2005 issue 4, Nov/Dec

IHEYO at the UNESCO youth Forum
IHEYO present at the Council of Europe
IHEYO takes stand against funding by EU for World Catholic Youth Days

IHEYO participates in CRY’s youth Camp in Uganda
International Summer School 2005 in Russia
In the Spotlight: member YOCADS

President's note

I am proud to present to you already the fourth edition of our YouthSpeak which contains a lot of humanist news and update on IHEYO. New in this YouthSpeak is our 'Profile'-article. This will be the start of a series of articles in which we hopefully in each YouthSpeak introduce to you one of our member organisation and its activities.

Also new is that on our site, you can click for the full articles of the reports here. And you can find more news in the online forum. Since this is a packed issue, I will keep my editorial short.

Gea Meijers

IHEYO at the UNESCO youth Forum in Paris

From 30 September to 2 October more than 200 young people from all over the world gathered at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for the 4th UNESCO Youth Forum. IHEYO was present as one of the observers and was able to make people not forget that there are also non-religious life stances. Some references to general lifestances were included in the end resolutions.

The theme of this year’s Forum, held in connection with the 33 rd session of the UNESCO General Conference, was ‘Young people and the Dialogue among Cultures and Civilizations - ideas for action in education, the sciences, culture and communication’. There were three thematic working groups:

  • ‘All different, all unique: celebrating cultural diversity through dialogue’
  • ‘Safeguarding the future: practising dialogue for sustainable development’
  • ‘Learning to live together: promoting dialogue for peace and reconciliation’ 

To read the full report on IHEYO’s participation and the resolutions drafted, please go to: .

International Summer School 2005 on Humanism and Contemporary Philosophy

(Moscow, Russia)

Tatiana Pesotskaya, coordinator of the Summer School and active member of CFI Russia and the Russian Humanist Society, invites you to read this delicious report....

Probably, you, my reader, would like to listen to a lively story, rather than dwell in a heavy philosophical stuff or cold descriptions. You can count on it. I will try to slake your thirst for knowledge and new impressions in a relaxing and pleasant way. And who said it cannot be so? We can explore humanism in a variety of forms and manners. For instance, a bouquet of… dark red roses in your room… that’s what you thought of, didn’t you?

I see… But for this time it is a bouquet of humanist wishes. Have you ever played this simple, yet meaningful game? Then let me bring you back to the summer time…

Around us the splendid views of the old city of Moscow, the city of gold-domes, shining in the sun. The Kremlin, surrounded by red brick walls with towers, Red Square, the heart of Moscow, where you can stop for a while in front of St. Basil's Cathedral to listen to the echoes of past… and feel the glorious history of Russia in one glance. Or you might find yourself crossing the interlacement of cosy lanes of the Old Arbat and willing to have a coffee-break or maybe a light lunch, turning into a hearty meal quite often, especially when you are trying Russian “shi”, “pelmeni”, “vareniki” with curd or cherry.

Or maybe one of those delicious traditional pies (we call them “pirogi”) with meat, mushrooms, berries and fruits. How about a pancake with caviar or honey? But plenus venter non studet libenter. A full belly doesn't like studying. Still “da mihi sis bubulae frustrum assae, solana tuberosa in modo Gallico fricta, ac quassum lactatum coagulatum crassum”. Give me a hamburger, french fries and a thick shake, please. You don’t like it…? Then try to remember the lines above.

You can find and enjoy whatever your heart is dreaming of in this modern cosmopolitan metropolis, not only in tastes of food. You are definitely to experience a unique combination of past and present, uniting different epochs, styles and tastes. This is what the participants experienced during the 2nd CFI MSU International Summer School on Humanism and Contemporary Philosophy.

