As we face a swelling tide of populist voices and polarizing forces, it has become abundantly clear that cooperative living together is not to be taken for granted. Those who wish to ensure social cohesion is sustained, must commit to cultivating it, and to seeking connections across different lifestyles, worldviews and values. On the one hand, diversity of this nature – which distinguishes modern societies – makes living together more demanding. But on the other hand, diversity is also a resource that must be tapped in developing new and innovative ideas.
“Building Bridges for Social Cohesion” is therefore the theme of the YEF19, which brings together young committed people between the ages of 21 and 29 from across the European Union and from Turkey. Each participant shares a common commitment to promoting social cohesion, democratic values and a peaceful living together in the context of cultural diversity in their home country. Following the motto “learn - connect - transfer,” the YEF19 offers them a platform through which they can exchange ideas, experiences and good practices. “It's about learning from and with each other on how to shape social cohesion in local communities,” explains Julia Tegeler, project manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung. “Our participants are themselves already multipliers for good practices. At the YEF19, they have the opportunity to work together on developing solutions, networking, and they can apply the insights they acquire here to their own activities at home.”