Our History

Y-E-N/R-E-J is a European network of grass-root youth organisations. Our vision is to reach an inclusive society, where young people, their needs and participation are recognised, valued and appreciated. Our 30 member organisations in 23 different countries all work at local, regional or European level on social inclusion of young people. Our Board is pan European (6 volunteers) and our Coordination Office is based in STRASBOURG, France (4 paid-staff).

Since 1992, we have organised more than 100 international training courses, seminars, cross-border  and mobility projects bringing together social/youth workers and young people with fewer opportunities. We also have conducted researches on youth and social related issues and have been trying to be the voice of young people with fewer opportunities in local, regional and international institutions, either by representing them or by supporting them to create and be part of youth councils. We are member of the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe (COE).

The beginning of a European network for young people

In November 1991, the Council of Europe’s Directorate of Youth and Sport organised a week of reflection for youth leaders, social workers and project managers coming from all over Europe. This seminar would be the first of its kind, as the Council of Europe wanted to open the European Youth Centre (EYC) to none traditionally organised young people.

During that week, some participants expressed their need to stay in contact at a European level in order to continue to share practices, expertise, approaches and common issues to help young people  be heard.

Thanks to the Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe, a European structure was born. Firstly called Cable 5 the network became the Youth Express Network (Réseau Express Jeunes in French). Since then, Y-E-N is a local organisation subjected to French law and registered at the Court of STRASBOURG.

Our first activity took place at the European Youth Centre of Strasbourg (EYCS) in October 1992. “Youth Express” was the title of that seminar which brought for the first time young people with fewer opportunities to the EYCS.

Expand the network to the international level

From the very beginning, we focused on expanding the network to the Eastern and South-Eastern countries of Europe. That is why the following activities took place in Slovakia in 1993 and in the Russian Federation in 1994. The seminar in the Russian Federation took 30 social workers from Moscow to the Baikal Lake in the Trans-siberian Railway.

Since its beginning, Youth Express Network focused on non-formal education methods like Forum Theatre, outdoor education, art and mobile seminars. Our trainers helped to spread our methods to the European Youth Centres of the Council of Europe and European organisations, contributing to the development and strengthening of youth work.

Working for youth since 1992

In 2013, Y-E-N commemorated its 20th anniversary and we celebrated all these years of teamwork dedicated to the social inclusion and empowerment of young people. To be continued…

If you want to be part of an experienced network, join us!

Social inclusion of young people is above all a process of partnership!