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A Year in Review: The 2012-2013 Global Networking Committee

Posted on 06/06/2013 @ 02:30 PM

Tags: A Year in Review: The 2012-2013 Global Networking Committee

Looking back on this year’s accomplishments as a globalizing movement, BBYO has a lot to be proud of. We have strengthened and created partnerships with several communities and Jewish youth organizations such as Hebraica in Argentina, Hagoschrim in Switzerland, Maccabi Tzair in Israel, the Jewish communities of Ukraine, Turkey and many others.

Although these partnerships are, without a doubt, very important and exciting for BBYO, this year we’ve discovered that there’s much more to globalization than simply “reaching out” to communities in countries outside of our own. With the hard work of the Global Networking Committee (GNC), and the help of every single region, chapter and member, we’ve proven that globalization is tangible to everyone, everywhere.

Many of us have benefited from one of the global chapter partnerships, engaging chapters from the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland and Bulgaria. Countless others have led or participated in globally focused programs in our communities. For the first time in BBYO’s history, we’ve started to take globalization to the grassroots level.

On Sunday, May 26, 2013, the GNC had their last group discussion of the year. GNC discussions have taken place twice a month throughout the year, where approximately 40 members from 15 different countries have come together to discuss mutually significant topics such as Israel, Holocaust remembrance, membership, programming and profiled our respective communities.

We used our final discussion as an opportunity to reflect on our work over the past year and brainstorm ways to improve our network for the next generation. To give you a better understanding of the impact the GNC can make on communities and individuals, here are some direct quotes from our discussion:

Why do you think the GNC is important for Jewish youth around the world?

“For us in Ireland, the GNC has created a connection that we have never had before. It really is amazing how many Jewish teens there are in the world and it is so important that we utilize today's technology to forge these connections. The GNC is the best device for this job and we really have accomplished a lot in our first year.” – Cian Milofsky, BBYO UK & Ireland

“In my opinion, the coolest part of the GNC is realizing there's teens like us everywhere. It really helps make tangible the idea that when we say "global Jewry" we do mean Jews who support and love the same things as us all over the world.” - Sofie Jacobs, Northern Region East: DC Council

“I think that it really shows how being Jewish connects you to others, no matter where they're from. No matter where you live or what situation you're in, there are people out there who share something so special with you and can help you out.” - Allie Cohen, Eastern Canada Region

“It is important because there are things that are said in the media or perhaps things you hear at school about Jewish organisations around the world, but it is not until you speak to someone and hear about the way in which they live their lives that you know the truth. I have found it so interesting to read about everybody's different lifestyles and I think its so important to understand the way that different Jews live all around the world so that we can enhance our Jewish identity and speak with people with whom we have common ground! - Alana Barnett, BBYO UK & Ireland

“I think it's important for people to have a better understanding of Jews around the world. For example, when the events in Israel and Gaza occurred earlier in the year, it was good for us to discuss what was happening and how we can stand up for ourselves in everyday life.” – Nick Phillips, BBYO UK & Ireland

“It connects Jews to Jews! It's comforting to know that there are other people in the world who do the same stuff you do!” - Sam Dolen, Kentucky Indiana Ohio Region

What can we improve upon in the coming years?

“I think that we could make it better by sharing our resources collectively as a team. For example, I think the amazing programmes we all created should have been seen and used by more chapters. Plus, we should be proud of each other's GNC blog posts and share them around more because we've all done such great jobs!” – Nick Phillips, BBYO UK & Ireland

“I think it would be great if people from different parts of the world could join the G+ chats Hebraica and BBYO have so the kids in Hebraica can learn from many different Jewish communities.” – Melu Faez, Hebraica Argentina

So what’s next? Although we’re about to complete our inaugural year of the GNC, there are still countless opportunities to strengthen BBYO as a global movement. As I mentioned earlier, each and every one of you, regardless of where you’re from, can and will play an important role in BBYO’s globalization efforts. BBYO is unlike any other Jewish youth movement in the world because when we say we’re an international organization, we can prove it at the grassroots level.

If you’re lucky enough to have more time as a teen member of BBYO, take advantage of opportunities and immerse yourself in the global aspects of BBYO. Partner with a chapter outside of your community. Educate others by planning a program involving global Jewry. Fundraise for the International Service Fund and witness the impact of the money raised by utilizing social media to connect with the community receiving the funds. When we unite globally, our local impact becomes that much more powerful.

For me, it’s been an honor to work with and learn from such an incredible team of global leaders this past year and I’m excited to see the global impact of our Order in the years to come. I am confident we will only grow larger and stronger from here.

Jessie Gordon (Chair to the Global Networking Committee),BBYO Great Midwest Region

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