The Summer School lasted for two weeks in August and was held at Moscow State University (MSU), which celebrated its 250th Anniversary in January. Organized by the CFI - Transnational (Amherst, USA), CFI - Russia (Moscow, Russia) and the Department of Philosophy of Moscow State University, the summer school brought together nearly forty students, scholars, skeptics and freethinkers aged 16 - 65 from different corners of Russia, central and north-western regions, Dagestan, Siberia. As rich the Russian

Prof. Valerii Kuvakin, President of the Russian Humanist Society (RHS) and the Executive Director of the CFI-Russia taught Humanist Ethics and Contemporary Humanism. David Koepsell, the Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism (CHS) and an adjunct Professor of Philosophy at SUNY-Buffalo (USA), taught a critical thinking course, which was truly enjoyable and full of bright examples from experience and law practice. Professor Emeritus, Peter Hare, SUNY at Buffalo, delivered brilliant lectures on American Pragmatism, with a special emphasis on the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, a man of “vices and virtues”, an aristocrat and great thinker with a terrible temper. In our inquiring minds appeared a genius, who was not shy to say that:

“I intend to make a philosophy like that of Aristotle, that is to say, to outline a theory so comprehensive that, for a long time to come, the entire work of human reason, in philosophy of every school and kind, in mathematics, in psychology, in physical science, in history, in sociology, and in whatever other department there may be, shall appear as the filling up of its details.” ~ C. S. Peirce

( )

Debates and fruitful discussions on human nature, spirituality, humanism as a universal worldview and life stance continued even after 5 o’clock. The formal part was over and everyone looked forward to evening fun, sightseeing or being happy campers and going on a picnic to the wood. A lot was discovered and learned from sharing, deep insights, psychological games (remember that “humanist bouquet”, when everyone in a circle wish each other all the good life’s things).

A variety of backgrounds and experiences created a kind of "humanist universe", opened up to each and everyone. There was a “movie night” with a thrilling “Heart of the Beholder”, a freethought independent film, based on a true story and facts. And there were moving stories afterwards. Smiles, curiosity, excitement. The birth of new plans and projects.

A group of students and professors from Novosibirsk suggested organizing the 3 rd International Summer School 2006 in Siberia. So everyone can become a little bit closer to nature, unspoiled beauty and joys of simple life, things we often lack in our globilized world with hi-tech culture. Why not? Nature has always been a great source of inspiration for me. Probably, for you, as well.

Sunrises and sunsets, warm breeze and the mighty waves of the ocean, clear white sands and orange trees, snow-covered mountains and lakes, shining stars, pointing the destination… Here comes my knowledge. Here comes my delight.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~ Frank Lloyd Wright.

IHEYO participates in CRY’s youth Camp in Uganda

IHEYO board member Asaba Lawrence attended the regional youth camp organised by Conflict resolution by the youth (CRY ) once again organized a regional youth camp in East Africa. This regional camp was held in Katakwi district, Usuk village, North-Eastern Uganda, East Africa. This is one of the areas that has been disastrously affected by the 19-year-old insurgency in Northern Uganda.

The camp, run between 18-25 September 2005 and attracted participants from Uganda and Kenya The main theme of the camp was “Youth as a resource“. Experiences were shared and this tradition of sharing is also part of the forth coming similar camps in Rwanda and Kenya.

One of the main events were the cerebrations of the UN day for peace on the 21 of September. Community help initiatives were carried out and we visited the internally displaced people’s camps (IDPC’s) where our presence had a positive remarkable impact. IHEYO donated internet airtime to the administration board of CRY of 6 hours per week for three months as a way of opening communication doors and the world of IT.

click here for the full report:

Also, IHEYO member organisation Mentor Volunteers Uganda (MVU) held its annual youth camp from 28th August to 4th September at Lake Victoria school Entebbe Wakiso District

Preventing violence against children, annual youth camp by MVU, Uganda

The camp gathered 48 young people from Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Kitgum and Apac Districts. The theme was ‘ preventing violence against children’. Young people learned about the causes and the consequences of different forms of violence against children, taking into account the various setting in which violence take place both private and public in urban and rural communities. Read more:

