Posted by: thebluemusicblog | August 6, 2013


Monday August 5th is a historic day – the first meeting of the whole team of Global Change Agents. We wished to have 200 of them and we have 270 and 220 came to Prague. Because of stormy weather the Festival Site was closed and as I described in the previous blog post, we had to improvise and this historic event therefore took place in the charming Hotel Atlantic downtown Prague, in Na Porici, just across the street for the YMCA building in Prague.


I could feel and hear the Blue Music loudly and clearly in that Congress hall as it filled up with dedicated and committed Change Agents from 6 continents. This was an important milestone in my life and in the life of the movement and I could feel the dimensions of it. I was in fact very happy that moment. The rest of the experience did not disappointment me either.


The last preparations in an improvised headquarter, Bob is setting up the technical back up and making the final changes to the planned facilitation.


Good friends are helping us with practical issues and moral support, here Bob Cabeza, Long Beach, Mary Anne, Canada, Romulo, Gerard and Selma.


After the first welcome and orientation I gave a speech on NEW WAY and Youth Empowerment, we called it the Bigger Picture, to show where the visions and ideas came from and to touch base with the first challenges formulated in our strategy NEW WAY.


After the plenary inputs we divided into small groups and spread out all over the hotel. We were sitting on the floor, in corridors, in corners and used the personal hotel rooms.


The lucky few had chairs.


Even more lucky people on chairs.


While a few were traveling first class and experienced real luxury with deep sofas and very comfortable chairs in the bar area.


Back in plenary there is intense concentration and full focus. This is not a crowd of lazy, unengaged people, on the contrary,


you can see their commitment in their eyes and in their body language!


Out of this intense concentration came a lot of good and well formulated questions.


In preparation for the opening show later on the same day we watched the Change Agent Video prepared by Samuel Diaz and we had the last rehearsal of the Change Agent speech, to be given from the Main Stage later on that day. It was delivered with energy and enthusiasm by Alvin and Miriro.


Next day, the morning of August 6, Team Building with Bob Cabeza is on the schedule, and for two hours all the participants are mixed and melted into a common feeling of team, friendship, exhaustion and sweat. Great fun and great inspiration.


Bob is organizing his troops and shouting instructions. People loved it!


Plenary again. Today I spoke about the challenges they had identified themselves in the preparation period leading up to Prague, and I was talking about multiple identities, how we relate our local identity with our identities as National, Area and Global leaders. How do we prioritize between the different levels? We all agreed that the local level remains the most important level, that is the level where we deliver our mission. And we pretty much agreed that there needs to be consistency and integrity in how we deal with the three different levels, local, national and global, and we could see that if operated appropriately, the global engagement should come back to the local level as a blessing and as progress.


Members of the Resource Team gathered to evaluate and sum up the work so far.


Back to the Festival itself. Yesterday, august 6, it eventually was officially opened with a huge crowd in front of the Tower.


Kerry Reilly and her kids all deserve a huge hug. Kerry is the Big Boss, the Chair of the Prep Committee, and she has worked hard over several years to prepare for the Festival. We have worked together on the two previous Festivals as well. John and Patricia are also here for the third time, they are Kerry’s parents, and John was the National Secretary of YMCA Scotland for a number of years. All of them my very good friends from Scotland, not to forget James, Kerry’s husband 🙂


Two good friends from YMCA Europe.


Three good friends from the USA


Three good friends from Russia, Nikolai, Edward and Misha.


Korniy from Ukraine, one of the artists I am mostly impressed with, and he is a true artist. If you are lucky, you will experience him in Estes Park at World Council next year, June 29-July 5, 2014.


Alvin and Miriro giving the Change Agent introduction speech to the crowd – very well delivered!


Humbly Yours delivering a short presentation of One Million Voices. I also used my short time in the limelight to send the warmest congratulations to Silje, who has birthday on the 6th of August. Happy Birthday, Silje!


Three good friends from Germany serving Crepes and coffee and unhealthy things with Nutella on them. Behind their supervisor.


  1. Dear Johan and the other 269, thanks a lot for your enthousiam, joy and involvement.I am particularly happy to see a strong team ofYoung Swiss YMCA leaders Primo BursikYMCA Geneva and Frenche Speakig YMCA o.i.c of external relations young Swiss

    > Message du 06/08/13 17:40 > De : “Blue Music Blog” > A : > Copie à : > Objet : [New post] CHANGE AGENTS IN ACTION! > > thebluemusicblog posted: “Monday August 5th is a historic day – the first meeting of the whole team of Global Change Agents. We wished to have 200 of them and we have 270 and 220 came to Prague. Because of stormy weather the Festival Site was closed and as I described in the previ”

  2. Thanks for this Johan..a great way for those of us, left at home to keep the YMCA working, to keep in touch with all the excitement of Prague!

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