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

Youth Policy Group

The Youth Policy Group (YPG) is a special body within the YMCAs composed of 13 young people chosen within the organization, from many member movements, who shape and build the advocacy of YMCA Europe and represent us externally. This means that our advocacy is YOUTH LED: shaped and managed by our young people.

From an internal point of view, the YPG members are in charge of writing Policy Papers which are the basis of our advocacy: you can see the Policy papers on our website.

From an external point of view, the YPG represents the interests of YMCA Europe in external meetings with European Institutions, the UN, National Governments, and with international youth bodies such as the European Youth Forum the Advisory Council on Youth to the Council of Europe. During these meetings, the YPG presents and defends the positions of YMCA on various topics and showcases the work of our members for youth. In these fora the YPG also drafts and amends the documents establishing a common advocacy platform with other NGOs or youth platforms.

The Youth Policy Group aims to build a YMCA vision of the world and on youth policy. Interested to join? Please email ilenia[at]ymcaeurope.com  

Elisa Vas is currently working as Expert / Project Coordinator within Studies and Analyses Unit, in the prestigious European Institute of Romania. She is also working as Communication and Public Relations Assistant within Young Initiative Association, an organization member of YMCA Romania Federation.. Among other, she studied International Relations, Political and Communication Science at the University of Oradea (Romania). Her several work experiences in communication, pedagogy and social field allowed her to sharpen her communication and conflict management skills.

For two year, Eglantina Lula have been the Executive Director of YMCA Tirana, Albania. She has more than 10 years of experiences in management area, mostly on managerial drafting project proposals and fund raising in NGOs. Moreover, she also has several experiences as a social worker. For instance, she was moderator within Albanian World's Children-Human Rights Association where she offered psycho-social counseling. And presently, she provides training and coaching for employment to the former Albanian women and girl victims of trafficking. She would like to carry on her career into humanitarian domain to build on and develop her managerial skills and enhance people's lives.

Martina Vitezova comes from Serbia where she is working in the board of Directors of YMCA Serbia. Her main tasks there are to advise on long term strategy and raised awareness of youth issues among government officials and civil societies members. She is truly concerned by challenges which affect youth especially ones related to education and employment. In February 2016 for instance, she represented YMCA World at the ECOSOC Youth forum. That was the opportunity to discuss the issue of youth unemployment in Europe with representatives of UN agencies. She is looking forwards to start her mission with YPG, a platform where she could contribute to help YMCA advocacy thanks to her many proposals to improve youth education and employment quality.

Evelyna Symeonidou is from Thessaloniki, Greece and is a former art student who decided to switch to graphic art design. She is involved in the YMCA movement since an early age, participating at several YMCA Summer Camps where she received an Honourable Mention. Her work experiences in Concorde International and YMCA allowed her to develop solid skills in management, leadership and communication, as well as her participation to YMCA Europe Leadership Academy 2017. Trustworthy and reliable are qualities she values in her professional and personal life.

Mirjami Kallinen is from Finland where she is doing a Bachelor of Social issues and youth worker in Discaona University. She is working in YMCA Finland as a volunteer project intern. A part of her mission consists to organize and execute events related to social issues and digitalization for adults. Her activeness within YMCA has given her opportunities to work abroad such as in Sweden, Lebanon and Gambia. One of her most important values in her life and work is offering every person the same rights and opportunities as everyone else, no matter their background, gender, social standing or anything else for that matter.

Galin Dechoian is from Armenia. She is a member of YMCA Syrian Armenians and is responsible to organize weekly activities for members. She studies in the American University of Armenia and is passionate in human rights. Her interest commenced from her personal experience whilst living in a war zone in Syria. Then, at university, she took human rights classes and a law and justice class where she learned about the comparative review of legal system regarding human rights. She wants to be a humanitarian in the future to protect the vulnerable and be an agent of change.

Alex Taylor has been a member of the YMCA her whole life, moving from member to young volunteer and is currently a Trustee of YMCA Barnsley. She is particularly passionate about developing youth leadership in her YMCA. Alex has been a Youth Ambassador for YMCA England & Wales since the start of the program. She is a degree qualified youth worker and her day job consists of involving young people in decision making processes, getting them a seat at the table and supporting them to make change locally, regionally and nationally. This is a passion she takes into her voluntary work with the YMCA and has represented the YMCA movement on a range of international platforms in the area of civic engagement.



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