Young Social Engagement in Europe

“Giving Europe a Soul” – in  line with this call by former EU Commission President Jacques Delors, Kommende Dortmund works together with partners in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe in its young social engagement work. By pursuing this way Kommende Dortmund contributes to the common search for ways to a more just society in the home countries of the young people involved and to the networking of church actors between East and West: in order to make Europe again “breathe on both lungs” (Pope John Paul II).

Especially in view of populist slogans and economic inequality in Europe, it is of central importance that people stand up for the common good and actively participate in shaping society with a dialogical attitude. Individual worldviews, political or religious differences should not have to prevent a commitment to the common good. Therefore, we encourage young people in particular to familiarise themselves with the perspective of the disadvantaged and marginalised and to take this as a starting point for the value-oriented, experience-based social-ethical three-step “see – judge – act”.

As part of the joint work with various international partners, Kommende Dortmund organises international networking events and joint training courses in addition to the established youth social project weeks for pupils.

In projects, methodological approaches are developed further and new perspectives for sustainable engagement of young people are promoted. In addition, Kommende Dortmund is also involved in national and international networks for participative, European youth work with its “Young Social Engagement in Europe” department.

The offers of the department have in common to make social engagement tangible, to inspire to live community and to promote reflection and spirituality:

  • Social Commitment: Following a socio-ethical guiding question, a common thematic focus is defined for each individual event in consultation with the international coordinators/partners. In practice, this is expressed in contact and exchange with those affected on site: for example, in the outreach to people with disabilities in Croatia, to lonely elderly people in Poland or the encounter with children and young people from the Roma minority in Romania.
  • Living Community: The second pillar is the community of participants and the European network. In addition to the exchange with those affected on site, great importance is attached to the community among the young participants. For this purpose, experiential education exercises are introduced at events. In addition, there are regular, also digital, exchange and community-building offers in the network.
  • Reflection and Spirituality: The young people and project workers are offered spiritual reflection on their experiences. On the basis of the Christian image of humans and Catholic social teaching, the young people can develop a solid foundation for their commitment to socially disadvantaged people.

In its work, the department cooperates with project partners in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe and in particular with the international foundation "socioMovens. Giving Europe a Soul".