EEMA Conference 2012
60th E.E.M.A. CONFERENCE
7-September-2012 – 9-September-2012
Report on National Representatives Meeting
- Global Insurance
- Students' Survey
- President's Committee
- Home Page
Moderator: Vice-President Vivi-Anne Asell
Erkki Nuotio has been the EEMA representative within the working team for Global Insurance headed by Peter Kaye.
He reported that an agreement had been reached and accepted by the Board of Rotary International on the minimum requirements for a Rotary Travel Insurance. The underwriter of this insurance policy will be Ace Europe Insurance and the distribution through an Insurance Broker to be named later. Ace Europe has worldwide connections and regional offices to handle our travel insurance on a 7 day 24 hour basis. ACE is presently engaged to set up its customer support service for us in Europe.
Erkki indicates that this is the end of his EEMA involvement in this matter as the Global Insurance team has reached its goal.
President Erwin Zeller reported on the progress of a project to reduce Early Returns which was sparked off by the high number of 502 Early Returns in the RI Annual Report 2007/08, followed by 444 in the next year based on some 6000 LT exchange students p.a.
The scope of this project had increased from looking for reasons for early returns to monitoring conditions of exchanges generally.
A questionnaire for students was drawn up by a small team and modified step by step to its present version 1.5a.
Handling this survey is extremely easy for YEOs sending just one link to a group of their students by email. They fill in the report online and a data base program "SurveyMonkey" does the rest. The completed report is then delivered back to the YEO.
A sample of the questionnaire can be got with (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XKMSR38 changed to) www.YouthExchangeSurvey.info (2013 March)
77 Districts have used the survey and some 500 students' reports were received up to this time. The outcome is encouraging and detailed to be of good use for district YEOs to take action for improving exchange conditions in their districts.
This is the main purpose and value of this survey.
In addition combining results from districts worldwide will give us an overlook on global conditions and trends. It is highly recommended to all districts to use this survey.
The presidency of the EEMA Conference consists presently of the President, the Vice-President and the Past-President. Erwin Zeller proposed to increase this number so that the president has a bigger working group to discuss matters of importance and prepare for decision making before a proposal is put to the EEMA Conference.
Since there were five candidates for the election as Vice-President this time (from geographically different EEMA areas) there could not be a better selection of dedicated people for this committee than those who are prepared to serve as VicePresident and later as potential President. All five candidates have agreed beforehand to serve in this committee.
He therefore proposed to have all those who are not elected for Vice-President to be nominated for this committee.
After some discussion this proposal was accepted.
The president may have special tasks assigned to each member and may call other representatives into this committee.
Thanks to Gunther Fleckenstein, D 1890 Germany, he has made the EEMA Homepage come true www.eema.eu.com Gunther has agreed to be our webmaster and look after the maintenance of it further on.
This web site should be an archive for valuable EEMA information and a panel for current news.
E. Zeller - December 7, 2012
EEMA ROTARY INTERNATIONAL YOUTH EXCHANGE – A REVIEW AT THE OCCASION OF THE 60th DIAMOND JUBILEE’S GALADINNER
Dear ladies, gentlemen, dear friends and distinguished guests, Anniversaries are not just a special and precious opportunity to celebrate but also a chance to take time for reflection and review.
The 60th Europe-Mediterranean-Africa youth exchange officers’ conference, we call it EEMA – (some of us just give it a girl’s name and say EMMA)– has inspired us to learn from the past, challenge the present and look into the future with confidence and encouragement.
The first EEMA Conference I had the privilege to attend was in Amsterdam in the year 1974. At the farewell party that year nearly one hundred delegates received a very special souvenir. I kept mine in my “treasure box” all these years and have brought it with me today.
It is a framed picture of a typical Dutch windmill embroidered by the ladies of the Rotary Clubs in and around Amsterdam, each one with the name of the delegate and signed personally by the artists. What a brilliant idea! Truly “Hands-on in friendship”!Looking back on all the European- African YEO Conferences, the design of the windmill has become a very significant symbol of what we do in youth exchange.
The four vanes of the mill are like arms or sails stretching in all directions embracing the whole globe.
The four sails are symbolizing the four main issues of our service. In the mid-1920’s, Rotary International started with the idea of focusing on children and youth both in social service and educational exchange.
After WW II, in the early fifties, former Rotarians, many of them having been forced to be enemies in the war had already started a “family to family” program and begun, at the club level, to invite their children and grandchildren to holiday meetings.This was something new to Rotary and outside the rules of the Rotary Foundation where Rotarians could not have their own children and families be the beneficiaries of such opportunities due to legal reasons.
