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The Coronavirus pandemic presents major challenges for the European and international youth work community given that since March 2020, in-person exchanges have been subject to severe restrictions. IJAB is working to develop viable formats, methods and instruments that are suitable for use in international youth work activities in the current circumstances. (Overview of these activities)
Special programme for child and youth work and education (Sonderprogramm Kinder- und Jugendarbeit und -bildung) Owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, youth hostels and youth education centres have experienced major financial losses. The Federal Youth Ministry (Bundesjugendministerium) has launched a special programme worth 100 million euros to support not-for-profit child and youth education and child and youth work institutions that are in financial difficulties owing to the pandemic.
By signing a joint declaration in Beijing on 24 May 2017, the governments of the People's Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Germany committed their respective countries to establishing a high-level dialogue to promote and support cultural and social exchange. The new dialogue between civil society concentrates on the areas of education, culture, society, language, media, sport and youth. The dialogue takes place at the highest political level and is an important platform to increase the visibility of the Chinese-German youth and expert exchange and to broaden the base of youth policy collaboration between China and Germany.
The latest initiative to promote international exchange between young people is the African-German Youth Initiative (Deutsch-Afrikanische Jugendinitiative, DAJ). DAJ is a political initiative by Engagement Global on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit, BMZ). Launched in 2016, it strengthens exchanges between young people from African countries and Germany. The new funding line 'weltwärts – extracurricular exchange projects for young people in the context of Agenda 2030' (weltwärts – Außerschulische Begegnungsprojekte für junge Menschen im Kontext der Agenda 2030) was developed in conjunction with the African-German Youth Initiative. The Marshall Plan with Africa (Afrika und Europa - Neue Partnerschaft für Entwicklung, Frieden und Zukunft) submitted by BMZ proposes expanding the initiative into an Erasmus programme with Africa to promote youth exchange.
The pilot phase of the 'South-North exchange' mechanism (Süd-Nord-Komponente) under the 'weltwärts' volunteer programme was extended until the end of 2019. It is being implemented together with the Federal Volunteer Service (Bundesfreiwilligendienst, BFD) of BMFSFJ. The 'South-North exchange' gives young people from the Global South the opportunity to take part in a volunteer programme in Germany.
The German-Greek Youth Office (Deutsch-Griechisches Jugendwerk, DGJW), a Federal Government project along the lines of the German-Franco and German-Polish Youth Offices, seeks to strengthen relations between young Germans and Greeks and create greater understanding between the two groups. It is nearing completion, with an agreement to establish the Youth Office signed in July 2019 by State Secretaries Antje Leendertse (Federal Foreign Office/Auswärtiges Amt) and Juliane Seifert (Federal Family Ministry/Bundesfamilienministerium) and Greece’s Secretary-General for Youth, Pafsanias Papageorgiou, in Berlin. Once further negotiations are concluded on the articles of association of the Youth Office, the German secretariat in Leipzig will start operating as soon as possible. The location of the Greek secretariat is Thessaloniki.
Information on developments in the area of international youth exchanges can also be found in the Youth Wiki Chapter on Youth Policy Governance.
Current discourse on global issues in the area of youth policy mainly relates to the impact of the Coronavirus crisis, integration of young refugees, radicalisation of young people, extremism and racism, and climate protection. The killing of George Floyd, a black American citizen, by a white police officer on 25 May 2020 was instrumental in re-igniting the anti-racism debate and the decolonisation movement, also and especially among young people. The climate debate is dominated by the Fridays for Future movement, a grassroots demonstration and strike movement by and for school students.