Connecting minorities at the Easter Seminar 2013 in West Friesland

To this year’s Easter Seminar of YEN, the Western Frisian youth organisation FYK (Frysk Ynternasjonaal Kontakt) welcomed participants from the the 23rd to the 29th of March to the small idyllic town of Grou in the dutch province of Fryslân. This was the 3rd time after 1994 and 2002 that FYK hosted the biggest annual YEN event.

During the last week of March the participants – representing 25 minorities from all over Europe – discussed the role of an active citizenship and concentrated on networking, such as building new contacts. From there came up the topic: ConneXt!

At the official opening in the House of Province in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, Sieta de Vries – President of FYK – and YEN President Fatma Resit gave a warm welcome to the participants. Furthermore the participants were also spoken to by e.g. the mayor of Ljouwert Ferd Crone, the regional minister Jannewietske de Vries, Tytsy Willemsma (EU-lobbyist for Friesland), Dr. Detlev Rein (Federal Ministry of the Interior, Germany) and FUEN director Jan Diedrichsen.

Regarding the topic “ConneXt!” 4 interesting workshops were offered: Regional Marketing, Teambuilding, Social Media & Campaigning, and Multilingualism. The choice of the workshops and its leaders showed the strength of the region of West Friesland, which was presented to the participants by concrete examples in the workshops. The young people had the chance to improve their skills, get new impulses for their own organisations and make comparisons. In this way these young minority representatives were able to make a contribution to improve the situation of their own minority and region.



Besides the workshops there was time for Working Group meetings and other exciting activities, in order to get to know West Friesland. On Sunday an international interfaith liturgy in English, German and Western Frisian language, was celebrated. Furthermore the programme included a boat tour, a city game in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, minority speed dating, Frisian indoor games, and a YEN-discussion.

During the Easter Seminar the Woking Groups (WG’s) achieved some good results. They agreed to work together on the common focus “2014 – 30 years of YEN”. In preparation for the anniversary year, the WG on Communication cooperated with the Language Diversity Team on producing different videos for both Language Diversity as for YEN. The first podcasts are to be seen on youtube. The WG on Enlargement dealt with possible changes of the rules of procedure of the YEN. Among other things this is necessary for an upcoming change of the name of the Working Group. In addition this WG was daily occupied with the newby programme and the guest hosting. The WG on Politics had a meeting with the European Youth Forum in order to talk about general tasks and further possibilities of collaboration.

The biggest seminar of the YEN, involving more than 90 participants of different minorities all over Europe, was a big success. The YEN Board is sending many thanks to the orga-team of FYK, and is looking forward seeing you soon again, together with new and old friends from all over Europe!