History of GLEN
Background of cooperation
In 2003, during the enlargement process of the European Union, the German ASA-Program initiated a partnership with Central and Eastern European organisations engaged in development co-operation, which aimed at providind capacity building and co-organising youth education trainings in the field. The partnerships quickly evolved and the organisations established GLEN (Global Education Network of Young Europeans). The first training cycle was launched consequently in 2004, with 44 participants from Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.
Between 2005 and 2007, organisations from France, Hungary, Malta and Slovenia joined the network and the French-German programme Génération Coopération (GéCo) became part of GLEN as well. In 2010, the Lithuanian organisation Kolping left, Zavod Voluntariat replaced Slovene Philanthropy in Slovenia, and the Slovak NGO Tabita was replaced by SCCD/GLEN Slovakia, and then in 2012 by GLEN Slovakia only. The Maltese Thirld World Group’s membership ended in 2012. The Irish NGO Development Perspectives joined in October 2014, currently with “observer” status. The Beninese organization Credi-ONG holds an “observer membership” since 2017. Today, there are GLEN member organisations in ten European countries.
Quality in global education
In the first decade of its operation, the core program of GLEN remained, while the focus of the training gradually shifted from development co-operation to Global Education.
Beyond the member organisations’ rich national activities, GLEN organised or got engaged on a European level in the following campaigns and projects:
- Europe-wide awareness raising action: Eurizons (2006 – 2007), the European tour for global responsibility. With campaigning events in different countries, connected by a hitchhiking tour, 100 participants raised awareness of the Millennium Development Goals and the responsibility of European citizens and decision-makers in fostering global change.
- The European Global Education Days (EGED) were GLEN’s main international event of 2008. The five-day seminar took place in November in Germany and included a visit to the European Development Days in Strasbourg, France.
- In 2009 and 2010, GLEN organised so-called Transfer Seminars for its former participants. These events offered a more profound training in Global Education after the participants’ return from their internships abroad. The seminars supported the participants in using their experience for Global Education and planning their global education activities. During the seminars, the participants were guided through their learning processes as well as the planning of their activities.
- In 2012, former GLEN participants co-organised the Sailing for Sustainability tour. It was a “sailing for four weeks on a ship to tackle graspable approaches for sustainable lifestyle. A moving social laboratory in the Baltic Sea served as a vessel to experience and develop practical approaches like degrowth and collective economy, renewable energy, collaborative decisionmaking and measurement of resource consumption.” With over 100 people from 10 European countries, 15 partner organisations were involved in the planning and organisation of the project. Altogether ca. 120 people participated in the seminar weeks on the ship.
- GLEN organised thematic off-cycle seminars called Annual Event in 2011 and 2012 to provide space for setting up common projects as well as discussing various topics important for the Network. The main themes were “Are we making a difference: impact of global education and GLEN on European level and beyond” in 2011 and, closely interlinked, “GLEN and its (global) host partners”, in 2012.
- GLEN participants co-organised a unique bike project called Cycling Alternatives in 2013 and 2014, with the aim to “visit initiatives and people that are practicing and living different lifestyles, economics, to learn from and share experiences with them. But also to raise awareness of economic alternatives and empower the participants with ideas, skills, knowledge and the contact to other European youth in order to join or develop alternative, cooperative and collaborative local economic initiatives.”
With the help of an external evaluator, GLEN carried out an evalution study in 2014 in order to assess the impact of the learning process on the personal and professional lives of participants who completed the cycle over the ten years. With the evaluation study, GLEN aimed at seeing the long-term influence on the multipliers’ engagement in civic participation and the competences and skills they developed and can utilise in their work. The Executive Summary of the 10 years Evaluation Study is available here for download.
History of GLEN (between 0:51 and 3:22) by Kasia Szeniawska from the 2011 Annual Event:
GLEN receives “World Aware Education Award”
For its engagement in international youth cooperation and exchange, for its unique concept of building connections between North & South as well as East & West, and as an acknowledgement of its unique implementation of Global Education GLEN was awarded with the prestigious “World Aware Education Award” in 2005 by the North South Centre of the Council of Europe.
Vision and strategy processes
GLEN set up a vision process in 2013 to discuss possible directions of development for the Network and its stakeholders. The six-month process between October 2013 and March 2014 included two occasions of online discussion and a seminar event. The complete “visionary document”, which is the result of this process and serves as guidance for the future, is available here. An extended version with commentary is available here.
Contributors to the results are the various GLEN actors and stakeholders, namely 1) current and former participants (GLEN Multipliers), 2) members of the seminar teams (e.g. tutors and lead facilitators of seminars), 3) representatives and members of alumni organisations such as Association GéCo and the Forum of the Global Education Multipliers, 4) Host Partners, 5) European global education and development education organisations, 6) GLEN Member Organisations and their related networks.
The strategy process, running from September 2014 until December 2015, aimed at translating the newly developed vision into an executable plan: How exactly are we going to reach our vision? What are the next steps and priorities? What structures, tools, ideas, etc. do we have to develop now to make change possible?
A milestone event of the process was the “Shake it & Shahe it” Seminar in Slovenia in October 2014 that was followed by a series of thematic workshops in autumn 2014 / spring 2015. The aim of these events was to go deeper in and find answers to the Network’s open questions about the content of the training cycle, terminologies used, privileges, power relations, GLEN structures, the Global Partner Network and many more topics. The final strategy was adopted by the Transition Committee in Prague, Czech Republic, in October 2015 and was be introduced to the GLEN community on the Rocket Event in November 2015.