On May 6th and 7th, 2023, something special happened in Grozjnan, Croatia. Seventeen former members of the Youth Express Network from Bulgaria, France, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Sweden, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Iceland gathered to celebrate their friendship. Tired of greetings cards and promises to meet again soon, these friends organized a heartfelt reunion.
Although coinciding with the Network’s 30th anniversary, this event was not specifically planned for the occasion. However, the choice of Grozjnan as the location holds special significance, as it was the backdrop for many Network events between 1996 and 2013.
Youth Music Croatia, led by Director Dubravka Dujmovic Kusan, a former Network member, kindly invited the participants and provided accommodations. This beautiful setting allowed the former members to come together in a serene atmosphere to reflect on the past, present, and future, reigniting their connection to YEN and its values of tolerance, belief in social progress, and openness to others.
Each individual played an active role within the Youth Express Network. Between 1993 and 2013, they all participated in numerous working seminars and training sessions. Thirteen of them served on the Network’s Board, while two were founding members. Several others intended to join the gathering, but last-minute constraints related to their Erasmus schedules, health issues, and unforeseen circumstances prevented their attendance. Nevertheless, everyone expressed their desire to continue meeting. The shared memories, experiences, and achievements within the Youth Express Network have forged bonds that transcend time and distance.
It is important to note that this reunion was a private event. The dedication of these members to preserving their friendship and reviving the spirit of the Youth Express Network compelled them to organize this meeting without contributions from the office. This underscores the enduring impact the Network has had on their lives and the importance they place on maintaining these bonds.
As they leave Grozjnan, these friends carry with them cherished memories, renewed energy, and the enduring values of tolerance, social progress, and openness instilled by the Youth Express Network.