Following the resignation of our current European Secretary, Brenda Aerts, MIJARC Europe is now looking for a new secretary for its office in Brussels.
Since last year almost the entire team of MIJARC Europe was changed, three new movements joined and the European Coordination will be a first-time experience for about 60% of the participants, we thought a short and simple guide on the event would come in handy.
1. First, keep calm and follow the Statutes and the Rules of Procedure. The rules of "what"??? Well, the documents that regulate how MIJARC Europe works.
·According to the Statutes, the European Coordination is the observing body. It consults, supports and observes the European Team. It is the highest decision-making body between the General Assemblies.
·The delegates in the European Coordination are called "European Coordinators". Ahaa!!! Did not see that coming, did you? They are nominated by each national movement and they are elected during the General Assembly.
· The European Coordination takes place once a year and as we are a very open and friendly organisation, other people, apart from the European Team and the European Coordinators, can be invited.
3. What will you do during the European Coordination?
·The short answer: you will be talking. A lot!
·The long answer: you will check and supervise the work of the European Team (Executive Board), you will verify the budgets and accounts and give a proposal to the General Assembly to vote on the financial report, you will help the European Team implement the decision taken by the General Assembly but you will also meet people from different countries, exchange realities and have fun.
4. Glad that it is over? Don't feel so relaxed because now it's when you'll start the real hard work. Once the European Coordination is over, it is your task to take back to your movement the information you received during the event and to implement in your own country the decisions that were taken during the meeting. Remember that we count on you to do this. MIJARC is you!
See you in Dilbeek!
 Orientation General Assembly - it is the name that MIJARC Europe uses for the General Assembly that takes place every four years, after MIJARC World had its own assembly. The only difference between a GA and an OGA is that the OGA is composed of a larger number of participants from full member organisations.
 Committee of External Representation - a group of volunteers whose job is to represent MIJARC Europe at different international events, such as meetings, training courses or events of our partner organisations.
 European Youth Foundation - a fund established the Council of Europe, in order to provide financial support to European youth activities. The EYF is one of MIJARC Europe's main donors.
A man and his son are involved in a car accident. The father dies. The son is rushed to hospital. The surgeon arrives, but says “I cannot operate on this boy as he is my son.” Can you explain this situation? Who is the surgeon?
You may have felt puzzled by this situation for some seconds, trying to figure out how something like that might be possible or you may have come up with very creative scenarios. However, the answer is quite simple if you only remember that a child has two parents and that women can also be surgeons. Yes, the surgeon is the child's MOTHER. The fact that we are not used to associating the job of a surgeon to women, speaks a lot about our perception on men and women and about the power of society-prescribed gender roles.
Gender equality is the hot topic of this month, as we have just celebrated International Women's Day and the European Year of Development has as theme this month: "women and girls". While it cannot be denied that tremendous progress has been made in this field through civil society's actions and laws adopted at national, European and international level, gender equality still remains a reality for plenty of children, young people and adults all over Europe and all over the globe.
The concept of gender refers to the social roles created for men and women, who have emerged and have been shaped throughout time. Gender is different from the concept of sex which encompasses the physical and morphologic traits that differentiate women from men. Gender is more about what society sees as "feminine" or "masculine", what your parents and friends think you should do as a girl or as a boy or about how you should behave in certain situations. In other words, gender is our "social sex" and it is a pattern that is learnt, transferred and reproduced through a process we call socialization.
Sooner or later we learn that boys are expected to be tougher than girls, that they should not cry or express their emotions publicly, they should not wear skirts, paint their nails, wear jewellery or play with dolls. On the other side, girls learn that they are expected to be caretakers, that they are more sensitive and delicate and that most of the house chores are their responsibility. We learn this in our families, in school, from our friends or from the television. Research shows that gender roles start to shape as early as age two and this affects the way we behave and expect other to behave based on whether they are boys or girls.
