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Since 2021, Jugendring Dortmund has been actively involved in and developing various projects on an international level. Our focus lies on "Young Urban Diplomacy" - city diplomacy from a young perspective. The international projects aim to enable young people to understand, discuss, and broaden their horizons on global issues at the local level through exchanging with international partners. Regularly, we bring young people from Dortmund together with their peers from Dortmund's sister cities and international project partners. We introduce new ideas to these partnerships and further develop existing formats. Our goals are to promote friendships and mutual understanding, as well as bringing home concrete new ideas. The trusted cooperation with the international office of the Lord Mayor, Dortmund’s Youth Welfare Office, and other local and international partners forms the foundation for this.
How do global issues affect me or my city? And how can we shape our common future? Our international youth work enables young people from Dortmund to engage in discussions on these and other questions at the international level.
Whether at youth conferences or conferences that don't typically target youth initially, young people from Dortmund and their issues should be represented there as well. Engaging with different perspectives helps individuals find their own voice, sharpen their own profile, and explore and expand their horizons.
Youth delegations have represented Dortmund at the German-American Youth Forums (organized by the American Council on Germany), the World Urban Forum 2022 in Katowice (UN Conference on Sustainable Urban Development), and the Urban Diplomacy Exchange German-British Partnership Conference (organized by Engagement Global).
Town twinning deepens international connections at the local level, creates a network for exchange, and fosters sustainable relationships between cities worldwide - on cultural, economic, political, and interpersonal levels.
Through study trips to sister cities and project partners of Dortmund, young people can participate in international encounters outside the school context and exchange ideas on topics such as youth participation, civil engagement, and other youth policy issues. Additionally, these trips serve to overcome prejudices, build lasting friendships, and contribute to creating a more global and compassionate society.
Initial connections have already been established through trips to Leeds, UK, and Cluj-Napoca, Romania, with promising collaborative projects on the horizon.
In 2015 and 2018, Jugendring Dortmund was involved in the organization of the International Democracy Days as part of the DortBunt city festival. Young people from our partner cities were invited to spend a week together discussing democracy, culture, and youth-related topics.
In 2023, the idea was revived in collaboration with the Youth Welfare Office, leading to the implementation of the European Friendship Days. Through a diverse program with many local stakeholders, 60 young people from all over Europe were able to exchange ideas on societal and youth-related issues.
Cooperative multilateral encounters are also planned for the coming years, such as during the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship and the International Democracy Days in 2025.
What common challenges does youth work face? What are colleagues in other countries working on? What solutions or best practices have they found for issues that currently concern us?
Increasingly, Jugendring Dortmund is also involved in international professional exchanges: as trainees at international partner organizations, as part of delegations at conferences or meetings, or as participants in international workshops.