Posted by: thebluemusicblog | June 22, 2013



I am 30 000 feet over the Baltic Sea, heading East and North, Later today I will fly over Siberia, in fact cover all of Siberia, all the way to Vladivostok. We will be relatively close to the North Pole before we curve down towards the Pacific Ocean and land in Tokyo tomorrow morning. It is very cold down there!


It has been a very busy spring, and no time to deliver my regular blog posts. Partly the days have been filled with work from morning till night, partly I have had no internet when I had an hour free. But here we go again, the Blue Music Blog flies higher than before! Flying High and Low. Who can send me a message about the origin of my title of this blog post?


The Youth Empowerment agenda of the NEW WAY Strategy has made real progress over these last months. We set out to recruit 200 Change Agents from around the globe to work with us to implement the change we see is needed We have fundraised and motivated people to join this important undertaking, and today we have no less than 249 Change Agents in full action. They are being trained and brought together in Area groups in Europe, in Latin America, in Asia and Pacific, in Africa and in Canada and USA. For the Middle East we had a training course in Egypt recently.


For most of those training courses our Executive Secretary for Youth Empowerment, Romulo Dantas, has been the key leader, and we are very consciously investing his time and efforts so that all the Change Agents will recognize Romulo as the inspiring leader of this new undertaking. In addition to Romulo, the rest of the WAY staff and Area Staff have been actively involved.


Webinars and on-line training is provided for all the participants and they are writing essays and delivering reports according to fixed timelines. Now the next big adventure facing our Change Agents is the YMCA Europe Festival in Prague the first week of August. We will fly all 249 Change Agents to Prague. In the mornings they will have intensive training sessions and we will use the week in Prague to create a real team feeling for the whole group. In the afternoons and evenings they will participate in the programme and introduce the Change Model Space-Transformation-Impact for the thousands of young YMCA leaders coming to the festival. In this way we will train and prepare our Change Agents for the World Council in Estes Park in the summer of 2014, where they will help us to change the way we make world events in the YMCA.

Each one of these Change Agents have their own Mentor, an experienced leader of the YMCA, who will dedicate time and care and wisdom for our young leaders. We hope and believe that our Mentors will find a lot of inspiration in this close work with the new generation YMCA leaders from around the globe.


We started this very ambitious programme without any funds at all. Today we have 1 million dollars pledged and raised so that the Change Agent programme for 2 years is fully financed.


At the same time we are launching the 1 Million Voices youth research, the biggest and most extensive research on young people of 15-24 years of age ever. We have several partners already, a very experienced researcher, Professor Fred Coulter, is our coaching partner, ILO (The International  Labour Organization) is our technical partner, and several of the 6 Big, the other Youth Organizations of the world, are interested in working with us on this great research project. We plan to deliver a first report from this research in 2015. It is a huge undertaking with a lot of people involved. We have already 50 National Movements signed up for the project. You will hear a lot more about this project in the near future. We need to raise another 1 million dollars for this project and we are knocking at many doors these days to find funding partners. Please send us ideas!

Since the very successful Executive Committee meeting in Jericho, Palestine, early April, and the NAYDO meeting in Vancouver, I have been traveling in the country I am flying over just now while I am writing these words – Russia.  First I met with Fredrik from Norwegian Y and Egil Odd from Y’s Men Norway in St. Petersburg where I brought them together with Nikolay and Misha from the Russian YMCA. We discussed partnerships and planned for joint projects and prepared for Change Agents training in Russia and Eastern Europe.


The meeting in St. Petersburg included one day with brilliant sunshine and a fascinating excursion to places where Dostoyevsky had lived and worked in this big  and beautiful city.


We also discussed another famous person from St. Petersburg, presently extremely influential in the Russian society and who happens to create rather serious problems for NGOs in this country just now. No names mentioned here, but we were planning survival strategies with our partners.


From St. Petersburg the train took us through the majestic Russian Taiga to the YMCA centre at Volga, close to Yaroslavl. Vitaly, the Russian YMCA President, joined our discussions there, and we were planning for our world YMCA President Ken Colloton’s visit in August, together with Tom Valentine and Kent Mayer from Estes Park. A very important visit to further develop the new partnership between Russia YMCA and YMCA of the Rockies.


Easter Sunday was celebrated in Orthodox way with beautiful ceremonies during the night before, I visited three churches and saw the different processions. The strongest impression for me was all the young people participating in services and processions. Fascinating!


Just now I am sitting 33 000 feet over Russia and can see the river Volga down there.


I can see the reflection of both the Russian past and the Russian future in the eyes of this young boy during Easter night celebration.


Two weeks ago I gave a key note speech in Grossmunster Cathedral in Zurich to celebrate hundred years of CEVI (YMCA) Military Service.

DSC_3991 - Arbeitskopie 2_2

The highest commanding officer of the Swiss Military.

At my side in the church was the Chief Commander of the Swiss  Military, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland and representatives for political life in Switzerland.

DSC_3987 - Arbeitskopie 2_2

Quite impressive and a very strong recognition of this YMCA work, competently led by my very good friend Martin Weder. At his side his wife Helen.

DSC_3635 - Arbeitskopie 2_2

Last week took me to London where I met with the Alliance of Youth CEOs, or the leaders of the Big 6, Red Cross/Crescent, Boy Scouts (WOSM), Girl Scouts (WAGGS), YWCA and the International Award Association. Again a very interesting and future oriented meeting. We are representing more than 100 million young people in those organizations. Next time I will host the meeting of the Big 6 in Geneva, and the theme will be Youth Empowerment.


5 of the 6 Big, WAGGGS, YMCA, Prince’s Trust, YWCA and Red Cross/Crescent.

A day with the staff team of Y Care under its new CEO Adam Leach followed, and the day after I was invited by Daleep, the Chair of the Board of Y Care International to speak to their volunteers and participate in a days meeting of the Board.


Adam Leach together with Roland Werner.


Tom Valentine, Adam Leach, Jose Varghese and Martin Meissner.

After London I took Selma with me to Amsterdam and Utrecht where I had asked for a meeting with the CEO and staff members of ICCO, the Dutch Church Aid. Ed Egging accompanied us to that meeting, where we introduced the Change Agent programme as well as the 1 Million Voices Research. It was a meeting in a very friendly and constructive atmosphere.


And here I am, sailing over Siberia on my way to Japan and the National YMCA General Assembly and a meeting of the General Secretaries from Japan. I will also visit the Tsunami hit areas of Japan and spend altogether 10 days in this exciting country where we have a strong YMCA organization.





  1. Flying high and low = A-ha 🙂



  2. the blue music. what a beautiful inspiration…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: