Youth of European ethnic groups

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The Youth of European Nationalities (YEN), also known under the English name Youth of European Nationalities known (YEN), the largest network of youth organizations of indigenous and national minorities in Europe. YEN represents the interests of young people belonging to national, ethnic and linguistic minorities under the slogan “Living Diversity”. At the moment there are 42 member organizations from 19 countries represented in YEN. The association has its official headquarters in Ljouwert in the Netherlands and its registered office in Berlin .

YEN advocates the interests of minorities, with a special focus on young people. Together with its member organizations, YEN strives for a dynamic, multicultural and, above all, multilingual Europe.

YEN sees itself as a self-determined and self-organized youth organization whose activities are carried out and determined by young people.


YEN was founded in 1984 as an independent, international, non-governmental youth organization (INGYO).

During a meeting of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) in Aosta, a youth committee was set up in 1963. In the following year, a first working session took place, which was to become the cornerstone of the traditional YEN annual congress, the "Easter seminar".

The first congress of the Youth Committee took place in Flensburg, Germany, in 1965 and was a great success with 25 minorities / ethnic groups represented.

In 1969, on the occasion of the 17th FUEN meeting in Aabenraa, Denmark, Armin Nickelsen (German from North Schleswig from Denmark) was elected first chairman of the FUEN youth committee, the forerunner of YEN.

Since the Easter seminar in 1977 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, there have been increasing efforts to emancipate from the parent organization FUEN. In 1984 the youth committee of FUEN was dissolved and the "Youth of European Ethnic Groups" (YEN) was founded as an independent organization on the Knivsberg in North Schleswig / Denmark.

Since then, YEN has been working as an independent international non-governmental youth organization (INGYO), which is recognized and promoted by the Council of Europe and the European Union. FUEN and YEN continue to share their common objectives. YEN is a corresponding member of FUEN and has a seat in the Presidium of FUEN.


The main focus of YEN's work is the preservation and development of the culture, language and rights of the European ethnic groups. A special focus is the work with adolescents and young adults. In the statutes, she advocates the safeguarding of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the basis of a federalist structure of European cooperation, which ensures the ethnic groups their self-administration and individual character.

Since it was founded in 1984 on the Knivsberg / Nordschleswig, YEN has shaped the activities of the minorities on a European level and at the same time influences the regional commitment of the member organizations.

In order to be able to guarantee this and to achieve your goals, a diverse and varied program is organized throughout the year. In addition to numerous engagements and exchanges with partners and other associations, seminars are also organized: the kick-off at the beginning of the year, the largest event, the traditional Easter seminar, the general meeting, which acts as the highest organ of the organization, the diversity festival in summer and the somewhat smaller autumn seminar. In addition, the organizations are networked through bi-, tri- and multilateral exchange, congresses, projects by young people for young people, as well as the expansion of communication and information media.

YEN is a member of the Federal Union of European Ethnic Groups (FUEN), the European Youth Forum and has advisory status in the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations ECOSOC .

YEN is administratively funded by the European Commission , the European Youth Office of the Council of Europe, the State of Schleswig-Holstein and the Autonomous Region of South Tyrol - Trentino .


All member organizations are democratic associations based mainly on youth work. The development, implementation and implementation of ideas and projects and the expansion of networking are based on the initiative and commitment of young people from the individual minorities.

Ordinary members

  • Frysk Ynternasjonaal contact - FYK (member since 1989)
  • Community of Young Hungarian Germans - GJU (member since 1991)
  • Hrvatski Akademiski Klub - HAK (founding member)
  • Club of Slovenian Students in Vienna - KSŠŠD (member since 1993)
  • Carinthian Student Association - KDZ (founding member)
  • MLADA EL (member since 1989)
  • Sydslesvigs danske Ungdomsforeninger - SdU (founding member)
  • Rökefloose / Jöögedfloose foont Nordfriisk Instituut (founding member)
  • Sudeten German Youth - SDJ (founding member)
  • Sorbian Youth Association PAWK eV (member since 1995)
  • German Youth Association for North Schleswig - DJN (founding member)
  • Giuventetgna Rumantscha - GiuRu / Independent youth organization of the Lia Rumantscha (founding member)
  • Südtiroler Jugendring - SJR / Young Generation in the SVP (founding member)
  • Mladi v Odkrivanju Skupnih Poti - MOSP (founding member)
  • Ruotsinsumalaiset Nuoret Sverigefinsk Ungdom - RSN (member since 1994)
  • Association of Youth of the German Minority in the Republic of Poland - BJDM (member since 1998)
  • Youth ring of the Russian Germans - JdR (member since 1999)
  • Vajdasági Ifjúsági Fórum - VIFO (member since 2003)
  • Young lace - JSP (member since 2004)
  • CroV (member since 2006)
  • CTArm (member since 2007)
  • VYCA - Vlach Youth Council of Albania (member since 2009)
  • Lunjina (members since 2011)
  • Magyar ifjúsagi értekezlet - MIÉRT (members since 2018)
  • Pomorania (members since 2007)