IHEYO present at the Council of Europe, 3-5 October 2005, Strassbourg

Together with Rosemary Wanjala, a very active and qualified Kenyan young humanist, IHEYO president Gea Meijers represented international humanists at the meetings for International NGO’s during the General Parliamentarian Session at the Council of Europe. Click here for more and the report on the Parliamentarian sessions:

IHEYO takes stand against funding by EU for World Catholic Youth Days

IHEYO urged the European Commission and Parliament earlier this year, not to grant money to the World Catholic Youth Days. Youth days of other life stances are not given any money either and by granting money to the Catholic youth days, the EU gives up his stand of neutrality. For the full statement:

IHEYO Conference 2005

Hereby a brief outline of the conference. Full reports, overview of workshops, background information, click here.

This year, IHEYO organised its already fourth annual international humanist youth conference parallel to the IHEU World Congress. Actually the tradition of this event started at the previous IHEU World Congress in 2002! This year, it was co-organised with la Ligue de l'Enseignement and with a focus on interculturalism and young active citizenship. It took place from 9 th to 14 th of July in Paris. Around 50 young humanists and human rights activists have gathered for a week of intense collaboration, inspiration and fun.

Based on IHEYO’s experiences of previous conferences, this event was a mix of cultural activities, practical training, workshops and interesting in-depth debate. This conference required even more active involvement of the participants and it was a much longer conference. The first few days focussed on giving a theoretical background to the theme, so that participants could draw up their project proposal in the last days of the conference

The conference was mainly financed through a funding from the Council of Europe. The conference consisted of participants coming from European countries, but there were also some participants from the other continents. The participants came from: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine and the US. In total 18 different countries.

The conference resulted in an inspiring exchange and some newly developed and good projects we can carry out. These were developed by the participants who divided into groups. The following projects were developed:

1) Training of humanist trainers
2) Website project to redesign and maintain the IHEYO site
3) Intercultural Arts Camp
4) Camp for promoting interculturalism
5) Discovering Education through Critical Thinking
6) Flying Humanists
7) Partnership between East African and Western young humanists

At the last day of the conference, the group and the jury voted for the best project. The project ‘training of humanist trainers’ was awarded with the most votes and received an amount of 500 Euro given by IHEYO for implementing the project. It was difficult to choose because all projects were good and the time for developing the projects was really short. IHEYO hopes that the projects will be implemented by the groups. Several groups have informed us that they were really keen to do so and we will definitely follow up.

It is important to see that young people exchange their experience of life in a natural way. It is amazing when a girl from Serbia, who has never known a world without hatred, war and fear, discuses with a young man from Belgium and from Norway, who have never seen a gun in their life, about humanism, nationalism, cultures, religious fundamentalism and terror. At that time we know it is a good conference because these are the experiences and encounters the participants will never forgets.

You can find the full conference report with a full overview of the developed project, presentations of speakers and workshop descriptions at the IHEYO site: Do check it out! 

IHEYO, Other news

New Members to IHEYO

In the last YouthSpeak we informed you on our latest General Assembly. This is the highest decision making body of IHEYO comprised by its non-voting and voting members. The GA also decided on the applications for membership to IHEYO and accepted the following organisations as member on the condition that organisations can show that they are formally registered in their country. Not all organisation had sent to IHEYO this government registration.

Accepted as full member:
British Humanist Assocation, UK
Social Development Foundation, India
Tarksheel Society Punjab (Rational Society Punjab), India 
Humanist Assocation of Nepal “Youth Wing”, HUMAN, Nepal
Youth for Community Academic and Development Services (YOCADS), Liberia

Accepted as consultative member:
Youth Development Initiative, India
Manavatvadi Vishwa Sansthan, India
Rescue Mission Planet Earth Uganda, Uganda
Mentor Volunteers Uganda (MVU), Uganda
Youth for Youth –Kenya
Inter Okapi Association –youth for action- Kenya
Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya (HEUK), Kenya 
Children in Need Sierra Leone
Cameroon Association for the Protection and Education of the child (CAPEC), Cameroon 
Young African Researchers Network (YARN), Nigeria
Ibadan University Humanist Society, Nigeria 
Asociación Ediciones de La Revistta Peruana de Filosofia Aplicada (AERPFA), Peru
Humanistisch Vredesberaad, Netherlands

Full members have one up to three votes at the General Assembly. The total number of full members is now 18. The total numbers of consultative members is also 18 and they have no vote at the General Assembly.


