2008 Youth pre-assembly in Rovereto, Italy

Religions for Peace
European Inter-religious Youth Network (EIYN)

Regional Meeting 2008

Rovereto, Italy
May 21-22, 2008

Forging Ahead With Hope

The regional meeting of European religious youth leaders, 21–22 May 2008 in Rovereto, Italy brought together 16 youth representatives of the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh faiths from 10 countries in Europe including Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and UK. The meeting was co-sponsored by Religions for Peace and the Campana Foundation. 

After the launch of the Religions for Peace – European Interreligious Youth Network (EIYN) in 2006, the journey of the EIYN from pre-Assembly meetings in Bakuriani, Georgia and Geneva, Switzerland to the present gathering in Rovereto, Italy was filled with both challenges and hope.  

During the two-day meeting, the youth assessed the need for the EIYN, evaluated the EIYN’s progress, and developed a strategic plan with which to move forward with their work for building, strengthening and equipping the EIYN.  The European multi-religious youth also elected an executive group of five members to represent the EIYN until the next annual meeting, tasked with the hiring of a part-time staff, and supervising the implementation of the first phase of the strategic plan. 

“Youth have a unique power for reconciliation and peace”
Rev. Kyoichi Sugino

The meeting concluded with the re-affirmation of the EIYN members’ commitment to the mission and vision of the EIYN to advance multi-religious cooperation for peace.Challenges and Plan of Action

One major challenge identified was the lack of a core group of committed individuals to serve as an executive body of the regional network.  The multi-religious youth then nominated and elected a group of five individuals (Christian (Catholic), Jewish, Muslim (Sufi and Sunni), and Sikh).  This core group of young religious leaders will serve as the executive body of the network for the period of one year or until the next regional meeting. Their duty is to represent the wider European network and make decisions on behalf of the EIYN, as well as supervise and monitor the implementation of the strategic plan.

Another major challenge identified by the participants was the critical need for support staff to serve the function of centralizing network communication, administration and fundraising.  The Assembly mandated the hiring of a part-time staff to serve the EIYN.  The core group elected at this meeting will oversee the hiring and supervision of said staff.  

Finally, the Assembly determined the need for a road map to guide the EIYN’s journey from Rovereto forward.  The three phases of the strategic plan that were developed are to be implemented over the next three to four years, and reviewed and revised by the EIYN according to the progress made.

Summary of the Action Plan

A Roadmap to the Future

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First phase: Building and Equipping (Time frame: 1 year)

  • Network building, equipping and coordination:
    • Hiring of part-time support staff for EIYN:
    • Identifying support staff
    • Identifying a location for the EIYN office, possibly in RfP legally registered countries (UK, Germany, France, Holland or Belgium)
    • Ensuring the training of the EIYN support staff
  • Network coordination:
    • Facilitating the sharing of information and communication between members

“In order to realize world peace, religious youth leaders have to create their own networks within which they can work to solve issues.”
Rev. Koichi Matsumoto
    • Building the network and knowledge database
    • Expanding membership
    • Realizing the website
  • Fundraising:
    • Ensuring the sustainability of the network
  • Preparations for the Next EIYN Meeting (Summer 2009):

Objectives:

  • Strengthening the EIYN:
  • Evaluation of the first phase
  • Reviewing the long term programme
  • Reviewing the composition of the Core Group

Implementation: EIYN support staff (WCRP Offices until staff hired)

Decision making and supervision: Core Group

Second phase: Strengthening (Time frame: 2 years, to be revised)

Network strengthening:

  • Expansion of network and knowledge database. 
  • Expanding membership

Fundraising:

  • Ensuring the sustainability of the network

Utilizing the added value of multi-religious cooperation on European regional and global level:

  • Facilitation of project partnerships between members by support staff
  • Realization of projects through support on the thematic, organizational and administrative level

Implementation of the reviewed roadmap

Preparations for the Next EIYN Meeting:

Objectives:

  • Action Oriented Multi-Religious Cooperation:
  • Evaluation of the second phase
  • Reviewing the long term programme
  • Reviewing the composition of the Core Group
  • Multi-religious Cooperation on a thematic level between EIYN members

Implementation: EIYN support staff

Decision making and supervision: Core Group

Third phase (Time frame:  TBD)

  • Continuing the work on building, equipping and strengthening the EIYN
  • Multi-religious cooperation and common action
  • Fundraising:
  • Ensuring the sustainability of the network
  • Implementation of the reviewed roadmap
  • Preparations for the Next EIYN Meeting

Implementation: EIYN support staff

Decision making and supervision: Core Group

“We need more than just a token youth organization,

we must act as a community – common unity –

without separating on age, gender, religion

we must find commonality in our humanity.”

Jehangir Sarosh

elected Core Group members

  • Lama Azab, Islam, France, WCRP-France
  • Nirankar Bansal, Sikhism, UK, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha
  • Taoufik Hartit, Islam (Sufi), Germany, Association Internationale Soufie Alawiya, WCRP-Germany
  • Julia Koszewska, Christianity (Catholic), Poland, Pax Romana (JECI-MIEC European Coordination)
  • Daniela Malec, Judaism, Poland, Czulent

European Inter-religious Youth Participants, Rovereto, Italy 2008

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  • Lama Azab, Islam, France, WCRP-France
  • Rachid Bajtit, Islam (Sufi), Germany, Association Internationale Soufie Alawiya
  • Nirankar Bansal, Sikhism, UK, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha
  • Michel Charbonnier, Christianity (Protestant), Belgium, Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe (EYCE)
  • Francesco Conte, UNESCO-Cat, Spain (Catalonia)
  • Katja Coordes, Christianity (Protestant), Germany 
  • Mei-chu Fan, Buddhism, UK, Buddha’s Light International Association, Young Adult Division
  • Taoufik Hartit, Islam (Sufi), Germany, Association Internationale Soufie Alawiya, WCRP-Germany
  • Julia Koszewska, Christianity (Catholic), Poland, Pax Romana (JECI-MIEC European Coordination)
  • Farah Maiza, Islam, France, WCRP-France
  • Daniela Malec, Judaism, Poland, Czulent
  • Joanna Parchimowicz, Buddhism, Poland, Tibet House Acala and Sam Dzub Ling Foundation
  • Pritpal Kaur Riat, Sikhism, UK, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha
  • Amin Rochdi, Islam, Germany
  • Emel Rochdi, Islam, Germany
  • Jaanus Teose, Christianity (Protestant), Sweden, World Student Christian Federation – Europe Region (WSCF-Europe)

Religions for Peace International Youth Committee

  • Daniel Barton, Christianity (Protestant), Czech Republic, Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe (EYCE)
  • Khatuna Tsintsadze, Christianity (Orthodox), Georgia, The Union “Century 21”

Observers

  • Rev. Koichi Matsumoto, Rissho Kosei-kai, Japan, Secretary General’s Special Advisor for Youth Affairs
  • Yuka Mizumo, Rissho Kosei-kai, Japan
  • Yas Sawahata, Rissho Kosei-kai, Representative in Geneva 
  • FABRICA Research Team
    • Valerie Gudenus, Graphic and Visual artist
    • Elizabeth Hingley, Photographer
    • Safeeyah Kharsany, Writer

Religions for Peace International Secretariat Staff

  • Kinza Ghaznavi, Program Officer for Youth and Network Coordination
  • Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Director of Inter-religious Council Development and Field Coordination
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