Taking the four sails of the windmill as symbols of the issues and aims of RYEI propose calling them
RECONCILIATION – EDUCATION – INTEGRATION and TOLERANCE.
The years immediately following World War II were marked by the encouraging attempts to bring people together in peace, understanding and friendship, to heal the deep wounds inflicted by war, tyranny and inhumanity leaving almost 60 million children, women and men behind who had lost their lives, lost their home, freedom and human dignity.
The opportunity for people to meet and to become friends became the essential characteristic in this period of healing and RECONCILIATION. We are proud and grateful that Rotary Youth service and exchange could play an important role in this process. Sput Teenstra in the Netherlands, RI President, and later Emil Hockenjos and Heinrich Vögelin in Switzerland, Viktor Straberger in Austria, Tristano Bolleli in Italy, RI Pres. Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammer in Sweden, Sigurd Behrens and Andreas von Schubert in Germany, Peter Wessel in Norway, who started with Holyday camps for handicapped children and many others belong to the merited pioneers of RYE. Our dear friend Bo Henneby reported on this history of EEMA profoundly this morning.
The second sail of our windmill I want to call EDUCATION
An immense hunger and thirst for EDUCATION existed during the 1960’s and 70’s. The opening of the borders in Westernurope made it possible to learn languages, to travel to other countries and to discover different cultures. In most of the Western European countries, Rotary districts joined in the Exchange program either Long Term One Year School exchanges or family and holiday exchanges. The statistics show a growing number of overseas exchanges, especially with the United States, Canada and South America. It is fascinating to learn of the multitude of camp themes like sporting, cycling, mountaineering, music, history and language.
I propose to name the third sail of our windmill INTEGRATION.
There was an integration of the growing and uniting countries of Europe. There was integration within the neighboring countries in the Mediterranean region like Israel, Turkey and Egypt. I will never forget the moving moments when friends from Egypt met those from Israel, which before this would not have been possible. Integration meant learning dialogue about other political and economical systems, religions and cultures, and last but not least the integration of central European and eastern countries after the fall of the “Iron Wall”. Our EEMA Conference in Johannesburg / South Africa in 1994, in Helsinki/ Finland and St. Petersburg/Russia in 1997 and in Vienna in 1998 with delegates from the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary became important steps in this process. ROTARY YOUTH IN EUROPE –FROM EXCHANGE TO INTEGRATION, was the motto in Vienna.
The fourth vane of our windmill can be called TOLERANCE.
To support this, I will just quote some sentences from the minutes of our EEMA Conference in Nazareth in 2000, when Rotary Israel invited us to remember the 2000th birthday of Lord Jesus of Nazareth.Reading from the EEMA minutes, which were confirmed by the conference unanimously:
“The keyword of our (Rotary) educational work is the vision of TOLERANCE.… Our vision has nothing to do with an outlook out of an Ivory Tower and is basically built up on the fundaments of learning tolerance… Tolerance …is the respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of experience and ways of being human… Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. Tolerance means the appreciation of diversity and, or, in simple words, the ability to live and let live. It is the ability to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards those opinions, practices, religion or nationality and so differ from one’s own. (UNESCO Declaration 1995)…We have to learn that peace and love need more sincere concern and engaged sacrifice than any form of conflict and war.”So far quoting the minutes of EEMA 2000 in Nazareth.”
Sharing the vision of peace we join RI President Sakuji Tanaka’s motto:
PEACE IN SERVICE:
“We trust that we are all members of the one human family all over the world, longing for a future of peace and tolerance, for a humanity freed from all threats of violence, dictatorship and anarchy. We trust that we are all privileged in this service for peace and tolerance and feel happy to be members of a family joining in friendship worldwide.”
My dear friends, as birds need the wind to support their wings, the sails of a windmill need the wind to move them and to transform their movement into energy and power. The spirit of peace,– by the way spirit and wind are the same word in many languages – the spirit of reconciliation, education, integration and tolerance are the winds that propel us into motion and provide us with the energy to serve.
We are not fighting against Don Quichotte’s windmills! There is a Chinese saying: “When the wind of change is blowing, some people start to build walls, others build windmills”. We will not build walls, but we WILL build windmills driven by the spirit of dialogue and peace. We will be like cog-wheels, like in our Rotary wheel, each cog working with the next, as the power of the vision and spirit of peace are transformed into the “hands-on service” needed to meet the challenges of everyday life.
For me, it is an honorable duty, privilege and pleasure to have been a cog in this wheel!
I thank you for your kind patience and attention.