ADVISORY COUNCIL ON YOUTH OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
“The Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth (ACoY) is the non-governmental partner in the co-management structure which establishes the standards and work priorities of the Council of Europe’s youth sector and makes recommendations for future priorities, programmes and budgets. It is made up of 30 representatives from youth NGOs and networks in Europe and its main task is to advise the Committee of Ministers on all questions relating to youth. Specifically, the Advisory Council helps to ensure youth policies are mainstreamed into the Council of Europe’s programme of activities by providing opinions and proposals to all of the Organisation’s bodies. It also ensures that young people are involved in other activities of the Council of Europe and promotes the policies beyond the Organisation.”
FEMYSO has been represented in the Advisory Council on Youth for six mandates in total and is currently (2020-2021) still represented by Hande Taner, ExCo Member and Head of Media.
The previous mandates and the representatives are as following:
- 2001-2003 Taris Ahmad;
- 2006-2008 Sunduss Al–Hassani;
- 2009-2011 Intissar Kherigi; Programming Committee on Youth
- 2012-2013 Ghofran Ounissi; ACoY/CMJ Bureau member
- 2014-2015 Youssef Himmat, ACoY/CMJ Bureau member. Portfolios: No Hate Speech, Africa-Europe youth co-operation; young people’s access to their rights.
- 2016-2017 Youssef Himmat, substitute member of the Programming Committee on Youth. Portfolios: No Hate Speech, Africa-Europe youth co-operation
- 2020-2021 Hande Taner, CMJ (Joint Council on Youth) coordinator on anti-racism; substitute member of the Programming Committee on Youth. Portfolios: Management Committee with Ukraine; Management Committee with Russia; EU-CoE Youth Cooperation
Why are we in the Advisory Council on Youth?
One of the main aims of FEMYSO’s work is to encourage European Muslim youth to become active citizens and to engage with the European conception of citizenship. Our work in this area includes trainings, seminars, conferences, debates and publications to examine and reflect on the meaning of citizenship in a European Muslim youth context and to address obstacles to active citizenship within the different European states. Another main focus of our work is interfaith and intercultural dialogue, and we work to develop strong relations with other faiths and non-faith groups and encourage greater dialogue and understanding. Given the many debates around integration and violent radicalisation in Europe, and the pressures this can put on intercultural and interfaith relations and on young European Muslims, we believe our work is crucial in building valuable bridges between communities and encouraging ethical and active participation by Muslim youth. FEMYSO campaigns how Islamophobia is negatively impacting young people and youth identity. We listen to young people, their views on this issue and provide a unique platform for youth who are affected by racism, discrimination and Islamophobia and work on ways to counter this reality through intercultural understanding and intra- community action. Our trainings and activities focus on embedding positive ethics of active citizenship, social harmony and respect for human rights, equality and justice within all youth. We believe the diversity of Europe is its strength, and we all work together to build a peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Europe for all. Since the CoE has shaped the modern discourse of rights and is pioneering in protecting human rights and active youth participation, the ACoY provides a perfect opportunity to work with the Council of Europe to realise these values in the lives of every single Young person in CoE countries, regardless of their race, faith or any other background.
Who are FEMYSO’s representatives in the ACoY?
FEMYSO’s representatives, just like most of its ExCo members and volunteers, have always passionately engaged in working with young people and developing their potential. We believe that youth voice is crucial in policymaking: young people more often have new and constructive solutions to contribute. In the Advisory Council, we can voice the concerns of youth in a constructive manner and put forward positive, workable solutions to real problems – which we have done throughout our engagement with young people, and especially young European Muslims. Our representatives always have both the grassroots knowledge and expertise to represent European youth and their concerns. Moreover, they have positive, constructive attitude to the various challenges we have and are highly motivated to construct innovative means of addressing them. They also have an awareness of youth issues across Europe and believe in the values of the Council of Europe and the work it has pioneered.
FEMYSO’s experience in the Council of Europe’s youth sector priorities:
FEMYSO’s activities and involvement in the AC in 2020-2021
- General responsibilities: attending statutory meetings and relevant portfolio and portfolio group related meetings, events and trainings
- Representing the AC in external events as speaker and/or participant
- Survey for youth and youth organisations and drafting a report on identifying the priorities for the CoE youth sector 2020-2021
- COVID-19 survey for youth and youth organisations on the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic on youth work and youth activities
- Developing a new campaign for democracy of the CoE youth sector
- Work together with the Bureau to follow up on the anti-racism and Black Lives Matter movements. Outcome was a new role in the CMJ: an anti-racism coordinator, for the first time in the history of the CMJ. Hande Taner was nominated and appointed by decision as the anti-racism coordinator.