Between the 8th of March and the 11th march 2012, we attended a seminar in the German City of Munich, as participants from Salesian Youth Ministry UK. The Seminar was entitled ‘Generations of Participation’ and was aimed at allowing us to learn from the messages of Older SDBs, FMA’s and Salesian Co-operators. This was primarily achieved by each participant preparing an interview of an SDB, FMA or co-operator. This interview was composed in the participants’ native tongue, and an English transcript was prepared.
We also had a member of the European Parliament in to listen to and ask questions to. These questions were generally on the topic of policy making in the EU effecting Salesian Practices. This topic was part of the backbone to the seminar; with participants later being asked to draw up a model for a policy change that they felt was necessary. A few of the questions regarded intergenerational dialogue, which was the other key theme of the seminar.
Participants were from 13 EU member states, and all had English as a second or third language. This vast multiculturalism allowed us to learn a great deal about how the Salesian family operates in Europe, and also the various Salesian projects going on yearly throughout the EU. Our highlight of the weekend was the intercultural evening that took place on Saturday, where every participant brought a product from their country to share with the group, and each country had to present another. This presentation included a song, dance or game. We taught Spanish participants “Princess Pat” which got everyone involved, whilst we had to learn and perform a traditional Austrian dance.
At the seminar, we made lifelong friends from the many countries involved, and also learned a considerable amount about their individual countries’ cultures and customs.