IHEYO has joined IHEU. This was accepted by the General Assembly of IHEU and of IHEYO. IHEU is the umbrella organisation for humanists, rationalists, freethinkers and skeptics around the world. The past years, since IHEYO's reactivation in 2000, IHEYO and IHEU have talked about how to formally shape their connection. There has always been a natural linkage between IHEYO and IHEU. The talks about how to formalise the connection, has now been resolved by IHEYO being a full member to IHEU. This gives IHEYO full voting rights at the General Assembly of IHEU. IHEYO looks forward to continue working with IHEU.

Change of staff members IHEYO

The first part of 2005, Lars-Petter Helgestad worked for IHEYO as our executive director. He has now returned to Norway and started his studies. The officer was made possible through funding of the Institute for Humanist Studies. For next year, Gea Meijers will take up the officer’s position meaning some one else from the board will take over her functions. She will start in January for a full half year and hopefully longer. This is also financed by the Institute for Humanist Studies.

Lars-Petter made himself very valuable the past half year by doing for most part the organising of the IHEYO conference and organising our administration. IHEYO Executive Committee thanked him for his work when he returned to Norway beginning of August. He remains active as one of our boardmembers. 

Spotlight: new member YOCADS

The Youth for Community Academic and Development Services (YOCADS) has been accepted as full member to IHEYO this year.

YOCADS is eager to make humanism more known in Liberia. They want to educate Liberian youth especially in the areas of social justice, their rights as individuals, on civil liberty and to defend freedom of religion and non-belief. Alphonso K. Weah, director: “we realize that there is a huge need to carrying out humanist programs aiming at sensitizing and raising awareness, especially among the youth population”. YOCADS is a Liberian based youth organisation that was founded in 2000 by youth who saw the need to address the many impediments as a result of the 14 years civil war.

The past year two years, YOCADS has worked on an advocacy and awareness campaign on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs came about at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 when 189 head of States and Governments pledged to work together to make a better world for all by eradicating poverty and hunger, combat Hiv/Aids, malaria and other diseases, improve maternal health, reduce child mortality, achieve universal primary education, equality for men and women, clean water for everybody and protection of the environment and international agreement on fair trade with a good solution to the debts that most of the poor countries have.
According to YOCADS, 90 percent of Liberians, particularly youths, know nothing about the goals and which ones will hopefully be achieved by their government in 2015. For the achievement of the MDGs it is important that youth are adequately informed about the goals and how they can assist in achieving these goals. Therefore YOCADS initiated their campaign. Also YOCADS tries to reach other specific groups with the campaign, like indigenous people.

Objectives of YOCADS include:

  • develop and expose Liberian youths towards the tremendous global changes that are fast approaching so that we make things develop toward a truly human society;
  • promote and encourage respect for human rights and freedom for all without distinction of race, sex, language, culture or region;
  • further the acceptance and the application of science, reason, and critical thinking in all human activities;
  • defend democratic principles and values as a means of protecting human rights; and
  • fight Child abuse and all other forms of human degradation.

For more on the workshops and other activities carried out in this campaign and for information as to how YOCADS tries to increase humanist awareness in Liberia, you can contact them.

Alphonso K. Weah, Executive Director/YOCADS
YOCADS: e-mail


IHEYOYouthSpeak!..nothing but Rationality, Human and Scientific development.
edited by:
Gea Meijers , co-editor: Lars-Petter Helgestad.
Contact YouthSpeak at: