human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

First Young Caritas conference

A milestone towards a common strategy

It was a pleasure to meet you!

Last week, no less than 70 delegates from 31 European countries, Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis met for the first European Conference on Social Education and Young Volunteerism in Vienna. The three-day conference, organised by youngCaritas Vienna, was the largest meeting of Caritas youth organizations at European level so far.

Why Vienna? In recent years, youngCaritas Vienna has developed into a model of best practice, recognised throughout Europe by giving examples of successful work with young people and introducing them to social learning. Next to Young Caritas in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, France and Southern Tyrol, youngCaritas Vienna is also a founding member of the network “Young Caritas in Europe”.  This network exists since 2014 and has been instrumental in the further development of Young Caritas in European countries.

As a strong and now growing European network, we can offer socially committed young people the necessary framework to jointly make the world a better place.

Alice Uhl, leader of youngCaritas in Vienna

The exchange with colleagues from places as different as Greece, Norway, Portugal and Russia has shown how much we have in common, despite our diverse cultural backgrounds.

Agnesa Isufi, leader of youngCaritas in Vienna

The goals of the Vienna Conference were: to facilitate an exchange of experience and knowledge, develop a common strategy and intensify the cooperation at the European level. The delegates finally adopted the “Vienna Declaration on Young Caritas”.

We believe that young people have the opportunity to stand up for solidarity and social justice

From the “Vienna Declaration on Young Caritas”

We believe that it is important to motivate young people. This is at the heart of our “youngCaritas strategy”. This conference, held on 21-23 November, marks the next milestone on the way to a strong European Young Caritas.

In May, youth development and educational work by Young Caritas was defined at the regional conference of Caritas Europa in Georgia in cooperation with the “Young Caritas in Europe” network.

The experiences of youngCaritas in Austria show that young people nowadays have an “enormous social interest and commitment” and thus “contradict the stereotypes of an alleged selfish generation of politically uninterested consumers,” said Caritas Austria President, Michael Landau, on the sidelines of the conference.

These are the people we seek and promote: young people who are committed to change and to the common good. We thank God there are many of them.

Michael Landau, Caritas Austria President.