This is also how gender stereotypes appear, are learnt and start to be applied. In most cases, we are not even aware of the gender stereotypes we have and how we learnt them, which is one of reasons why we hardly ever question them. It is very difficult to question something that you have been raised to believe is normal and unfortunately in most of Europe's patriarchal societies, it is "normal" for men to be dominant and for females to be submissive. Nevertheless, you may ask yourself: if the world has been living like this for so many years, why should we question these stereotypes? Well, maybe we should come back to the riddle and reflect a bit on how easy it would have been to give an answer if our gender stereotypes had not been present in our thinking. The worst problem with gender stereotypes is that very often they generate violent behaviours. Whenever we, either men or women, step outside of society's gender stereotypes, we are considered abnormal. Men who seem more feminine are often victims of violent incidents while a large percentage of women still suffer from domestic violence and globally one in three women will be beaten and raped during her lifetime.
We definitely do not want to make you sad but we do want to make you AWARE. Now that you have seen how gender roles affect our lives and how gender inequality is created it is time you start wondering about what you could do. Take small steps in changing your behaviour towards yourself and towards your peers and reflect on what makes you and other people happy instead of what society expects from you. Share the gender riddle or tell it to your friends to make them think of their own gender stereotypes. Check out what actions are taking place in your country on International Women's Day on www.internationalwomendays.com, or join the "Heforshe" campaign of the United Nations. Whatever you do, always remember that gender inequality affects both men and women and that achieving equality is EVERYBODY's responsibility.
 Weinraub, Marsha et al. The Development of Sex Role Stereotypes in the Third Year: Relationships to Gender Labeling, Gender Identity, Sex-typed Toy Preference and Family Characteristics, 1984, Child Development, 55, pp. 1493-1503
McGurk, Harry, Childhood Social Development: Contemporary Perspectives, 1992, Lawrence Erlbaum Associated Ltd Publishing
 Information excerpted from the United Nations Secretary-General’s In-depth Study on Violence against Women, 2006, and from websites for the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
We are happy to welcome our new secretary, Florina Potîrniche, who, thanks to a grant provided by Renovabis, will be joining Brenda in ensuring the administrative work behind MIJARC Europe. We hope the time spent with MIJARC will be extremely beneficial to Florina and we wish her all the best in this new endeavour.
"I remember it was snowing very heavily back in Romania when I was writing my application for the MIJARC's call for a new secretary and I was afraid that maybe the documents would not reach MIJARC's address in time because of the extreme weather conditions. I said to myself then that if I could defeat that awful weather then I would definitely be selected. Imagine how extreme the weather conditions were!
Having been involved in MIJARC's work for the past three years as European Coordinator for Romania, I already knew that this was going to be a wonderful learning experience that would help me flatten some of those sharp edges of mine and make me more tolerant, sensitive and aware of the world's diversity. I felt that it was the right time to step behind the curtain and do some work behind the scene. It turned out that the team too trusted I was ready to do that and there it was: the amazing news that I had been selected.
Today has been my first day in the office, trying to keep up with Brenda's presentation and explanation of different aspects of MIJARC's work, bombarding her with questions and doing my best to control my fears, doubts and uncertainties, constantly repeating to myself that, with time, everything will find its right place in my head and that in the end I will feel as if I have been working here forever.
I am sure this experience will transform me into a better human being, it will open up countless opportunities and it will show its worth when I will least expect it to. My only hope is that throughout this entire process I will raise to the team's expectations, I will be ready to embrace my mistakes and learn from them and I will take time to enjoy the multicultural, diverse and at the same time unique atmosphere of being part of an international organisation.
I would like to thank MIJARC Europe and Renovabis for this great opportunity and also APDD-Agenda 21 for trusting me and supporting all my work. "
Magdalena Puć, the secretary of MIJARC Europe decided to resign from the position after more than one year of fulfilling her responsibilities. We want to thank her for her commitment and dedication in the work of developing our organisation.
After so many years with MIJARC Europe – first as a participant, then as an European Coordinator and finally as a secretary, it’s hard to imagine my life without it. I think, apart from the professional development, I can say it helped me to define myself and to make some of my dreams come true. It was truly a great adventure, an experience which brought much more than that the knowledge about the world of international organizations, European funds or improving so many professional skills. Most of all it was a chance to meet incredible people from all over the Europe. I will never forget the time we spent together during the activities of MIJARC Europe. I want to thank you all for those great moments!
I think one of the most important things in life is to find a place where you can be yourself, where you can feel you belong. I do believe MIJARC Europe is that place (even without having the GPS coordinates ;) ) for so many young people. I hope it will never change and next years or even decades MIJARC will continue the great work of gathering the rural youth from different parts of our continent and showing that we are not so different from each other…