Themes and
Guest Speakers

Children and Young People – the effects of early adversity on human development

Why do human beings behave in the way that they do? Why does their behaviour often seem irrational, reactive, and lacking in explanation? In their role as Youth Workers, practitioners are trained (and more importantly compelled) to manage the day-to-day outworking’s of certain behaviours but in a non-judgemental way without (perhaps) truly understanding why things happen in the way or manner that they do. Knowing how early adverse experiences can influence human development is key to understanding human behaviour. Supported by discoveries in neuroscience, greater familiarity with Aha! moments make it much easier to understand why people behave in the way they do! This 30-minute input will increase your knowledge of those moments and help inform and shape your future practice.

Trevor Spratt

Professor in Childhood Research, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Having worked for some 10 years in social work practice with children and families my research interests are in this area. These include, decision making by professionals, how policy objectives are translated into professional practises, the development of child protection systems internationally, and the impact of early adversities in childhood as realised across the life-course. I currently am based in Trinity College Dublin where I am a Director of the Trinity Research in Childhood Centre.

Positive Psychology: Resilience - The new panacea

Historically, psychology has focused on fixing problems or resolving issues from the past that enabling individuals to move forward and approach the rest of their life more with more positivity, having put the problem or issue ‘to bed.’ The belief has always been that something happened in the past and it needs to be dealt with. Positive Psychology changes that thinking and urges individuals to concentrate on ‘the positive,’ as the means by which they can move forward rather than being hamstrung by the past. This short input will give an overview and provide evidence of how Positive Psychology works and will offer ideas and thoughts you can adopt and ideas you can adapt to suit your practice.

Jo Wilkie

Psychologist, Casa Centro America

Jo is a British intercultural psychologist specialised in the promotion of resilience and mental health and migration. She has lived and worked all over the world and is presently living in Barcelona with her Guatemalan husband and 3 teenage children. She has worked in diverse organisations and many sectors over the years and recently has worked as an online dialogue facilitator for Erasmus Virtual exchange and also as a tutor for Unicaf online Pan African university. She is interested in promoting resilience with different groups and over the last few years has worked mainly with young people from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. Before becoming a psychologist, she worked in music. She has lived in 7 countries and speaks 3 languages.

Digital – No turning back!

Who would have thought Covid-19 would have driven the Digital Agenda in the way it has. Twenty-twenty will be etched in the memory of humanity forever, in part because we have the ability to record it in real-time and store it unlike times when the world was previously struck by pandemics. In response, the Youth Work and Training Community has had no option but to adapt, at a much greater pace than previously imagined, and one consequence is that almost all meetings, trainings, seminars, etc have moved on-line. This will no doubt shape delivery and practice in ways to come forever – there is seemingly no going back! This input offers an overview on how delivery has been shaped not only in 2020 but the direction of travel over the last few years and the inevitability of Team Digital in youth work.

Nenja Wolbers

Digital Opportunities Foundation

Since 2013, Nenja Wolbers has been a Project Manager at Digital Opportunities Foundation (SDC), which represents about 6.000 telecentres in Germany. She is responsible for the development and implementation of various EU funded projects with international consortia with the objective to promote the digital inclusion of marginalized groups. During this time, she organised the Get Online Week in Germany and other participatory campaigns.

Nenja is an experienced online trainer and creator of online learning units. Nenja holds a Masters degree in Sociology with specialization in European Societies. She wrote her thesis about the European social integration process, analysing the influence of people’s life experience on their perception of the EU. Seeing the importance of Europeanization, she believes that digital media is one key pillar for Europe to grow further together.

Entrepreneur – Room for everyone!

We live in radically changing times – among them, automation (which has been steadily replacing the jobs previously performed by people), the growth of on-line technologies and increases in mental health issues including depression, anxiety and stress. This has led to an ‘explosion’ in the promotion of what could be considered as one broad message – you need to be fixed, you need to change, you need to adapt, you need to innovate, you need to be more entrepreneurial to meet the challenge of the future head on. If we are to survive the future, how entrepreneurial do we have to be and more importantly, can there be room for everyone? What are the implications of this approach? There are those that say there can be room for everyone – let’s find out!

