Youth offices: Getting to know and understand each other
International youth offices intensify the exchange among young people from different countries and give young people an opportunity to learn about the culture and language of the partner country, thus strengthening the European ideal. This is about getting to know and understanding each other, about diversity and equal opportunities as well as joint projects for civic Engagement.
The task of the German-Greek Youth Office will be to foster exchange between young people from Germany and Greece. It offers them opportunities to really get to know each other, to learn from the past and to shape their shared present and future in Europe together. After the conclusion of further negotiations with Greece on the internal statute of the Youth Office, the German office will take up its work in Leipzig and the Greek office in Athens.
The Franco-German Youth Office was set up in 1963 and the German-Polish Youth Office followed in 1991. The German-Greek Youth Office is thus the third of its kind. The agreement on the establishment of the Youth Office was signed in Berlin on 4 July by State Secretaries Antje Leendertse (Federal Foreign Office) and Juliane Seifert (Ministry for Family Affairs) together with the Greek General-Secretary for Lifelong Learning and Youth, Pafsanias Papageorgiou.
The trailblazer: the Franco-German Youth Office
The pioneer in close exchange between young people is the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO), the foundation for which was laid on 22 January 1963 with the signing of the Elysée Treaty between Germany and France. Since then, the FGYO has enabled around nine million young people from Germany and France to take part in exchange programmes; every year more than 9000 language, sport, exchange or culture programmes are funded. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty and the FGYO, the Youth Office was awarded the Adenauer-de Gaulle Prize for its successful work.
German-Polish Youth Office
The German-Polish Youth Office (GPYO), modelled on the Franco-German Youth Office, was set up in 1991. The aim was for the DPYO to enable young people from Poland and Germany to get to know their neighbours, to strike up friendships and to overcome prejudices. Since the start of the exchange work in 1993, the DPYO has brought together almost three million young people through its projects – be it through joint environmental projects, theatre workshops or a field hockey tournament.