YMCA175 Programme Announcement

Programme announcement

Our dynamic programme features over 70 seminars, lectures and workshops embracing the UN Sustainable Development Goals of health, environment, civic engagement, education, economic empowerment & employment. Keynote speakers and leaders are set to share their knowledge, interact with you and lead exciting conversations about how you can help shape change in your community.

We’re excited to announce that youth voice activist and YMCA alumna Ashley Kolaya will act as a leading plenary host. Ashley directs curation and speaker coaching for TED-Ed  and TED Masterclass  and will also be offering workshops to help young leaders develop their stories and share their voices in the form of TED-style talks.

Other prominent keynote speakers include Amnesty International’s  Secretary General Kumi Naidoo, a lifelong social justice and environmental campaigner who will be part of a panel leading a civic engagement-themed discussion on improving quality of life. Archbishop of York and YMCA England & Wales  President John Sentamu will also be sharing his life lessons with young leaders.

Performances from artists such as Guvna B (a rapper who won the MOBO Award  for Best Gospel Act in 2010), Philippa Hanna (a contemporary Christian music singer-songwriter) and Jake Isaacs (an up-and-coming singer/songwriter) will ensure that everyone can join in with the celebration of 175 years of YMCA. There will also be inspirational poetry from Joshua Idehen and performances from the Saltmine Theatre Company  with excerpts from Soul in the Machine, telling the story of founder George Williams and the beginnings of YMCA.

Take a look to find out more about what’s on 4-8 August. There is still time to register if you haven’t yet done so – but note that the deadline is 30 June.
Register today! 

175 stories for 175 years
Be a special part of this anniversary celebration and send in your YMCA story. We want to share messages from people of all ages and backgrounds, so don’t be shy. All we need is a 30-second selfie video, shot horizontally, with your name, country and how YMCA has shaped your life. Easy right?

To take part, send in your videos to:  palmer@ymca.int
Deadline for entries is 31 May.


Young Entrepreneur Boot Camp


Much of what is required today may be largely irrelevant tomorrow. How can we prepare teenagers for a world of unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties?

Beyond predetermined skills, we want to help young people  challenge the status quo, understand machine language, communicate effectively across all channels and more.


  • Young people aged 14-17
  • Limited to 24 participants for highly interactive sessions
  • An assessment will be done to ensure fit with programme
  • Best for young people already working on or planning projects

For more details click here


Please apply with a short motivation statement to entrepreneurs@YMCA.int before 31 May 2019.

Sri Lanka attacks

People pray during a funeral service for bomb blast victims at St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo on April 23, 2019, two days after a series of bomb attacks targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. – (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP /Getty Images)

Once again our world is mourning the loss of hundreds of innocent people due to a multitude of deliberate attacks against Easter worshipers and holiday makers in Sri Lanka this past Sunday. To date 310 are dead with more than 450 injured and being tended to at local hospitals.

This tragedy has been felt across the YMCA family.

“I heard two blasts from my apartment, which is close to my office and Shangri La Hotel, and I never thought it was a bomb,” said YMCA Sri Lanka National General Secretary Theonis C. Brownson. “Then one-by-one all the sad news was shared on TV.”

Volunteers and staff from YMCA Sri Lanka soon began helping the victims on-site and at area hospitals by donating blood. The support, however, goes beyond the victims themselves.

“Today, YMCA is organising interreligious meetings in Batticaloa to ensure religious harmony in Sri Lanka,” said Brownson.

For 175 years, YMCA has played a significant role during times of conflict offering safe spaces to all, regardless of religious background. Today, we stand with our colleagues in Sri Lanka as they carry that torch in support of those affected by the bombings.

Sri Lanka is home to nearly 21.5 million people, just over 7% of whom are Christian. As an organisation founded on Christian values it’s hard not to feel the effects, but it’s through these values that YMCA remains steadfast in its commitment to peace.

“I believe that whether a country is predominantly Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or any other religion, no one should be excluded or oppressed,” said World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Madjri Sanvee. “In fact, it is our duty to actively include all in society.”

YMCA will continue to celebrate the diversity of its 12,000 communities around the globe and condemns those who seek to harm others based on their religion; therefore, YMCA appeals to the people of Sri Lanka and beyond to be instruments of peace during this dark time rather than revenge.