„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


18th December 2019

Amidst increasingly worrying tendencies of rift and division in Europe, it was perhaps rather symbolic to organize YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation Project “Reflecting on Peace Practices” Workshop in Brussels.

On December 08 – 12, 2019, the last activity within YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation project current 2016 – 2019 phase took place, bringing together 24 key-stakeholders from 15 countries. It was a strong manifestation of unity and fellowship by itself – supported by content and narrative of the workshop. 

Presentation of the Roots Reflecting on Peace Practices Report and the Peacework Guidebook served as the major program highlights, showcasing the tremendous work and impact that the project has had for engaged individuals, organizations and communities in spreading the message of peace and reconciliation across the continent and beyond. 

The visit to European Parliament and meeting with Andor Deli, MEP (Member of European Parliament) from Hungary exposed the participants with the reality and challenges that European Union is currently going through, and underlined the significance of sustaining the principles of cooperation, solidarity and active citizenship as major pillars upon which the future of Europe is based.

As YMCA Europe prepares for the new Strategic Plan for 2020 – 2024 period and with number of member National YMCAs present, the workshop provided a very useful platform to discuss and analyze the main components that the Plan is anticipated to focus on. The obtained feedback will certainly feed into the final document to see the light next year. 

Roots participants and volunteers have always been the driving force and catalyst for its success. And it was the right place and moment to acknowledge some of them. Adrian Davies, Antonio Merino and Palmer Hestlley were awarded with “Roots Peace Medals” for exceptional support and commitment to the project.

It was also in Brussels where the good news was officially affirmed and signed – the Roots is set to continue for 3 more years thanks to our long-standing partners - with continued support from Bread for the World as main donor and in close cooperation with CVJM Germany World Service! Another opportunity, privilege and responsibility to keep doing what we all firmly believe in – Peace is the Way!


Author/Source: Rezi Shavladze