This weekend I had the pleasure to attend the first ever General Assembly of the Alcohol Policy Youth Network (APYN). APYN currently unites fifteen different youth organizations in their efforts to prevent and reduce harmful use of alcohol. It has only been established two years ago and therefore, this young network is still in an exciting phase of creating structures and developing working procedures. IFMSA has been a part of this from the very beginning and we were also invited to join this first General Assembly.
So on Friday I took the train to Frankfurt where this meeting took place. The General Assembly was attended by representatives of thirteen APYN-members, one representative from EUROCARE and a few people, who have been involved in work on the field of alcohol although their organizations are not (yet) part of APYN. In total, we were seventeen young people from all over Europe.
On the first day of the GA Jan Peloza who has been a leading figure in APYN since its foundation gave us an introduction about the background and history of the organization. After that, we elected the first official executive board and two members of the monitoring board. The APYN executive board consists of the president, secretary general and three vice-presidents leading the three APYN committees.
These committees represent the focus areas for this organization and are the following:
- Committee for the development of alcohol policy and advocacy
- Committee for youth research
- Committee for the development of youth work and training
I am happy to tell you that two of the elected positions are taken by IFMSA-members:
Simona Stankeviciute from LiMSA will be leading the committee for youth research and Nathalie Rodriguez McCullough will be a member of the monitoring board.
After the elections, we discussed the APYN constitution that has been created in a extensive consultation process. IFMSA proposed a number of amendments to the proposed document and after some long hours of discussion, we were abled to adopt a constitution with some significant improvements.
Having that done, we enjoyed a nice evening out in Frankfurt.
On the second day, Jan introduced three projects that APYN is hoping to organize in the upcoming years if grant proposals are accepted. If so, IFMSA will be deeply involved in those and try to contribute to their success. So stay tuned for more updates on that J
This was followed by a presentation of projects APYN members are conducting. I presented our plans to create an IFMSA-wide project on alcohol in line with our commitment to the European Alcohol and Health Forum, which will happen at the SCOPH pre-GA in Mumbai, India. This preGA will be conducted in close collaboration with APYN and the participants showed great interest in our plans.
Before the closing of the General Assembly, we had an ideas café were we were able to give input to the Strategic Plan of APYN.
Last but not least, after the GA, I had a meeting with the newly elected executive board to discuss IFMSA’s plans concerning projects on the field of alcohol and APYN involvement in our upcoming preGA on substance abuse. They are really happy to collaborate with us on this project and plan to send two APYN representatives to our GA in Mumbai.
All in all, this was a very productive meeting and I was happy to be able to give lots of input to help the development of this young and dynamic network.
Considering the public health implications the harmful use of alcohol has it is encouraging to see youth across Europe unite to work on this issue.
I look forward to contributing to this together with SCOPHians and everybody else who is interested in joining our efforts!
Director of the Standing Committee on Public Health 2011-12