Marching closer to Geneva

It’s just after 10:00 in the morning here in Yverdon, Switzerland, and we are packing up and getting ready to start the final leg of the “Journey of an Idea” / March to Geneva. We will arrive in Geneva this afternoon, and on Thursday we will present the 2009 World Red Cross and Red Crescent Youth Declaration to officials from the United Nations, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Although we can’t tell you what the Declaration says yet, we will try to post it here as soon as it is officially delivered on Thursday. As a member of the Drafting Committee for the Declaration, I can tell you that we worked very seriously and diligently to ensure that all voices and opinions were heard, and to ensure that nothing was added to the Declaration which was not discussed by the youth who participated in the workshops at the World Youth Meeting last week. In other words, we think we can say that the Declaration is truly the united voice of all 50 million Red Cross and Red Crescent youth.

We have been walking toward Geneva for the last three days in a symbolic gesture. We youth have worked hard to identify the challenges we face, and the methods we want to use to address and fix those challenges (this is what happened at the World Youth Meeting last week). Now, to make sure our voice is heard, we have to deliver our conclusions (the “Declaration”) to the senior management and leaders of the entire Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. This is why we are going to Geneva.

This entire process only happens every ten years, which is why we are taking it so seriously and trying to make sure all of you are involved. The timing is also related to Strategy 2020, the overall planning and strategy document for the entire Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. So, what we youth say and decide here in Switzerland could and should have an effect on all youth programs and policies, all over the world, for the next ten years. This is why it is so important that everyone is involved.

Ok. Enough policy and theory for early in the morning! Last night, we were welcomed to the city of Yverdon by the local government and the local Red Cross office, and we were treated to a beautiful moonlight dinner cruise on the lake. One of the best parts of the March has been all of the informal time available to network and speak casually with all of the other youth leaders, because it’s actually the best way to develop working relationships and learn from one another. On the boat, we were able to network some more (at least, when the yodelers weren’t yodeling), and I’m really looking forward to more chances to speak and network during the walk today.

Last night, we stayed in an old Swiss military bunker hidden in the mountainside underneath a middle school, and this morning, we were serenaded by an alpine horn player at breakfast. I’ll post some pictures so you all can see what it’s like.

Inside our bunker

Inside our bunker

canteen area

Aubin Dupree, Yverdon

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