The first edition of the YEN Activist Skills Training “Sustainable Activism & Self-Care” took place in Berlin, Germany, from the 1st-4th February 2024. 16 young participants from European autochthonous, ethnic, national, and linguistic minorities took part in the training weekend on the theme of self-care, and learning and exchanging tools to prevent stress and burnout. […]
The Youth of European Nationalities (YEN) and Pawk e.V. – Serbske młodźinske towarstwo are looking for participants for the Easter Seminar “Know Your Rights”. The event will take place in Bautzen/Budyšin, Germany from the 22nd – 28th March 2024 and will be organised by Pawk e.V. – Serbske młodźinske towarstwo with the support of Youth […]
In 2024 YEN will turn 40, we want to celebrate this both with youth currently active in YEN but also with YEN Alumni (people who were previously active in YEN) We want to provide opportunities for you to re-connect with YEN and the friends you met there. YEN General Assembly and Easter in Bautzen […]
Your feedback and ideas are the basis for planning our upcoming year. In 2024, we would like to specifically address the topics you mentioned. We hope you will enjoy the activities and look forward to seeing you there! Activism and engagement are at the heart of youth organisations for autochthone, national, ethnic and linguistic […]
Did you know that the Youth of European Nationalities (YEN/JEV) provided study visits. Individuals from our member organisations had the chance to explore minority communities in Europe. This not only allowed them to connect with other minority youth organisations but also to attend events organised by different minorities. They learned about shared and distinct structures of minorities in various countries, broadening their perspective on minorities in Europe.
In 2023, four persons participated in this program. In May, David explored the University of Roazhon of the Bretons in Brittany and visited the Lia Rumantscha and Dicziunari Rumantsch of the Rhaeto-Romansh in Switzerland. Leah and Louis attended the global "HIGA! 2023-Summit" for minoritised languages worldwide. Louis also engaged with the Dom Bretanii at a traditional Breton event in Poland, experienced the Sorbian minority in Germany at a folk music festival, and commemorated the Assyrian Genocide in Sweden with the Assyrian community. Toward the year's end, Leah ventured to Thessaloniki to understand the situation of the Roma community in Greece and later participated in an event organised by the Jewish community in Bulgaria and Sophie visited young people of the Danish Minority in Germany, who she met in YENs Autumn Seminar before.
YEN wants to thank the European Youth Foundation (EYF) of the Council of Europe for making this Study Trips possible.
Reports from the Study Visits in 2023
The first study visit of the year occurred in April. Louis, a member of Kenstroll Breizh and a YEN board member for minority rights and politics, visited the Dom Bretanii. A traditional Breton night was organised there with the band Skolvan. The visit highlighted the global presence of the Breton minority, especially in Poznan. Louis praised the ingenuity of Dom Bretanii in organising successful events despite limited financial support. Despite a shortage of volunteers, he observed significant interest in Breton culture among the Polish population. The visit was characterised by cultural exchange, with a highlight being the impressive performance of Breton dance and music during the Skolvan concert. Louis concluded his visit with insights into the adaptability of the Breton minority, stimulating reflection on the future of minority protection and development.
In May, David embarked on a study visit to acquaint himself with the Breton community. He explored the University of Roazhon in Brittany to understand how France addresses regional languages, particularly Breton. The visit encompassed participation in Breton festivals like the Fest-Noz, held both in the capital and the heart of Brittany. Despite its size, David observed that the Breton community is remarkably active and attuned to linguistic issues, with a noticeable Celtic unity prevailing throughout Brittany. This left a lasting impression on him. Inspired by the cohesion and awareness within the Breton community, David is contemplating instilling a similar spirit in his own context. A memorable quote from Cédric, a Breton professor, resonated during the visit: "The French Republic is a religion, a secular faith formed by clerical officials. We, the autonomists, are heretics." This encapsulates the intricate relationship between autonomy and national identity in the Breton context.
In June, David embarked on his second study visit to Lia Rumantscha and Dicziunari Rumantsch Grischun in Switzerland to acquaint himself with Romansh culture. The visit unveiled the impressive, century-long efforts of Dicziunari Rumantsch Grischun in compiling a comprehensive Rhaeto-Romanic dictionary. However, the atmosphere at Lia Rumantscha was less optimistic due to historical challenges in creating a standardised Rhaeto-Romanic language for all speakers. A humorous remark from Daniel at Lia Rumantscha came about when David mentioned the absence of a national flag for Romansh: "A flag? We should have five of them."
In July, Louis and Leah traveled to the "HIGA! 2023-Summit" in Vitoria Gasteiz/Basque Country to gain insights into minoritised languages worldwide. Leah focused on exploring minority language activism and expanding her understanding of minority languages, especially those outside Europe. Inspired by the summit, she actively incorporated Yiddish into her daily life using a technique learned at the event. She found the cultural cue of using the Basque phrase "Urte Askotarako!" to express a desire for lasting connections very appealing.
