YPFP Brussels turns five
Five years ago in Brussels, a group of friends came together after work to take on the challenge of building a new branch of YPFP. Brussels plays host to thousands of young diplomats, policy wonks and international affairs specialists from all corners the world. However, setting up a new volunteer organisation in the multilingual and multicultural capital of Europe was never going to be easy.
Harnessing the passion of these young professionals to debate, to learn and to tackle new challenges has been critical to the branch’s success.
Five years (and many, many coordination meetings) later YPFP Brussels is well and truly on the map.
Focussing on skills and debate
“The branch has changed a lot over the last five years. When we started we used to have an event every quarter. Now we often have three or four events a month, most of which are specifically geared towards building the skillset our Members,” says David Henry Doyle, Executive Director of YPFP Brussels.
The Brussels branch has intentionally expanded its range of events to include skill building seminars alongside its public debates. It has also developed a new Advisors Programme which offers guidance and career advice to Members.
“In 5 years the branch has grown to over 1,000 members with 6,000 online followers.” says Alex Godson, Communications and Marketing Director, YPFP Brussels. “We have really sought to leverage our social media presence to ensure we’re in step with the issues our Members want to discuss.” This was one factor behind the launch of YPFPtv– a video platform that puts leaders in the spotlight - earlier in 2013.
A dedicated and growing team
The vision and enthusiasm of the founders, coupled with a significant amount of help from YPFP D.C. and stalwart partners in Brussels like the US Mission to the EU, provided the current team with a strong foundation. The original Brussels team of four has now grown to 22 volunteers.
“It’s important to remember that this is all down to an incredibly dedicated team of volunteers” says Doyle. “I think that our experience shows how eager young people in Europe are to get to grips with the important issues.”
Five year anniversary
To celebrate this milestone, the Brussels branch hosted a keynote speech by the Secretary General of the OSCE on Monday 25th November, followed by Q&A. Check out photos from the event here.