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“Awareness in Action!” – The 10th European AYUDH Youth Initiative

The 10th European AYUDH Youth Initiative “Awareness in Action” was an overwhelming success. Nearly 300 youth between the ages of 15 and 30 years gathered from 13th – 20th July 2014 at M.A. Center Germany, Brombachtal.

For the first time participants from Brasil, Turkey, Quatar and Russia took part in the initiative, making it a total of 23 nationalities present.

The general theme of the initiative was how to use awareness as a tool to develop more health in our body, mind, social networks and the ecosystem of our planet.

Visit to Strasbourg

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of AYUDH in Europe, the youth visited the EU Parliament in Strasbourg on July 17th. In collaboration with the Parliament AYUDH organized a conference, entitled “Strengthening Europe through Youth Empowerment”. The event highlighted the success of AYUDH in implementing the EU’s youth strategy, specifically through the ‘youth in action’ programme of the European Commission, which has supported AYUDH since 2007. [link]

Keynote speaker was Swami Amritaswarupananda, Vice Chairman, MA Math. Other speakers were Mr. Frank Engel, Member of European Parliament from Luxembourg, Ms. Deirdre Clune, Member of European Parliament from Ireland, Mr. Miltiadis Kyrkos, Member of European Parliament from Greece and Ms. Martine Reicherts, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. AYUDH members also presented a statement on youth strategies and development, which was the result of debates and dialogue between the youth during the days before the conference.

After the event the youth went to the city center of Strasbourg to do a flash mob, conveying the ideals of AYUDH through song and dance.

Inspiring Talks

Another highlight of the week was the talk, question & answer session and bhajans led by Swami Amritaswarupananda, Vice Chairman of Mata Amritanandamayi Math, at M.A. Center on July 16th. His talk touched upon a large variety of subjects highlighting how young people can develop more awareness in their thoughts, emotions and personal relationships. The other speakers were Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya, Bri. Dipamrita Chaitanya and Mr. Jani Toivola (Member of Parliament from Finland).

Awareness Groups

During one year prior to the youth summit, AYUDH members across Europe had met to discuss which topics they feel deserve more awareness in European society. They identified ten categories, including healthy nutrition, moderate lifestyle, participation in society and ecological sustainability. In multinational working groups these topics were explored in detail, with the assistance of a professional from the respective field. Based on these discussions the youth developed concrete action plans, which will be implemented as follow-up projects in their respective home countries.

16 Workshops

To deepen the topic of ‘awareness’ in practical and creative ways, participants could choose from 16 workshops: Archery, Kung-Fu, Improv-Acting, Permaculture, Photography, Artwork, Dance, Singing, Self-Awareness through interaction with horses, Sensitive Living, Tai-Chi, IAM-Meditation for youth, Yoga, InDeed sustainability campaign for school children and Clowning.

For the second time, an exclusive workshop in therapeutic harp playing was led by Christina Tourin, an internationally renowned harp player and pioneer in harp-therapy. In continuation to the workshop, six youth got enrolled in AYUDH’s HOPE (Harps Of PEace) project. Under this project they will receive a free harp and online lessons for the duration of one year. Together with their local AYUDH groups they can visit elder care homes and apply the healing benefits of music to body and spirit.

Permaculture Project

Upon the invitation of the city of Michelstadt, AYUDH went to a new permaculture demonstration site in Michelstadt to create six large vegetable beds and plant five walnut trees, representing the five continents. With a lot of joy and enthusiasm the youth also prepared beds for 23 fruit-trees, symbolic for the 23 nationalities present at the summit. Since the current season is not conducive to the planting of fruit trees, they will be planted during Amma’s visit to M.A. Center Germany later this year. Major Stefan Kelbert welcomed the youth to Michelstadt and expressed his gratitude and admiration for the successful collaboration between AYUDH and the city of Michelstadt over the past years.

Social Outreach

As a new social outreach project the AYUDH members decided to sponsor 200 sticks for a school for blind children in Thika, Kenya. As follow-up projects in their respective home countries the youth will organize fundraising events to raise donations for this cause. The ultimate goal of AYUDH is to extend the sponsorship program to all five existing schools for blind children in Kenya.

Cultivating Self-Awareness

Daily sessions in mediation, singing, tai chi and yoga offered the youth an opportunity to deepen their self-awareness and find more inner balance and inspiration.

As one of the EU’s 2014 priorities is ‘sports and healthy lifestyles’ the youth organized a sports tournament including soccer, volleyball, acrobatics, runnig, dance and archery.

Directed by Jani Toivola, the youth also shot a music video clip to the new AYUDH song “Be the First”. Each workshop group choreographed a scene in the video to display the diversity of activities during the summit.

Music Video: “be the first”

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of AYUDH a talent show was organized on July 19th, where the youth showed their skills in performing arts. It was a true celebration of the talent, cultural diversity and joy of AYUDH.

On July 20, Mr. Willi Kredel, the Mayor of Brombachtal, attended the summit and handed over certificates of participation to all those present. This AYUDH summit reached a new dimension of intercultural exchange, personal empowerment and project development.

Youth in Action

For the eight time the AYUDH youth initiative has been recognized by the European Union’s ‘Youth in Action’ programme. Over the years, AYUDH has been acknowledged as one of the best youth projects in Germany, which inspires a sense of active citizenship, solidarity and tolerance among young Europeans and involves them in shaping the Union’s future.

The initiative included youth from: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Greece, Slovenia, India, USA, Canada, Turkey, Brasil, Quatar, Sweden, Czech Republic, Russia.

The next AYUDH summit will take place at M.A. Center Germany in July 2015. If you are interested to join, subscribe to our newsletter to be informed about the application process.

Find out more at: http://www.ayudh.eu

Amma