Welcome to the 19th YMCA World Council


S̄wạs̄dī! Hello! Bonjour! Ohayo! Bwanji! G’day!

The 19th World Council kicks off this afternoon with over 1,200 delegates from over 80 countries represented who have travelled from as far and wide as Serbia, Peru, Myanmar and more to be part of the peak global event.

The air is hot and sticky in Chiang Mai, Thailand but the excitement is growing for a week of global strategy and reinforcing the YMCA’s commitment to youth empowerment through workshops, meetings, excursions and presentations.

The theme this year is dedicated to our global focus and long-term vision of Empowering Young People. “Youth Empowerment 4 Good” is an ongoing commitment to the 4 strategic areas: employment, health, environment and civic engagement.

World Council is also a celebration of 700 YMCA Change Agents who are the leaders of today and tomorrow.

The YMCA reaches over 60 million people and although the countries are diverse and offer many different programs we all stand together for young people.

The World Council aims to further unite YMCAs and our cause while also tackling important global issues such as youth unemployment, mental illness, climate change and more.

Highlights of the coming week include:

• Secretary General Report
• One Million Voices 2 Research and Press Conference
• Safe Space Strategy
• National Secretaries: Our Journey Together Presentation
• Elections and new president

Stay up to date by following our Facebook page.

You can also experience the excitement of the World Council through the eyes of our young change agents who will be sharing their stories through video, text and photo. Daily blogs will be shared on the blog page.

Sharing our story with Thai media: World Council Press Conference

19th YMCA World Council – Press Conference

Today over 29 Thai journalists attended the 19th YMCA World Council Press Conference.

With microphones and video cameras in hand they captured World YMCA Secretary General Johan Vilhelm Eltvik, the President of Thai Alliance of YMCAs Danuch Yontararak, and NGS of the YMCA of Chiang Mai Rachan Maneekarn sharing their excitement for the global YMCA movement coming to Thailand for the 19th YMCA World Council.

“The World Council meets every four years and is the highest decision making body of the World Alliance of YMCAs. We will be representing 120 members and 100,000 staff from across the world. Chiang Mai is going to be a wonderful venue for the World Council. The YMCA of Chiang Mai are amazing and the city is vibrant, alive and fresh,” Johan Vihelm Eltvik said.

The first World Council convened in 1855 with 99 delegates representing nine countries and now has grown into the largest youth movement in the world reaching 60 million young people globally.
In two days the World YMCA will welcome delegates from around the world from Albania through to Zimbabwe.
The World Council is responsible for setting the policies and direction of the World Alliance, electing its Officers and Executive Committee, evaluating the work of the last four years, and deliberating on priorities for the next quadrennium.
The World Council has made great strides in recent years by coming together under the banner of ‘youth empowerment’. This has included developing 700 young leaders from all over the world called YMCA Change Agents, who act at a community and global level to ensure that youth injustice is overcome and youth empowerment safeguarded.

The model is focused on empowering young people so they can change the world. We want to increase the number of young people reached by YMCAs to 90 million. Our theme in Chiang Mai is dedicated to our global focus and long-term vision of Empowering Young People.

This World Council theme builds upon the history of the YMCA and adds to its future: “Youth Empowerment 4 good.” Empowering young people is in the DNA of the YMCA global movement – and always will be. “Youth Empowerment 4 Good” is an ongoing commitment to our “4” long-term strategic focus areas – employment, health, environment and civic engagement – that address the biggest needs of the world’s young people. “4 good” is an affirmation of “forever” and also “for good works”, the result of our collective impact.
A second press conference will be held on Tuesday July 10 for the One Million Voices Research 2 Project.

World YMCA’s Jose Varghese appointed as next International Secretary General for Y’s Men International

Jose Varghese

Dear Friends,

I am very pleased to share with you all the announcement from my good friend Henry J. Grindheim, the International President of Y’s Men International of the appointment of Jose Varghese as the next International Secretary General.

This is a great example of the partnership between YMCAs and Ys Men that such an experienced and highly regarded YMCA leader is awarded this role.

Jose has been an outstanding member of the YMCA leadership teams in local, national and area levels and the last 8 years he has been a very valuable and resourceful member of my staff team at the World Alliance of YMCAs. So far my dear friend Jose has served this movement for more than 25 years.

I wholeheartedly congratulate him and wish him and the Ys Men God’s rich blessings and great success in the future.

Warm regards

Johan Vilhelm Eltvik, Secretary General – World YMCAs