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The Seminar „Establishing effective communication and decision making structures in a youth network and increasing the democratic and political participation of visually impaired youth in Europe”

from Monday 3rd of June until Saturday 8th of June 2013 The German federation for the Blind and partially sighted in cooperation with VIEWS International have organised in Berlin a seminar which enables young visually impaired individuals and youth workers to get a better understanding of the functions, tasks, responsibilities and the benefits of networks which consisting mainly of vision impaired people. We will compare and analyze the VIEWS International Network and the network of the European Blind Union (EBU) regarding its communication, working and decision making strategies. Another main objective of our seminar is to increase the participation of visually impaired youngsters and young adults in democratic and decision making processes in a network and on a political base.

Representatives from the VIEWS International Network and from the European Blind Union network will present their structure, their main goals, their achievements and their working and decision making strategies. Since the main goal of our network is to involve young visually impaired individuals and to benefit and support their personal and social development we want to discuss with you if our network in terms of our values, communication and working strategies satisfies your needs and interests. This seminar offers you the possibility to exchange your ideas about transparent and effective networking strategies. Additionally it provides you with experiences and knowledge’s from other individuals and organizations in order to create a warm and energetic atmosphere in a network. It will create space for a fruitful and open discussion spiced with some theoretical background about decision making processes and communication strategies which will enlarge our knowledge, support our social and personal development and brighten our network with new valuable inspirations. In order to inform you of the VIEWS network you can visit our website: http://www.viewsinternational.eu

To enable you in participating in democratic and political decision making processes we want to introduce you to the political acting of the EBU network. Since its establishment in 1984 this network is strongly involved in political processes and influenced the jurisdiction, the accruement and implementation of technological, educational and cultural guidelines concerning the social and integration improvement of vision impaired people. It is substantially involved in the formation and monitoring of the European implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. You can find more information about its aims and accomplishments on http://www.euroblind.org/about-ebu/.

The working tools of the EBU-network are commissions and steering groups which are dealing with various topics like culture/recreation, access to information education and technology, child and youth work, liaising with the European Union etc.. Due to its long lasting connection with the European Union it has a strong voice in political legislation which enables them to have a great impact in democratic and political life.

The seminar wants to give all participants an understanding of democratic disability related processes in the European politicks. Practical examples regarding formation and decision making processes in the areas education, culture, rights and the liaison with the EBU will be presented by experienced EBU-Members. We will focus also on the inclusion of youngsters and young adults in political processes. The work of the steering group for Youth related issues will serve as a role model and practical example to illustrate democratic and political participation.

The seminar is a first step in merging the activities of the EBU and VIEWS International to increase the positive exchange and the decision making processes within the network and in political actions. It provides the work of both networks with new project ideas, enhances the awareness of the needs of young vision impaired persons and offers the chance of the creation of new dimensions of action.