(01) Presidential Note

Dear Readers of the YouthSpeak,

what a year! Looking backwards we always have the feeling that every year is running faster than the years before. That isn´t true, but the mass of things happening makes us

feel like that. And it isn´t true that more things happened these days. It is just the matter of fact that we know more about them, that we hear more news around the globe, that we might become more interested or open for people´s life just around the corner in Tunis or Oslo. There is a greater feeling of living close to each other through our better media connection, through our internet, facebook, our communication channels. Unfortunetaly there are not only good things, which make us proud and happy. Quite often the news just make great stories out of much greater tragedies. On 31st October the United Nations proclaimed that there are 7 Billion people on our earth. 7 billion people, each one with its own small story, ups and downs, chances and challenges, needs and sorrows.

Billions of tears have been cried that year in memory to the flood victims and Fukushima directly before the 25th

anniversary of the Tschernobyl disaster. Our heart broke when Oslo and Utoya happened in July, our thoughts were with all victims of 9/11 ten years ago, the German seperated history through the wallbuilding in 1961 and all bloody protests and demonstrations all over that year, not only in the Arabic world.

Is there consolation, any happiness, any release after the deaths of bin Laden and al-Gaddafi in our heart? How does that influence my little story here in my home? How does it influence you somewhere in Libya or in New York?

I´m just looking at my sleeping 14 months old little girl and feel a huge responsibility that it is up to me and 7 billion less one people to realize a world where my child can grow up without fear and gunshots, without hunger and grief, but with baby fat and laugh lines, with hugs and kisses.

Maybe we can promote 2012 not only as our 10 years anniversary of IHEYO´s existence, maybe it is also time to give space for free hugs, time for laughters, time to share and more news like them:

2011 was the European year of volunteers, the International Women´s Day was celebrated for the 100th time and the Noble Peace Prize was given to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakel Karman for their non-violent fight for the protection of women and women rights that they can completely take part in the peace movement.

It would be great if that would not stay an exception. An exception like that should become the rule. All the best for you. All the best for 2012.

Silvana Uhlrich-Knoll,

President IHEYO.