The road ahead – YFU Germany’s course is set on impact
July 25, 2021 22:53

When we celebrate an anniversary, we tend to look back. In celebrating 70 years of YFU, we look back on the history of our organization, on how our programs and our network have developed and on how many lives YFU has touched over seven decades. We take a moment to reflect on the past and celebrate the achievements – as we should. An anniversary, however, is also a perfect occasion to look ahead and talk about what lies ahead and which road we want our organization to take.

So what lies ahead for YFU, in this increasingly interconnected and complex world that faces a climate crisis as well as social crises which hit the core of what YFU is about? What kind of organization do we want YFU to be 5, 10, 70 years from now?

Led by our board and governing volunteer bodies, YFU Germany discussed these questions last year and finally adopted a new strategy for 2025. The strategy lays a focus on YFU's role not only as a provider of exchange experiences, but as a civil society actor. What we do makes a difference, what we do has an impact – on the individual program participant and their community as well as our volunteers, who more than often choose careers or start initiatives with a social or political agenda. We make an impact on society.

And we want this impact to be seen, to last and to reach those who are often harder to reach. Therefore, our strategy is centered around two main topics and major challenges our society is facing: social justice and ecological sustainability. We are going to tackle those challenges and find answers to questions we did not really dare to address in the past.

How socially inclusive are we as an organization? What effect do social bias and racism have on the way we organize and market our programs, select our participants, work with each other as volunteers and staff? Should we promote programs that include long distance flights and foster global mobility, while the climate crisis is already right here?

To quote our strategy: “Ecological and social justice are an integral part of our educational work.” This is where we are headed in YFU Germany, wanting every young person to have the chance to make the world their home, making sure future generations will have a world to make their home. And we are looking forward to taking our partners with us on this journey.

Thomas Hammer, YFU Germany