During the last years in our work with International seminars and youth exchanges we benfited a lot from open borders within the European Union, which makes it very easy to move, to cooperate and to celebrate International friendships.
But at the same time it is getting more and more difficult to organise exchanges with our partners and friends from outside the European Union – from South America, the Carribean, from Africa and Eastern Europe. We have to invest a lot of time and also money into visa applications (visa fees, certified documents, travel to consulates and embassies etc.). And after all our efforts in all conscience there is never a guarantee that participants get visas to attend our seminars and meetings – mostly funded by European programmes, by European tax money.
This very alarming development found it’s peak in our Tri-Continental Youth Exchange in Portugal 2009 with Partners from Africa, South America, the Carribean and Europe when we “lost” 10% of our participants due to visa refusals at European embassies.
We and our friends from the Dominican Republic and Ghana who had to stay at home were very sad and angry with this situation after preparing and organising together this exciting highlight of our Tri-Continental Youth cooperation project. Those who joined this amazing exchange in Portugal transfered their anger into creativity and made a Global Passport for their friends who had experienced the borders of Fortress Europe … as a sign of our hope and solidarity!
Seminar 2010 in Amsterdam
Youth Exchange 2010 in Accra, Cape Coast
Youth Exchange 2009 in Almada, Lisbon, Alcoutim
Training / Preparation Meeting 2009 in Bajos de Haina, Santo Domingo
Youth Exchange 2008 in Recife
Preparation Meeting 2008 in Liverpool