Logo 360In July 2009 the inaugural YIP annual event took place in Ytterjärna, Sweden as the celebrated summer conference 360º Exploring Community.

This week of festivities and learning was designed and hosted by the 37 participants of the Youth Initiative Program and engaged an audience of approximately 300 in a celebrative and inspiring confluence of amazing people and initiatives. Please read their vision text below:

In the past two decades, globalization made us truly realize that we are all living on one planet.

This realization, however, did not bring about the preservation of the home of every form of conscious existence we know of. We increased the pace of exploitation of our planet’s resources, and as a result we face the threat of a collapsing biosphere and a crumbling human society. Enduring wars and an economy in crisis are both a result and a cause of this, and the different facets of the problem only catalyze each-other.

If we dare to look at the root of these problems, we can also see a great and unique potential for change; it is time to focus more on the development of both an individual and a collective consciousness, so as to see the full potential in every person we meet. One result of this is that we cannot but rethink our badly designed systems (government, business and Civil Society), as they do not support the general well-being.

Once a network of social, political, environmental and cultural initiatives is operational, we can start changing our relationship to this planet and to each-other once again. If organizations -from the grassroot to international level- work from this understanding, it is not only possible to overcome some of the greatest challenges of all times, but also create a society for all children, of all species, of all times.*

With all of this in mind two aspects become very important: the concept of community and the concept of networking. A community is a space where individuals can express themselves, as well as a space to see other human beings. Networking is a means to connect different communities and different individuals to work more effectively on this common goal.

In this relation between the individual and their communities, we find the inspiration for the Youth Initiative Conference 360° Exploring Community. It is this relation that we want to explore with young people from all over the world and it is there that we hope to find new ideas and ways to create the world we wish to live in.

~ YIP Participants 2008/2009

* William McDonough