Adnane Addioui

Moroccan Centre for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship

Adnane Addioui is an Ashoka Fellow, social commentator, social entrepreneur, and disruptive thinker, who has committed his life to work in the MENA region, particularly Morocco, enabling creative thinking, entrepreneurship, and innovation for the common good. He has co-founded the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship where he currently serves as Chief Visionary. He is the former Country Director for Enactus Morocco, a World Bank-IMF Fellow, and an active member of the Junior Chamber International.

Thinking outside the Erasmus+ Box: A fresh look at funding opportunities for non-formal educators

Over the last decade or so, the European Youth Work community has seen a vast increase in funding and resources. The last cycle of Erasmus+ saw a commitment of £17bn with 10% of that exclusively for what was known as the Youth Chapter. The budget for the new Erasmus programme has doubled offering unparalleled levels of funding. During the last 10 or more years, various communities of practice have emerged, among them most notably, a community of Trainers. However, running parallel to this has been a growing dependency on Erasmus to subsidise programming and careers as many Trainers have responded to calls to innovate and address identified need.

Covid, has inadvertently shone a light on what in many respects has become a dependency culture, where outside of Erasmus, many practitioners do not look beyond this bubble for alternative forms of funding. Recent research by The Bazaar backs this up. This input aims to demonstrate that there are alternatives to Erasmus, they do exist, are eminently accessible. Even before the emergence of Covid, arguably the non-formal sector needed to develop an approach that takes cognisance of this. Want to find out more about some alternatives and leave better informed about how you can access other opportunities, then this is the space for you.

Damian Borowski &
Patrick Barth

Bor & Bar UG

In the grant funding world Damian is a rare species. His 10-year career has seen him work for national and European funding agencies as well as private grant writing consultancies. Prior to founding BOR&BAR, Damian served as Managing Director in a leading transatlantic public affairs firm specialising in government incentives. He was also working for the EU Commission, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Polish Embassy in Germany. Outside of BOR&BAR, Damian is an award-winning craft beer brewer.

Patrick worked as a public affairs consultant for more than 5-years in Brussels (Belgium), specialising in the design and delivery of technology and industrial focused political campaigns aimed at European policy makers. In 2013, Patrick relocated to Berlin (Germany) to head up the European Grants & Incentives practice of an international management consultancy. Patrick co-founded BOR&BAR in late 2018 in order to deliver a different type of ‘grant funding’ consulting service focused on helping clients access the wider benefits of grant programmes.

Mind your own business –
sustainability in an unstable world

The need to take care of our planet is paramount. Covid has occupied our minds for 12 months but inadvertently contributed to a reduction in pollution. Equally, that was more by coincidence than by design. Covid has dominated agendas everywhere to the detriment of the Climate Agenda. We need to ensure it does not slip from people’s agendas, and when we emerge from Covid, it will once again take centre stage.

It is estimated that we have 10 years or even less now, a tipping point as it were, to retrieve the situation or irreparable damage will have been visited upon the Earth and the legacy will be left to our children and grandchildren. As a community of practitioners what is our role in this? Do we consider our responsibilities? What about the business of Youth Work? Are we contributing to the disaster that awaits us? In this presentation, you will find out the types of steps that we, humanity, need to take so that we can begin to mind our own business and make sustainable contributions in a very unstable world.

Gürer Firat Dervişoğlu

DB Schenker Arkas

I am Gürer Fırat Dervişoğlu, born in 1983 in Turkish Republic. I started to attend youth camps when I was a teenager and then I became a youth worker with the start of my university years. After graduating from university, I could not just step into the business life and thus, I chose to be employed in EU projects. I had worked both in the project creation and in implementation for the fields of environment and education until I hit the 30-years-old age. With my new age, I moved to Istanbul and became a white collar (welcome business life). Now, I work for an international logistics company as a support function and my responsibilities include Compliance, Management Systems, Business Processes and most importantly Environment. I love to ride bicycle, play table tennis, running and spend time in nature. I cannot define how a good coffee should taste like, but I do have a taste of good music.

Values – We are our values!

