Cross youth in Europe
focus on HIV/AIDS and discrimination
Youth representatives from 44 National Red
Cross and Red Crescent Societies gathered at the Italian Red
Cross Training Centre in Jesolo Lido, 40 km from Venice for
the biennial European Cooperation Meeting (ECM), a pan-European
event that has been going strong since 1992.
The main themes of the meeting reflect the topics discussed
at the sixth European Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference,
which took place in Berlin in 2002: health and care in the
community, and migration. Within these broad areas, the meeting
focused on HIV/AIDS and tolerance — issues of particular
interest and relevance to young people in Europe. Other invited
organizations, such as Young Positive, Villa Maraini, Reach
Out and European Youth Forum, also participated in workshops.
Participants, who include youth representatives from other
parts of the world, also had the chance on Saturday 28 June
to take part in the annual torchlight Fiaccolata procession,
which commemorates the historical route taken in June 1859
by wounded soldiers from the battle of Solferino to Castiglione.
It was at the battle of Solferino that the young Henry Dunant
organized volunteers to assist the wounded and dying and sowed
the seeds for the creation of the Red Cross.
"This was quite an inspiring experience for the young
people who are shaping the present and the future of National
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies," said the International
Federation's youth officer, Roberta Zuchegna.
The youth representatives elected a new European Coordination
Committee that will ensure the continuity of the work until
the next ECM in 2005. The members of the new committee are
Katarina Bivald (Sweden), Ieva Brinkmane (Latvia), Andriy
Budnyk (Ukraine), Frederike de Graaf (Netherlands), Claire
Schocher (Austria), Marcel Stefanik (Slovakia) and Signe Winding
(Denmark). These members have the mandate to follow up the
outcomes of the meeting and organize ECM 2005. More information
on the committee can be found at www.ifrc.org/youth/ecc