Soheila Y. Hayek
Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February unleashed a humanitarian crisis which - alongside those in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen - remained acute at the year-end. Countries including Iran, Pakistan, Peru and the UK saw political, economic, and social turmoil, and tensions between the US and China grew. Covid eased, but reared its head again in China at the end of the year. Inflation rose, and energy and food prices soared as supply chains were disrupted. And yet, at the end of the year, the Soccer World Cup showed humanity still at one with itself, uniting and celebrating.
While young people bore the brunt of many of these crises, they also provided some of the unsung solutions to the problems that they and their friends and their communities were facing. The world is starting to realise that while young people are the hardest hit, they are also some of the hardest hitters in leading the change they want to see.
Extract from candidate profiles for the elections to the World YMCA Executive Committee of July 2022
Ms. Soheila Hayek has extensive experience with non-profit organizations, both as a volunteer and in management, including World YMCA (4 years), YMCA Lebanon (10 years), Director of The Goguikian Foundation, an NGO engaged in Youth Empowerment (12 years), and others. She has well-rounded competencies in Policymaking, Strategic Planning, Governance, Advocacy, Budgeting, Financial Management and Fundraising.
Soheila is confident that her years of leadership in senior management inspiring teams of volunteers as well as paid staff to achieve their very best, her ease with public speaking, advocacy and relationship-building, give her the confidence that she would be well suited to exercise the duties of President.
Our world is changing rapidly. New parameters are emerging, which today’s youth understand intuitively. They are best placed to build a better future and will be the ones who will live in it. Empowering them and providing them with all the needed physical, mental, ethical, scientific, social, and leadership-related means is a pressing necessity. I have made that my career priority; and I believe that World YMCA can play a leading role in this regard.
Though officially a citizen of four countries, I see myself as a citizen of the world. I am conversant with nine languages and familiar with more cultures. I have lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. This experience has taught me that, no matter our differences, we all face the same challenges and harbor the same hopes and aspirations, the same reasons that WE ALL BE ONE.
As a member of the Executive Committee for the last four years, I have witnessed this unity-of-purpose in action and gained valuable exposure to YMCAs work across the globe. I have been honored to serve on the Solidarity Fund Committee, responding to the most urgent needs of YMCAs affected by COVID and evaluating projects from their young members using the WHO's GYM fund. I was touched by how sincere and achievable these plans were and appreciated how vital it is to have access to funding.
At the YMCA of Lebanon, where I have now served on the Board for over ten years, including currently as Vice President of the Board, we manage projects worth around US$10 million and have a staff of 45. We no longer have gyms and swimming pools.
Instead, in response to the needs of our community, we deliver essential medications through more than 450 dispensaries to six million Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees. We provide financial literacy, vocational training, and peacebuilding classes, and we work with microfinance providers to obtain funding for the creative ideas of young entrepreneurs. I am most proud of having convinced our organization to make it mandatory to elect at least one young person to the Board.
For twelve years, I led The Goguikian Foundation, an NGO with ten staff members, focused on Youth Empowerment. I worked hard to provide young people from underprivileged communities with education, growth, and leadership opportunities. Through a TED Talk-like initiative, I put young innovators together with investors. I implemented a municipal youth-led recycling program and helped place many of our scholarship recipients in government jobs and community-serving NGOs.In prior years, I led fundraising efforts for Fundo Unido (Mexico’s United Way affiliate), for the Chilterns Women's Club in the UK, and for my local church (St. Patrick’s, in Chatham, NJ).
I graduated in Industrial Psychology from the University of Houston and have a Master’s degree in Conference Management from the University of Westminster. My years in leadership positions have made me appreciate the dynamics of working in a volunteer environment and given me well-rounded competencies in policymaking, strategic planning, budgeting, and financial management. I aim to strive for greater collaboration among our member YMCAs and will give my full support to the Secretary-General to enhance our brand and our ability to fundraise.
I am a grandmother, a sailor, a swimmer, and a gardener. I love nature and want to safeguard the world I will be leaving behind for my grandchildren. I am a deeply spiritual woman who believes in the power and wisdom of God, and I trust that all my life's journey has prepared me to arrive at this point today, to run for the position of President
Carlos SANVEE (Togo) is Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs. He took up the role in January 2019, having been elected during the 19th YMCA World Council in Chiang Mai, Thailand in July 2018. He is the first African Secretary General of World YMCA.
In his current role, he led the response to the Covid crisis from early 2020 by launching YMCA-wide efforts for Movements to share and help each other, notably launching the YMCA Covid Solidarity Fund. Putting young people at the centre of initiating and leading change, he created the vision for the Youth Led Solutions Initiative, a series of Summits and projects launched in 2021 to empower young people with knowledge, networks and resources to lead change in their communities. He has been at the forefront of developing new partnerships with the public, private and ‘third’ (civil society) sectors, especially with the ‘Big 6’ youth empowerment organisations and the WHO and UN, in launching the Global Youth Mobilization in 2020-2022. Building on the three-part Covid response strategy of ‘Resilience, Recovery and Reimagination’, he spearheaded a Movement-wide process of conversation and consultation which led to the adoption of YMCA Vision 2030 at the 20th YMCA World Council in Aarhus, Denmark in July 2022. The vision puts young people at the centre of the YMCA’s mission, a direction he had promoted across his different roles since 2010.
His priority in his second term of office – from 2022 to 2026 – is to see Vision 2030 implemented across the Movement, addressing the 12 Strategic Goals of the four ‘Pillars of Impact’: Community Wellbeing, Meaningful Work, Sustainable Planet, and Just World. World YMCA’s first duty is to add value to its members.
Carlos Sanvee has been with the YMCA Movement for 50 years.
He joined YMCA Togo as a teenage volunteer in 1973, and became a staff member in 1987 as a youth worker and community organiser. He ultimately became the deputy National General Secretary.
He first joined World YMCA in January 1999 as Executive for Finance & Administration, a position he held until 2007. During this time he was secretary of the-then Youth Committee within the Executive Committee, and strove to integrate young people at all levels of the Committee, and not in separate committees.
He then worked as General Secretary of the Africa Alliance of YMCAs from 2007 until 2018, when he led the African YMCA Movements in articulating their collective identity with a shared vision around the ‘African Renaissance’. In this period he developed the Africa-wide YMCA ‘From Subject to Citizen’ programme.
From 2011 to 2018, he was also acting as a part-time Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the World YMCAs.
He holds a first degree in Physics and Chemistry from Université du Bénin in Togo, and a “Diplôme des Hautes études de pratiques sociales (DHEPS)” from Université Lyon Lumière II, France.
YMCA Vision 2030 was adopted at the 20th World Council in Aarhus, Denmark on 5 July 2022, uniting the global Movement with a collective vision and mission. The moment of adoption was exhilarating. It was also the beginning of the next chapter of our journey together.Download our 2022 Annual Report
I met the YMCA Ndola team at one of the business symposiums organized by the local municipal council. I was so impressed by their passion and desire to create business that provides employment to other young people.
20, M and Z choices food hub owner
With the help of the YMCA Enterprise Shelter, I was able to register my business. I never imagined that I would be able to have a business under my name. Now, together with the knowledge and skills I acquired during the Business Improve Training, I am optimistic that my business will start to go smoothly and attract more clients.
Team leader, sustainable futures project
I gained a new appreciation for all the people and collaboration involved in making the YMCA successful in delivering services.
World YMCA Executive Committee Member
Whenever I hear a young person wants to come to the Y and have a safe space to belong, it’s amazing to realise what we did as a collective group meant something.