All young people know it: the urgent wish to know exactly who you are, what you want and where you are heading. The European Way as a young organization and we as its members are no exception. The challenge is raised to the next level though. Some of us know exactly what to think of The European Way, others know, but cannot put it in terms, some have no clue – and some had a pretty clear vision until today’s afternoon when the big confusion
Even though the day proved that we need to continue our thoughts, we learnt a lot about the way we want to see our self and want to be seen.
When it comes to organisational structure, hierarchies and decision making, we made a big step towards a simplified and effective decision making system which, at the same time, ensures our principles of democratic and transparent procedures. We have also managed to get some clarity in the role of our different organs, especially in regard to the moderation team. From the very beginning it was crucial for us not to implement strong hierarchies in our organisational structure. This will not be changed. The Moderation Team will not be understood as a body to take action, but to facilitate and enable action in the Project Groups and among the members. There will be more to it – but we took the first steps in the right directions.
As the European Way it is our aim to promote positive change in societies by showing examples of how societies could ideally function, based on few, but crucial principles: participation, equality, non-violence and, additionally, sustainability. This means that we don’t want to work on policy proposals (at least not in the first place), but instead fill our principles with life and by that with meaning. How do we do that?
Thinking about change in Europe in terms of four dimensions – the World, Europe, the own community and the own self – was very helpful. Change must happen on all of these levels, but not simultaneously by everyone in the same dimension. The task of TEW should be to, firstly, show people how we envision change on all of these dimension and, secondly, creating an environment and tools to enable action. In this same context we talked about symbols and visualisation – to say that we didn’t get to harvest any fruits of our work in this field would be a lie.
Values and Self-Understanding
This field was the most troublesome and the more it was discussed the more questions it raised. After a refreshing walk around the Pisa tower and the astonishing cathedral of Pisa, a monument for the beauty of intercultural exchange, we started to see the potential for development in exactly these questions. How are we able to be the change we want to see – what do I individually need to change in the society we live in and how can The European Way help me with it? Mostly though we realized that we will never manage to create a finalized identity of The European Way, and that this should not be the aspiration anyways. We understand ourself as a process-driven organization – and the core process lies in our constant self-reflection and development.
All the other challenges
Not only our own challenges kept us busy on Friday. Pisa had a special surprise for us and we noticed right when we wanted to prepare lunch, that we had no water (neither for cleaning our dishes nor for cooking our pasta). But, again, all together and with united creativity and improvisation talents we managed this challenge – easily. Still, it was a relief to see the water pressure slowly return during the night.