Youth Congress “Zukunftselbermachen” 2015

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About 150 young people from mainly Germany, but also from Austria, Switzerland and Luxemburg met in the German city of Osnabrück to discuss how they can create their own future and develop projects to start acting.

A set of presentations and a discussion gave a good introduction into the topics of the following workshops. They reached from mobility to consumerism, from biodiversity to climate refugees and from climate change to the energy transition. One of the mostly discussed issues was sustainability, which filled two workshops – one about the economy and another about universities. At the same time, a “market of possibilities” was set up in the hallway. Different organizations and projects could present themselves, find new members and receive feedback.

The theme of the second day was to develop projects that help to solve problems that were discussed in the workshops or that we care about. Some participants already had formed ideas, others were still unsure which topic was right for them. To bring potential new team mates together, a “world café” was set up. Every workshop and every idea got a flipchart and a table for collecting ideas and thoughts. Through changing tables several times, most people found a group and a project.

After the (vegetarian and vegan) lunch, we had workshops about project management, financing and PR which will come in very handy when realizing projects. Next, there was a lot of time to work on the concepts and ask experts for help if needed.The highlight of the day was the party. A band played and the weather allowed us to sit around a small campfire in the garden.

Projects were financed and included Tango at Paris, school exchange, radio programs and refugee work.

Sunday started with a look back on the past two days presented by the documentary-team. Those 10 participants were not only participants but also used every free minute to take and edit pictures and to write texts about what was happening. The results can be found online and in a brochure that will be printed. Then, all projects got one minute to make everyone curious by pitching their ideas. The participants themselves could decide which ones would be financially supported by the German environmental associations DBU (DeutscheBundesstiftung Umwelt) and NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V.). In the end, 17 out of 22 projects got a sum between 200 and 1370 Euros. School-groups and radio programs, dancing Tango at the COP in Paris, working with refugees and writing a sustainable magazine – the ideas are very diverse.

The final agenda point was a discussion with several politicians from different parties and levels of politics. They were impressed by the initiative of the congress and did well in answering difficult questions from the audience.

Looking back, the congress had a very positive atmosphere as everyone was eager to make a positive change in the world. Interesting projects were formed and also friendships started in those short three days. We learned many different things in the workshops and had burning questions answered in the discussions with experts and politicians. It was great to meet so many like-minded people at one place.

Link to the website of the congress.
Pictures by Mario Löscher and Michael Münch
Date: 04/09 to 06/09/2015

This blog post was originally written for Pangaea Project (Link).