European Youth Forum Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

The European Youth Forum was joined by the President and Prime Minister of Lithuania earlier in the month when it celebrated its tenth anniversary.

The European Youth Forum celebrated its tenth anniversary this month as it elected a new leadership for 2007-08 during its General Assembly (GA) attended by the President and Prime Minister of Lithuania.

The current Vice President Bettina Schwarzmayr, 27, from Austria, was elected as the new President of the Forum for the 2007-08 session. A majority also voted to extend the mandate of the existing Secretary General, Diogo Pinto, for a further two years.

Ms Schwarzmayr said in her closing speech that, "Through times of genuine change in the European and global sphere, the Youth Forum - now 10 years old - has proved to be resilient and is building cooperation in the face of division."

She called upon the GA to play an active role, saying that the EYF "must not be bystanders, but be actors at the forefront of social change".

"By virtue of its strength and...diverse membership and resources, the Youth Forum is a very privileged organisation, and this privilege places a large responsibility on the new leadership of the organisation," she said.

Delegates at the GA were honoured by the presence of both the President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, and the country's Prime Minister, Gediminas Kirkilas, as well as representatives from the European Union and the Council of Europe.

Mr Adamkus welcomed the visible results of young people fostering democratic values and engaging in the public life of the European continent.

He said that " the voice of young people who voluntarily participate in the work of non governmental and civil organisations will be heard and discussed at all political levels, European, national and local".

The GA, held from 9 to 12 November in Vilnius, Lithuania, also adopted Strategic Priorities which will guide the organisation until 2012 and a Work Plan and budget for 2007-08.

The tenth anniversary celebrated the merger of the three youth platforms, the Youth Forum of the European Union, the Committee of European National Youth Councils and the European Coordination Bureau for International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations (INGYOs).

The European Free Alliance Youth (EFAY) joined the Youth Forum at the GA.

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