At "HIGA!", Louis gained insights into the situations of global minorities, realising that the challenges faced by different minorities vary significantly. Simultaneously, he observed many common problems that, in his view, require joint consideration. The unique conference system used at "HIGA!" fascinated him and offered ideas for future formats in YEN. Both Leah and Louis found the "HIGA! 2023-Summit" to be an enriching experience, providing a global perspective on minority language activism and inspiring new initiatives in their respective communities.
In July, before attending "HIGA!", Louis gained similar experiences during a study visit to the folk music festival of the Sorbian community in eastern Germany. It marked his first encounter with the Sorbians, revealing both similarities and differences. The event provided him with new insights into traditional music and culture, sparking his interest in integrating this perspective into his own minority community. A notable realisation from the visit was the recognition of a cross-cultural exchange, where the Sorbian community drew inspiration from Louis' school in Brittany while also serving as an example to the Basque people.
Louis' explorations continued in August with a visit to the Assyrian community in Sweden, which coincided with a memorial day for the Assyrian genocide. It became clear how much the community in Södertälje has established itself since the 1970s and how much the language and culture have been preserved over generations. He was impressed by the multifaceted Assyrian organisation, which includes media, sport and a women's office. The determination and resilience of the Assyrian community left a lasting impression on him and made him want to introduce similar practices in his own minority. A poignant moment of the visit was the warm welcome Louis received.
Following an inspiring encounter with members of the Roma community in Greece during a study session at a youth center of the Council of Europe organised by Ergo Network and ternYpe, Leah decided to visit the Roma community in Thessaloniki at the end of the year. There, she became aware of the structural discrimination facing the Roma community. A dedicated Roma activist shared insights into neighborhood segregation, where many Roma are compelled to reside in areas lacking basic infrastructure like electricity and water. Simultaneously, there are "too-integrated" neighborhoods where only a few can openly identify as Roma. Despite the heterogeneity within the Roma community posing challenges for forming a unified organisation, Leah connected with various groups fighting against structural discrimination.
One such organisation is the NGO "Reyma," dedicated to combating antigypsyism and advocating for the visibility of the Roma community. Similarly committed is the women's association "Light House of the World Pharos Kutamo". Leah discovered how these organisations specifically address the diverse needs of the heterogeneous Roma community.
Sophie, a member of the Sorbian Minority in Germany, connected with some newfound friends from the Danish Minority at YEN's Autumn Seminar in 2023. Eager to strengthen these bonds, she decided to pay them a visit from the 11th to the 17th of December in Copenhagen. There she stayed in a shared house of 18 members of the danish youth organisation Sydslesvigs danske Ungdomsforeninger (SDU), that the King of Denmark provided for the Danish Minority from Germany.
During the 11th till 17th December Sophie immersed herself in the traditional Danish Julefrokost, a festive blend of Christmas dinner and party. One of the highlights of Sophie's cultural exploration was getting acquainted with the Julenisse tradition. This age-old custom involves the exchange of gifts within a group in the lead-up to Christmas.
Sophie's journey to Copenhagen became not just a visit but a welcomed participation into the Danish culture. The remarkable solidarity among people of the same minority left a lasting impression on her.
YEN’s partner project RISE UP held its first networking event on 6th November 2023. It was a great success with almost 100 participants from all over the world who came to learn more about digital tools and how they can benefit minoritised language groups. A few members of YEN’s member organisations also took part. Presentations […]
The Autumn Seminar 2023, co-hosted by Youth of European Nationalities (YEN) and Vajdasági Ifjúsági Fórum (VIFÓ), a youth organisation of the Hungarian minority in Serbia, welcomed 16 young participants (and 15 young team members) from 10 autochthonous, national and linguistic minorities from all over Europe in Pálić, Serbia. The event not only provided a space […]
The “Synergy | Synergija” Diversity Festival 2023, held in Trieste/Trst, Italy, was a remarkable celebration of cultural exchange. Between the 24th and the 30th ofJuly 2023, 32 young people from 13 autochthonous, national, and linguistic minorities from all over Europe came together to explore artistic forms of expression. It was co-hosted by YEN and Društvo […]
The Youth of European Nationalities (YEN) is looking for participants for the Autumn Seminar – “Tradition in Transition”. The event will take place in Subotica, Serbia from the 16th – 22nd October 2023 and will be hosted by the youth organisation of the Hungarian minority in Serbia “Vajdasági Ifjúsági Fórum” (VIFÓ). About the Autumn Seminar […]
The Youth of European Nationalities (YEN) and Društvo mladih Slovencev v Italiji (DM+) are looking for participants for the Diversity Festival “SINERGIJA | SYNERGY”. The event will take place in Trst/Trieste, Italy from the 24th – 30th July 2023 and will be organised by Društvo mladih Slovencev v Italiji (DM+)and the Youth of European Nationalities […]