Associate members

  • Alsace-Lorraine People's Federation (founding member)
  • Carpathian German Youth - KDJ (members since 1998)
  • Magyarorszagi Gradistyei Horvat Fiatalok Egyesülete - MGHFE (member since 1999)
  • Bulgarian Youth Association of Hungary - BYA (member since 2000)
  • Grup dla mendranza ladina - GML (member since 2003)
  • German Youth in Ukraine - DJU (member since 2004)
  • Association of German Youth - ADJ (member since 2005)
  • Union of Hungarian Youth Organizations of Romania - MISZSZ (member since 2000)
  • Vlach Youth Council of Macedonia (member since 2008)
  • Association of Citizens Sumnal (member since 2011)
  • Young ABTTF (member since 2011)
  • MASZFISZ (member since 2013)
  • German Belgian Council - RdJ (member since 2017)
  • Diverse Youth Network - DYN (members since 2019)
  • Grænseforeningen ungdom - GFU (members since 2019)
  • Kenstroll Breizh (members since 2019)
  • oMREZA (members since 2019)


  • President: Giuanna Beeli (representative of GiuRu , the Romansh youth from Switzerland)
  • Vice-President for Internal Affairs: Kristina Anxhara (representative of the Vlach Youth Council from Albania)
  • Vice-President for External Affairs: Pia Šlogar (representative of the Studencki Pomorania Club of the Kashubians from Poland)
  • Political Commissioner: Florian Leduc (representative of the Breton association Kenstroll Breizh )
  • Member integration commissioner: Luna Rahr Futtrup (representative of the Sydslesvigs danske Ungdomsforeninger of the Danish minority in Germany )
  • Commissioner for Communication: Jakub Schäfer (representative of Pawk eV - Serbske młodźinske towarstwo of the Sorbs in Germany)

Former presidents

  • Christel Petersen (1984–1986), North Frisian
  • Jon Domenic Parolini (1986–1989), Romansh
  • Julius Mühlögger (1989–1990), South Tyrolean
  • Duri Denoth (1990-1992), Romansh
  • André Goebels (1992–1994), German-Belgian
  • Roland Feichter (1994–1996), South Tyrolean
  • Adelgaard Willemsma (1996-1998), West Frisian
  • Matti Lukinen (1998–2000), Finn from Sweden
  • Anne Hahn (2000–2002), North Frisian
  • Jan Diedrichsen (2002–2003), North Schleswig
  • Stephan Kleinschmidt (2003–2006), North Schleswig
  • Aleksander Studen-Kirchner (2006–2008), Slovene
  • Hester Knol (2008-2010), West Frisian
  • Sebastian Seehauser (2010–2012), South Tyrolean
  • Fatma Reşit (2012–2014), West Thrace Turk
  • Matic Germovšek Žnidaršič (2014–2016), Carinthian Slovene
  • Britta Lessow Tästensen (2016–2018), native of North Schleswig


Easter seminar

Traditionally in the week before Easter, the annual congress takes place as an "Easter seminar".

The seminar is organized every year by a member organization. With over 80 participants, the Easter seminar is the largest meeting of young people and youth organizations from European minorities.

Every year, the seminar is devoted to a current topic in the context of minorities and young people. A multi-layered program is put together with workshops, discussions, lectures and excursions that deal with topics and experiences specific to minorities and young people and convey knowledge and impressions about the host minority on the other.

Above all, however, the Easter seminar is the forum for encounters and exchanges between young people who predominantly belong to minorities, whose language and culture are threatened with extinction. Participation in the YEN Easter seminar is often the beginning of a long-term European commitment to minorities and motivation to work at home.

General meeting

As a rule, the general meeting is held after the Easter seminar. During the general assembly, the representatives of the member organizations determine the direction of the organization, elect the presidium and pass resolutions.

YEN autumn seminar

The autumn seminar is organized annually in close cooperation with a YEN member organization.

It is a working seminar which focuses on the development of the network and the further training of committed YEN people from the member organizations. The Youth Leader Seminar is aimed at the next generation of the European minorities.

Advice is given on existing and new challenges as well as future strategies against the background of current socio-political developments.

The autumn seminar has been an integral part since 1997. The Youth Leader Seminar, which took place for the first time in Bautzen / Budyšin (D), was dedicated to the specific requirements of a growing organization that had become topical due to the inclusion of new member organizations from Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

kick off

The Kick Off is the first event of the year. Here the participants are made familiar with the subject of the YEN work plan. Here, too, the seminar is organized closely with one of our member organizations.

Diversity Festival

At the Diversity Festival, the focus is on cultural diversity. Initially Voices of Europe, where young people from different minorities came together for a week and sang - in all minority languages. Today YEN concentrates on a wide variety of cultural topics such as song, dance, theater, film and poetry. Thus, the cultural diversity of the European minorities is in the foreground at this event.

Web links

Individual evidence