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Youth exchange: community engagement across generations
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Jun 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The seminar “Youth exchange: community engagement across generations” brought together youth workers from the European AFS network aiming to open up the world of youth exchanges for more involvement and learning across generations, leading to better overall participation, inclusion and solidarity of young people with the society as a whole. The specific objectives for the participants were to: - discuss different needs, as well as educational opportunities, of different age groups in local communities impacted by long-term exchanges, - empower the role of young people as protagonists and facilitators of learning in host families of exchange programmes, as well as in the broader intergenerational context of the society, - share local realities, different cultural approaches and existing practices of intergenerational learning between the different countries represented, - work on improved non-formal educational methods for youth organisations to facilitate mutual intercultural learning across generations, - share and discuss the seminar findings with a group of local Swedish volunteers (thanks to the joint session with the AFS national assembly), - formulate follow-up action plans for the participating youth workers and their organisations, to increase community outreach and intergenerational impact of long-term exchanges. The event took place in Sigtuna, Sweden, and involved 24 participants and 5 facilitators/support staff from 16 European countries. AFS Interkulturell Utbildning, as the applicant organisation, co-ordinated the partnership and played the hosting role, however the coordinating task was supported by EFIL (European AFS umbrella), and each promoter co-shaped the project at different stages. During the 4-day programme participants explored the potential and learning needs of different players in intercultural exchange, shared cultural and organisational realities and best practices, worked on concrete educational methods for learning across generations, to then formulate recommendations and future plans for the participating organisations. The programme also included an interaction with Swedish AFS volunteers, thanks to a joint session with the national AFS assembly. Through interactive participatory methods and peer learning, the competence existing among participants and their organisations was used. As key multipliers, participants have and will pass knowledge onto other youth workers and volunteers in their countries who directly contribute to the quality and more structured approach to intergenerational learning within the context of long-term youth exchange. The outcomes of the project are thus benefitting a great number of younger and older Europeans involved directly and indirectly in exchange organisations, stimulating their intercultural competences, as well as active participation in local communities.
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