A Brief Update on the International Colloquy of Former YCWers
The ad hoc group is preparing the Former YCWers’ Colloquy while the International YCW is preparing its XIV International Council.
Towards the International Council of the IYCW
At its meeting in August, the current international team of the IYCW defined the programme for the preparation and launching of the International Council. From now on, all national movements are invited to prepare and discuss in greater depth the trends, challenges and developments of the plan of action 2012-2016, as well as the future of the movement. Some Council Support Groups have been set up in Germany and the base groups are eager to welcome delegates from different countries and exchange about their realities. The IYCW and the national movements are all looking for funds to ensure this important international event. As former members, we are all invited to contribute in various ways to the success of the programme and of this debate about the movement.
The International Former YCWers’ Colloquy: Where Do We Stand?
Some twenty countries have been reached since last June. Key people have contacted us or have been identified and solicited. In at least five countries, former YCWers’ networks (more or less organized) were already operating with occasional meetings. Around fifteen testimonies have been sent (from Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Gabon, Mexico, Venezuela, and even from the USA). Some books – personal testimonies or collective stories – already exist and are being sent to Brussels. A very interesting and positive sign!
We can already tell you that the circulation and exchange of emails is very active and dynamic. We are so happy every time someone contacts us and tells us how they are doing.
It is also very exciting to see that in some countries, the current and former YCW members are already connected – to a greater or lesser extent -, sometimes even with specific objectives. The concrete preparation of the International Council and of the Colloquy will further help.
Looking to the Future: Prospects
The International Colloquy is seen as the first step of a project aiming to “activate former YCWers’ networks” wherever possible. Current leaders of the movement ask for support in different fields and levels, sometimes at the local level, sometimes at the international level, depending on conditions and contexts. They see the experience of former members as a force that may help strengthen the movement, e.g. in the analysis-action, planning, training, financial support, extension of the movement, networking, and advocacy. There is, therefore, a “demand”. Existing former YCWers’ networks, and those yet to be born, can offer their means, possibilities and competences to a greater or lesser extent, according to the situations. The Colloquy should therefore try to match “supply” and “demand” as much as possible. Existing or emerging networks could become “Cardijn Associations or Foundations” linked to each other and to the ICF (International Cardijn Fund).
This has not been finalized yet. But we have already defined some criteria which seem important, for instance:
- The idea to ensure participation of at least 5 people for each big region (Africa, the Americas, Asia), and a somewhat larger participation from the European countries since the International Council and the Colloquy will take place in Germany.
- Find a balance between generations and regions. Since the initiative is mainly to serve the current and future generations, priority should be given to “former members who are not too old”, who are still operational and able to provide the services effectively needed and solicited. From this perspective, priority should go to those who are already in action with some national movements and/or are motivated to continue this work after the Council and Colloquy.
As always, funding is of course necessary to ensure the holding of the Colloquy. Specific project applications – separate from those submitted for the International Council – have been submitted to several organizations. We have stated that the holding of the International Council is a priority and that the holding of the Colloquy will depend on the means available. All former YCWers from Europe, North America, Australia, and some other Asian countries, should self-finance their participation (travel and accommodation expenses), either themselves or, if need be, through a solidarity contribution among former members in their country/region.
This is, dear friends, a brief update. Our next meeting will take place in March.