe´s General Assembly. Under the title “Roots and Leaves, Part III – Inclusive Christianity”, the agenda included discussions and approval of reports, elections for news Executive Committee members, group work sessions and inspiring keynote speeches.
This was the third of a series of General Assemblies focusing on YMCA Europe´s flagship programmes following our Strategic Plan 2011-2016. Ulrica Stigberg from Sweden and Marloes Meijer (COG Chair) from the Netherlands were our keynote speakers and provided relevant inputs on “Inclusive Christianity” from different perspectives. Their speeches were followed by participatory table talks organized and led by Beate Turk and Martin Winter, members of our Executive Committee.
In his welcome message, President Ed Eggink shared about YMCA´s approach to politics. Ed connected our mission and guiding principles with our daily action within the communities serving all people with a focus on youth.
Secretary General Juan Simoes Iglesias reported about the past year´s highlights including details about YMCA Europe´s events, trainings, seminars and management procedures emphasizing our response to the challenges of contemporary Europe. The 2014 Strategy Implementation Plan was also presented with a focus on our three priorities : Mission Awareness, Relevant Programmes and Sustainability.
YMCA Europe´s Treasurer Mike Will presented the 2013 financial and auditor reports together with our budget for 2015 and the proposal for the review of National Contributions Systems with a number of recommendations that had been discussed among a specific task group over the past months. The reports and proposal were approved by the delegates.
Vice President Stepan Cerny and Senior Executive Secretary Michal Szymanczak shared about the upcoming stages of our Movement Strengthening strategy with an emphasis on our field and programme work. Also the reports about our different programme and task groups were presented and approved.
Maria Pronina from Russia and Marisa Voegele from Germany, both members of the YES Board, reported about the YES event that had taken place before the General Assembly with young delegates from 10 countries. One more time, the YES network of young people inspired the rest of delegates as one of YMCA Europe´s core groups.
Kerry Reilly, Chair of the 2013 Prague Festival “Love to Live”, summarized the event´s evaluation following the research led by Vardan Hambardzumyan, our Executive Secretary at the Programme Department. A specific session about the future of YMCA Europe´s major events took place involving more than 60 participants.
One of the highlights of the GA was also the election of 5 new assessors for our Executive Committee following our Constitution. Kie Cummings (England), Birgir Urbanic Asgeirsson (Iceland), Martin Winter (Germany), Diana Zarembiene (Lithuania) and Dan Carpov (Romania) were elected. Ed Eggink thanked and congratulated Eva Magassy (Hungary) and Ion State (Romania) for their service, contributions and commitment as members of the Executive Committee over the past two years. He also thanked the other candidates encouraging them to continue shaping the YMCA mission at the local, national and international levels.
The renewed Portuguese National Movement was officially welcomed as new National Movement and a thank you message was shared by Secretary Luis Sebastiao and President Fausto Carvalho after signing YMCA Europe´s Constitution.
Six interest groups about relevant topics were also organized. Also a National General Secretaries meeting and several side meetings including a working session with the Ukranian and Russian participants to identify initiatives involving young people from countries in the region. Six presentations of upcoming pan European programmes developed by several National Movements completed the agenda of an intense and fruitful event.
The participants thanked Eva Tschornova, our Office Manager for the work done before and during the GA. Also gratitude was expressed to Sebastian Vogt for his support, Milada Pajgrtova (NGS YMCA Czech Republic) and to Jana Mackova, Training Centre Director and her team.
During the General Assembly Ed Eggink thanked our guests from other YMCA regions in the world: Ian Green (World Alliance of YMCA´s), Marilyn Kapitany and Helene Weir (Canada), Mauricio D. Vandorsee and Leopoldo M. Lima (Brasil and LACA) and Coleen Leung (USA).
Thank you to all of you for a successful and inspiring General Assembly !!!
We look forward to our next General Assembly in May 2015 in Tallin, (Estonia) including a day in Helsinki (Finland). Save the dates for the third weekend of May 2015 and keep checking our web for further details. A big thank you to YMCA´s in Estonia and Finland for their invitation !