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About us

Mission Statement

IJAB – International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany is an association of independent and public-sector organisations providing child and youth services in Germany. As a network with a national scope, we facilitate dialogue and enable partnerships in the youth field across Europe and around the world. This strong network is composed of our member organisations and our office. Together, we are IJAB.

We are committed to ensuring peaceful coexistence in a diverse and tolerant world in which young people can develop as independent individuals. We believe that international dialogue contributes to global understanding, providing young people with access to educational opportunities and new pathways into the future. We help make this happen by facilitating dialogue and enabling partnerships around the world.

Our values

The work of IJAB is value-based. It is founded upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the free democratic basic order of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.

We help build democratic, open and diverse societies in which all individuals – regardless of their gender, age, social or ethnic background, faith or sexual orientation – enjoy the same rights. We stand for peaceful coexistence and solidarity in the world, and for a united Europe. The preservation of our natural habitats is of major importance to us. We work to ensure that young people experience the world as a place they can help shape and in which they can make a difference. We help create the necessary preconditions.

The hallmarks of our cooperation with partners in Germany, Europe and around the world are dialogue and equality. We consistently review our actions and are mindful of changes in society and the emergence of new challenges. We expressly reject the marginalisation of people through words and actions, antidemocratic movements, violence, hate and efforts to divide society. We remain committed to these values both within and outside of IJAB.

What drives us

We are committed to enabling all young people to gain new learning and life experiences through international exchanges and encounters, to advancing international youth work and youth policy in a sustainable way through mutual learning, to strengthening international cooperation and partnerships in the youth sector, and to helping to build a stronger international profile for child and youth services in Germany through cross-border expert dialogue.

To this end, our work takes place in four dimensions:

As a network of independent and public-sector organisations for child and youth services, we adopt clear positions in the interest of the field of international youth work. We actively leverage the network to promote dialogue, cooperation and further development across the community of practice.

The IJAB office offers members, young people and all stakeholders in the youth field advisory services, technical support and continued professional training to facilitate their international activities. The office is a gateway to the expertise and knowledge held by the entire network and provides inspiration through its innovative approaches and model projects.

As a partner of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, we support initiatives run by the Ministry in the area of international youth work and youth policy, implement these, and offer the Ministry our advice and expertise. We also offer programmes within the framework of the Federal Government’s international youth policy relations.

We are committed to an open, social Europe. IJAB is the legal entity behind JUGEND für Europa, Germany’s National Agency for the EU programmes Erasmus+ Youth and Erasmus+ Sport and the European Solidarity Corps. We work to make the European Union and Europe as a whole accessible for young people and experts so they can experience European engagement and participation, and support the continued development of youth work across Europe.

What we do

Dialogue and cooperation is at the heart of everything we do

In the context of youth policy cooperation and the foreign cultural and educational policy of the German Federal Government, IJAB promotes international exchange and dialogue in the youth sector. In doing so, we contribute towards mutual understanding across national borders. IJAB brings together a range of civil-society and public-sector stakeholders and creates lasting relationships. IJAB keeps the channels of communication open even in challenging social or political situations. We offer a space for discourse and moderate processes that help stakeholders learn from each other and that inspire the professional and youth policy debate.

As a network, we promote European and international dialogue on current issues and provide inspiration to the child and youth services sector in Germany for their international activities.

As an office, we provide access to international experience and expertise and encourage mutual learning across the youth sector.

As a partner to the Federal Ministry, we help strengthen international cooperation in the youth field.

As an international youth work network with a national scope, we enable global exchanges and encounters

In its capacity as a network and office for international youth work in Germany, IJAB helps implement the Federal Government’s Child and Youth Plan by contributing towards the development and advancement of child and youth services in both theory and practice. We assist organisations and providers working in the field of child and youth services in making good use of international youth work formats and methods and apply these also to new target groups and for new purposes. We play an active role in advancing youth policy in professional contexts and run projects of national, European and international significance. IJAB’s office and its members participate in international debates, design concepts to create, maintain and improve needs-oriented services and activities, and try out and evaluate innovative international youth work approaches and methods.

We reach out to young people and inform and advise them on mobility opportunities in Europe and worldwide.

We enable experts and organisations working in the youth sector to create more international opportunities for young people.

We strengthen the visibility and the public and political recognition of international youth work as an expression of non-formal learning.

We design hands-on services and activities and contribute our expertise when it comes to advancing international youth work.

How we work

We are an agile network and a living organisation. Together with partners in Germany, Europe and around the world, we learn from our experiences and have our sights trained on the future. In other words, we are open to new developments, are ready to adopt new perspectives, enjoy experimenting, and share an enthusiasm for enriching international exchanges and encounters.

Transparency, fairness and reliability form the bedrock of the relationships within our network and of those we maintain with others. We believe that change is only possible in cooperation with a multitude of partners –young people, civil society groups, policymakers, administrators and the research community. Advancing cooperation within our partnerships and networks is a key element of the philosophy shared by all members and staff of IJAB. We are committed to effective international youth policy cooperation across Europe and around the world. We maintain a dialogue with policymakers and youth policy stakeholders to advance the interests of the international youth work field.

We stand in solidarity with partners who come under pressure in their countries due to their advocacy for young people, for democracy, for peaceful coexistence, for a diverse and open society, and for human and civil rights. We remain their allies for as long as they wish and can accommodate a partnership.