Worlds of Experience: International Cultural Youth Exchange
an article by International Cultural Youth Exchange
Annually over 1000 young people from around the
world engage in short and long-term voluntary
service programmes and activities through the ICYE
Federation alone, and through this they make a
difference in society.
Elisabeth Kapplmueller, Austrian volunteer in Ecuador
click on photo to enlarge
In its programme guide, the European Commission
recognizes volunteering as ‘an essential element
in active citizenship: by giving one’s time for
the benefit of others, volunteers service their
community and play an active role in society’.
Volunteering therefore has the potential to
develop citizens’ commitment to society and to
political life in society. 2013 has been declared
the European Year of Citizens.
In this issue, entitled “Active Citizenship through
Volunteering”, we shift the emphasis to ‘active’
citizens and make links between international
volunteering and global citizenship.
ers Voices", eight current volunteers from
across the four continents present their insight
on their roles as volunteers and active players in
citizenship building through thoughtful narrations
and playful anecdotes.
A good starting point is the German volunteer in
Colombia who states that volunteering in social
projects and thus active citizenship is not about
politics but about people.
A US-American in Denmark tells us that the amount of
spiritual and existential growth is worth every
second of his time abroad.
An Austrian in Ecuador explains that the smiles and
hugs she gets from the elderly women in her project
make it all worthwhile.
An Italian volunteer in Finland sees volunteering
as a resource that creates a change in
perspectives and shows one a different way to
Likewise, a German in India states that in
addition to serving others, volunteering also
sharpens your own worldview.
Another German in South Africa says she’s there to
learn about another culture, another land, about
herself, and to give back – even if it’s through a
Another feels that by volunteering, she is not
‘helping’ but supporting people on the other side
of the world, and as such she feels part of New
Lastly, an Indian in Iceland sums it up for us:
Active citizenship through volunteering defines
what volunteers are about, divided by thought and
individuality but brought together by community
and caring. We hope that on reading these essays,
each one of us, as citizens of the world, take
steps to intervene, to critically reflect and to
initiate social change.Lastly, an Indian in
Iceland sums it up for us: Active citizenship
through volunteering defines what volunteers are
about, divided by thought and individuality but
brought together by community and caring. We hope
that on reading these essays, each one of us, as
citizens of the world, take steps to intervene, to
critically reflect and to initiate social change.
Question(s) related to this article:
Is there a renewed movement of solidarity by the new generation?,
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LATEST READER COMMENT:
from Javier Collado Ruano, Director of Edition at Global Education Magazine, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity.
Solidarity is a trans-dimensional phenomenon that goes beyond the ontological essence of human nature. In fact, when we analyze the connections between the microcosm and the macrocosm, we perceive that human beings are not involved in chaos and arbitrariness, but belongs to the large network of interdependencies, complementarities and reciprocities that constitute life. The emergence of life on Earth, around 3,8 billion years ago, was a complex process of exceptional natural phenomena, inherent in all living systems. A process which is expressed through unlimited creativity: mutation, gene exchange, and symbiosis. From a cosmo-biological perspective, we can understand a new conceptual dimension of life, where all living beings share same basis of genetic code: the twenty amino-acids and four phosphatic bases. In fact, the diversity of living beings is caused by the combination of this cosmo-bio-genetic basis.
This trans-dimensional perspective has a deep ecological and spiritual sense for our worldview because the human evolutionary adventure is the latest stage of life on Earth. The modern human being is a vertebrate animal, mammal, belonging to the primates, which emerged 200,000 years ago. In recent centuries he has imposed its anthropocentric, industrial and capitalist vision to the detriment of Pachamama (and Indigenous goddess known as earth mother). We consume around 120% of the natural resources that Earth Mother regenerats annually. Our consumer behavior is immersed in a fatalistic dynamic with a destiny to climate change (deforestation, loss of biodiversity, ozone, etc.), and our own self-destruction as a species.
There is an urgent need to get beyond the cognitive fallacy that the mental structures of social Darwinism and capitalist postulates of the 19th century have historically constituted, because they only understand natural and social systems as warmongers and competitive processes whereby species diverge from each other. . ...more.