YES History
YES 2021

The YES is the biggest event organised by YFU today. It takes place every year at the end of June and lasts for a week.

Since 2002, the YES has taken place in Werbellinsee, Germany, gathering 100 volunteers and 500 students who get the chance to learn about international topics, but also to talk about their exchange experience with the volunteers and the other students.

The first time the YES (Year End Seminar) took place, in 1987, the main goal of the event was for the students to reflect on their exchange year and prepare them for reverse culture shock before arriving back home. The initiative started from the need to have a more coherent year-end seminar, back when not every YFU organisation was following the LOOP structure or did not even organize post exchange orientations.

To ensure that all the YFU exchange students have the same quality of post exchange orientation and to create a space where YFU students could meet peers who went in exchange to other countries, central European YFU organisations took the initiative to organize one large seminar, gathering students from all over Europe. The event served as a post-exchange reflection seminar as well as an opportunity for counseling and feedback to the YFU community.

The first years, the YES took place in Germany, gathering approximately 150 students. Afterwards, YFU Benelux and YFU Denmark also hosted the event in their countries, followed by YFU Czechoslovakia, YFU Switzerland, YFU Finland, YFU Norway, YFU Estonia, YFU Netherlands, YFU Hungary, YFU Romania, YFU Belgium, YFU Turkey, YFU Lithuania, YFU Austria and YFU France.

The growing number of participants made organizing more challenging, and more volunteers were needed to support the event. From early 2000, the organizing responsibility was shared between multiple countries, creating an international volunteer team that worked one year in advance to prepare the event.

In 2007, the name of the event was changed from Year End Seminar to Young Europeans’ Seminar, highlighting that the content would include more elements about the European identity and values. Every year, a leading topic was chosen by the Content Team, motivating students not only to reflect on their exchange year, but also on social issues, environment, migration, tolerance, nationalism and history.

Since then, the seminar became even more inclusive, and its goal was not only to empower young Europeans anymore but more widely to empower YFU youth from the entire world.

In 2021, the YES evolved and changed its name again, becoming Youth Empowerment Seminar, focusing its content on the global level – while still keeping most of the topics such as climate change, migration and equity. Supporting active citizenship and global competences remains a core part of the YES, along with the possibility it gives its participants to connect to the Global YFU Network.

We sincerely hope the YES will be able to return as an in-person event in 2022, and will offer again an opportunity to the YFU Global community to meet, engage and learn, and together make our world a better place.

YES themes trough the years

1987  European Consciousness: Minorities in Europe YFU Germany
1988 Environmental Protection YFU Germany
1989 Youth culture and the mass media YFU Denmark
1990 The changing map of Europe YFU Benelux
1991 Europe 1992 - and afterwards YFU Germany
1992 Are we a me-generation or a we-generation? YFU Benelux
1993 Environmental Concern - Unifying Europe? YFU Germany
1994 East/West vs. North/South relationship. YFU CS
1995 Ethnic Tension and Nationalism in Europe YFU Switzerland
1996 Crossing borders . An Identity Challenge YFU Denmark
1997 No man is an island - experiencing interdependence YFU Finland
1998 Europe entering the 3rd Millennium. Exploring Internationalism, Europeanism and Patriotism YFU Germany
1999 European Identity and the Environment YFU Benelux and YFU Switzerland
2000 European Identity and Social Exclusion – Marginalization of Youth YFU Denmark
2001 European Identity and Human Rights YFU CS and YFU Norway
2002 Post Cold War European Integration YFU Germany and YFU Hungary
2003 Polarisation in Societies and Conflict Resolution in a European Frame YFU Switzerland
2004 Young Europeans and Islam YFU Benelux and YFU Germany
2005 Intercultural Peace making in Europe. Mediation and conflict resolution. YFU Denmark and YFU Germany
2006 Promoting tolerance by means of intercultural dialogue YFU Estonia, YFU Finland and YFU Germany
2007 Exploring Islam - young Europeans in dialogue YFU France, YFU Belgium and YFU Germany
2008 Migration - living diversity YFU Hungary, YFU Romania and YFU Germany
2009 Exploring Freedom of Expression YFU Estonia, YFU Finland and YFU Germany
2010 Footprints - Our Responsibility as Global Citizens YFU France, YFU Belgium and YFU Germany
2011 A World without Borders - a European dream? YFU Hungary, YFU Romania and YFU Germany
2012 Social expectations: choice and obligation YFU Netherlands, YFU Sweden and YFU Germany
2013 Transitions: crossing bridges YFU Switzerland, YFU Lithuania and YFU Germany
2014 Passport through time YFU Denmark, YFU Turkey and YFU Germany
2015 Human rights in a Digitalised World YFU Romania, YFU Lithuania
2016 Young innovators changing our world
2017 Think free. Act free. Be free!
2018 Time for peace. Act now! YFU Germany, YFU Turkey
2019 Breaking through walls! YFU Romania, YFU Belgium, YFU CZ
2020 Interconnected! all volunteers
2021 Raise Your Reasons all volunteers