Carlos Sanvee’s New Year message: ‘We are reimagining ourselves and our world’

Date: 10 January 2023

In an address to the global Movement, World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee shares his Vision for 2023 and beyond.

Dear friends in the global YMCA Movement,

We made promises to each other in 2022 which we must fulfil in 2023. And there’s no time to lose.

There really is so much to do this year, in a world which needs us so badly.

As we have said: ‘This is our moment. This is our time. Let’s ignite change.’

Change in how we empower young people; change in how we empower the communities they and we serve; and change in how we work together as a global Movement. Sometimes we call it ‘system change’.

YMCA Vision 2030 is at the ‘Ignite’ stage. And ignition will lead to impact.

This year – as National Movements begin to align their strategies and plans across our global Movement – we will create the supporting mechanisms. That includes the way that World YMCA and the four Area Alliances will support the global Movement; the creation of Movement-wide teams which will coordinate and support the work across the four key Pillars of Impact of Vision 2030 (Community Wellbeing, Meaningful Work, Sustainable Planet, Just World); and the ways in which we will measure our progress on the 12 shared Strategic Goals of Vision 2030.

That’s three Goals accompanying each of the four Pillars: a first for how we will change ourselves in our YMCAs; a second for how we will change the communities we serve; and a third for how – using global advocacy – we will amplify the voice of young people around the world.

We’re excited, and we know many of you are too.

And yes, we’re daunted, and many of you are too. Not least because quite rightly you want to know ‘how’ and ‘when’.

Our YMCA National General Secretaries meeting in Colorado at end-March will see those plans set on the table.

And next week’s live-streamed ‘Ignite Show’ (17 January, 14:00 Geneva/CET) will give us an exciting flavour of how we as a Movement are already responding to Vision 2030.  Please be sure to join us, and make sure that all your colleagues and all your young people join us too. I can promise you all 45 minutes of both information and inspiration, building on the great success of the Daily Shows which were broadcast from the live Studio set up at the World Council in Aarhus last July.

Friends in the YMCA, we are reimagining ourselves, and reimagining our world.

If our newly agreed and shared YMCA Mission Statement is indeed to create a just, sustainable, equitable and inclusive world, then wherever the opposites of those things prevail, we must act.

Every time we think of the young people and communities of Afghanistan, of Ethiopia, of Iran, of Myanmar, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, of Peru, of the Sahel, of Syria, of Ukraine, of Yemen, then we are called to stand up and be the YMCA.

We’re present in almost all of those places, and by our global voice we are present in all.

In 2023, let’s journey with each other and with all the people we serve. 

Hear how our new World YMCA President Soheila Hayek puts it, in her short New Year video message.


Thank you Madam President Soheila, and thank you all.