Values that we take for granted in the non-formal sector tend to have a broad consensus. We almost intrinsically know what they are, and the spaces they occupy in our practice. Values change, and they change with people. Values we hold dear and perhaps even close to our hearts seem to have been under increasing pressure in recent times.

Trump’s America, Europe’s failure to address the issue of migrants and refugees coming to its shores, the varying approaches of respective governments to Covid and austerity, domestic policy decisions by Polish and Hungarian governments respectively are just some examples of the deep fault lines in values among individuals, politics, regions, countries, and continents.

In many respects, values are relative, relative to people who live in a particular area or region, for example, the UK and BREXIT. Not everyone supported BREXIT, but the majority of the voting population voted for it, and therefore is arguably relative to the views of people in the UK at a given moment. A question in response might - who are we, the rest of the world to complain, question or dictate what the UK does? But does it mean it is only relative in that moment to those it affects?

What are the challenges of an international youth work community that stretches across an entire continent but don’t always agree on what youth work actually is? How do we reconcile this notion of relative values within a broader values context and uphold these across national boundaries? Do we need to take clear positions and alienate others, or does this then contravene some of our values when we accept and respect the wishes of others? In this session, we will explore questions like these further.

Yossef Ben-Meir

President, High Atlas Foundation

Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir is founder and president of the High Atlas Foundation, a Moroccan-U.S. not-for-profit organization dedicated to sustainable development. In Morocco, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer (1993-95), Associate Peace Corps Director (1998-99), and a Professor at Al Akhawayn University at the School of Social Sciences and Humanities (1998-1999). Dr. Ben-Meir holds a PhD in sociology from the University of New Mexico (2009), an MA in international development from Clark University (1997), and a BA in economics from New York University (1991). He is the author of more than 100 articles about development.

Identity – being all things to everyone!

Humanity expects us to be one of several established personality types, and that we should behave in set ways, and that deviation from this should not only be discouraged but is wrong. A narrative exists where we need to have a consistent and fixed identity, that we can’t be multiple identities, that we can only be ying or yang, black or white, and not anything in between or even remotely grey.

As expectations of various behaviours grow, and in a more competitive, demanding, and right or wrong world, we need to be all things to everyone, and behave accordingly in every situation we find ourselves in, how can we manage this? How can we meet such expectations?

This presentation looks at the growth of the idea, i.e., situationism, where there is no fixed personality, there is no consistency, and that behaviour depends on the situation that humans find themselves in, that they will behave in accordance with their needs in a given moment and not necessarily in accordance with our expectations. In this session we will explain how there is no fixed personality.

Lela Akiashvilli

Advisor to the Prime Minister of Georgia on Human Rights and Gender Equality, Administration of the Government of Georgia

With 12-year professional experience in several countries, Ms. Akiashvili currently serves as the Advisor to the Prime-Minister of Georgia on Human Rights and Gender Equality. She leads the Prime Minister’s Human Rights team that aims to strengthen human rights protection machinery in the country, introduce human rights-based approaches in public policymaking, enhance principles of institutional democracy and the rule of law. Ms. Akiashvili is co-chairing the Prime Minister’s Human Rights Council and chairing the Interagency Gender Equality Council.

Ecological Warfare – Joining All the Dots

When we talk or hear about ecology, we tend to think of the planet – rivers, oceans, plants, wildlife, etc. We tend to think about it in the frame of things not human, i.e., things that belong to the planet and we do not really make the connection between these things and, us.

Our role and place in the ecology of the planet is much greater than we can possibly imagine but either we don’t really know, or we don’t really understand this relationship, but it is becoming not only more apparent as we deal with a multitude of issues looking into the future. To be equipped to deal with these challenges we need to better understand how our every action has a consequence, the impact of which can be immense, and in this session, we will increase understanding of how this is - the dots will be joined. It is time to stop procrastinating, it’s time to challenge ourselves – it’s time for Ecological Warfare!

Susanna Holowati

Founder of Embodytopia

Susanna is founder and Embodied Change Facilitator at Embodytopia and helps purpose-driven people and businesses to follow their purpose, thrive and have a higher impact in this world.

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