Created by theElysée Treatyin 1963, the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) is an international organization working to strengthen Franco-German relations.
General de Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer entrusted the development of Franco-German exchanges to a younger generation, to guarantee a permanent, peaceful coexistence in Europe. Therefore, the FGYO’s main mission consists of encouraging exchanges between young people from both countries to reinforce mutual understanding.
Article 2(1) of the new intergovernmental agreement from 2005 returns to and emphasizes these founding principles by stipulating that:
“The aim of the Franco-German Youth Office is to tighten the bonds between young people in both countries, to strengthen their mutual understanding and, to this effect, provoke, encourage and, where necessary, set up meetings and exchanges between young people. To reach this goal it is contributing to the discovery of the partner country’s culture, encouraging the acquisition of intercultural competences, supporting measures in the fields of vocational training and civic engagement projects, reminding of France’s and Germany’s common responsibility in Europe and incentivizing young people to learn the partner country’s language. The Franco-German Youth Office is a competence center for the governments of both countries. Its role is advisory and it functions as an intermediary between the municipalities and territorial authorities as well between the actors of our civil society in France and Germany.”
The FGYO’s spirit is based on international mobility, the upkeep and reciprocity of Franco-German exchanges, meaning that every participant benefits equally from the intercultural learning process which is at the heart of every exchange program and project.
The FGYO supports Franco-German exchanges and projects in many forms for young people between 3 and 30.
This means that children in kindergarten and elementary school already get the chance to attend language classes, to participate in summer camps or other activities in a Franco-German environment.
From primary school to high school young people have the chance to participate in school exchanges. They can also choose to participate in sports or cultural meetings. We also organize intercultural training opportunities.
Regardless of whether young people are doing an apprenticeship, studying at university, entering the labor market or are already part of the workforce, the FGYO organizes a wide range of programs for further development and training in a Franco-German environment. Young people can come to the partner country for internships or professional exchange programs for example. Some might prefer to opt for voluntary work or activities related to city or regional partnerships. Furthermore, there is the possibility to participate in international university seminars or to take part in research projects in a Franco-German context.
For those wishing to pass their intercultural skills on to the younger generation, the FGYO offers courses with specific training for future facilitators of Franco-German youth meetings like BAFA/JuLeiCa for example.
In 2013, the FGYO celebrated its 50th anniversary. Since its creation, the institution has enabled more than 8.4 million young people from France and Germany to go abroad, to meet and to improve their knowledge of the partner country’s language and culture. In total, almost 200,000 young people participate in more than 9,000 programs every year.
Participation in a Franco-German youth exchange is an enriching experience. Good knowledge of the partner country’s language and culture allows for a change of perspective and new ways of thinking. The combination of these two things is undeniably an asset for better success at university or in professional education and later on in the job market.
The FGYO functions according to the principle of subsidiarity and collaborates with around 7,000 partner institutions and organizations. Active in the fields of educational policy and youth work, they are specialists in conducting youth projects in their respective fields.
These partners intervene at all levels of society and take concrete action. Some of them are youth associations, sports clubs or educational institutions working at a local community level. Regional and political actors like municipalities, trade associations or trade unions also organize projects funded by the FGYO.
The FGYO contributes to the preparation and evaluation of these programs and plays an important role as a consulting partner and competence center.
Some of the FGYO’s programs also involve third countries and we encourage others to take the Franco-German reconciliation as a source of inspiration for international projects and the European cooperation. Thanks to special funding by the French and German Ministries of Foreign Affairs, we have been enlarging our scope of activities for several years now, concentrating on Central and Southern Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Download the brochure Lessons learned - Franco-German relations as inspiration: Strengthening dialogue and joint action of young citizens across borders
The Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) is an international organization working for Franco-German cooperation, which has enabled more than 8.4 million young people from France and Germany to participate in 320,000 exchange programs since 1963.