YouthBridge is the leadership project for young people from Bavaria and the winner of the Bavarian Integration Award in 2021!
YouthBridge is a unique successful initiative that was founded in New York in 2003 and made its way to Munich in 2017.
Within our project, we encourage diversity, creativity and collaboration and fight against hatred, discrimination and radicalization all over Bavaria!
Our participants represent various ethnic, cultural, and/or religious communities.
They interact and mutually enrich each other – we are an extremely diverse large community.
Our two-year program consists of seminars, fireside chats, educational trips and project work, and prepares participants for their future roles as social, cultural, political, and economic leaders.
We are young, diverse, committed and motivated.
We want to make our world a better place!
This successful initiative from New York has been in Bavaria since 2017.
YouthBridge is the one and only social leadership project in Germany!
For the next YouthBridge generation, we are looking for young people between 13 and 23 years old who enjoy:
– networking with other young people from various cultures
– participating in our diverse monthly program (seminars, fireside chats, workshops, field trips, panel discussions)
– meeting influential figures of politics, economy, NGOs, art, sports in person
– setting up an important social, political and creative project alongside other participants
– being actively involved in our project trips (USA, Italy, Israel, Brussels, Sweden, Bosnia)
– being a true leader of diversity and tolerance
Visit us anytime at one of our events and see for yourself!
Tel. office: 089 4547 4213
Project management: 0176 20 36 36 10
9/11, September 11th, 2001, is a date that shocked not just New York and not just the U.S., but the entire world. To this day it serves as a reminder and warning of how drastic the consequences of radicalization and hatred can be. Rabbi Bob Kaplan and Karen Lander, founders of YouthBridge New York, also realized how drastically 9/11 had changed New York. “Residents had become fearful and distrustful. Strong biases prevailed, especially among different communities. As a result, people didn’t communicate with each other, but rather sealed themselves off,” Rabbi Bob Kaplan recalls. And it was precisely due to this development that Rabbi Bob Kaplan and Karen Lander founded the YouthBridge New York project in 2003 – a project that saw diversity as an opportunity and to this day has shaped and positively changed the lives of numerous young people in New York and, for some years now, also in Munich!
In 2017, the Bavarian capital launched the YouthBridge Munich project, being the second city worldwide to do so! Munich has been undergoing a demographic change, especially since 2014, and in order to be able to mediate well between the different cultures, religions and ethnicities, the European Janusz Korczak Academy decided to take over the project under its roof. So, now we know when, by whom and why YouthBridge was founded, but the real question is: what exactly does one actually do at YouthBridge? YouthBridge is a social leadership project for young Munich residents between the ages of 13 and 25. The participants of the project are offered a two-year program at YouthBridge, which is supposed to transform them into true leaders! And, as the name of the project suggests, it’s not just about young people, but also about “bridges” – a symbol of how the participants of the project come from different communities and, through their participation in the project, engage in a dialogue with different cultures, religions and ethnicities, therefore, building bridges. Specifically, we are talking about almost 30 different communities that have been part of YouthBridge Munich since its inception in 2017, including Jewish, Muslim, Russian, Croatian, Italian, Turkish, Afghan, Iranian, Uyghur, Black, and many others. YouthBridge Munich offers young people in Munich the unique opportunity to engage in an open dialogue and to get to know different cultures, thus automatically preventing racism, discrimination and parallel societies. Yet there is also a great program behind it!
As mentioned earlier, YouthBridge is a two-year program designed to turn young people into leaders. But what does that look like in action? Multiple, exciting and educational seminars are that are led by speakers from different cities and countries bring the young people together on a monthly basis and form the theoretical part of the program. During the seminars, participants learn about important social issues such as democracy, communication, respect, and self-realization. Project work is the second essential part of YouthBridge, which allows young people to put their newly acquired knowledge into use. In exciting social, cultural and political projects, the young people can implement their knowledge in practice! For example, YouthBridge cooperates with the SOS Children’s Villages, the Munich Animal Welfare Association, or various refugee shelters, creating interesting projects with the respective partners. In addition, the participants organize events on political topics or take part in panel discussions.
And the reason why this great project matches so well with the European Janusz Korczak Academy is easily explained: Janusz Korczak, after whom the Jewish organization is named, was a Polish Jewish pedagogue, who was especially interested in the values of respect, dialogue and involvement. Combined with the values of tolerance, friendship and solidarity, these are exactly the values that are crucial for YouthBridge!