Anja Wilken - Chairperson

AnjaCan you introduce yourself?

My name is Anja and I have been born and raised in Hamburg. I am 27 years old and I finished my studies (Biology, English, Pedagogics). Since April 2015 I work at the University of Hamburg and run for PhD in English didactics.

Which YEE member organisation do you belong to? What are the main activities of your organisation?

Since my voluntary service in 2007 I am a member of FÖJ-AKTIV e.V. It is an organisation to support and develop the one-year ecological voluntary service FÖJ in Germany for young people aged 16-27 years. The organisation aims to help volunteers develop and carry out projects that are additional to the tasks at their workplace. All the projects and activities we do together promote the ecological voluntary service itself as well as environmentally-friendly and sustainable living. The organisation is based on 100% volunteers.

How did you get involved in YEE? What was your first impression about YEE?

I first got to know about YEE at a Youth Exchange in Tirana in 2012 ("Give pedestrians their city back"). It was a well-organised project so I immediately felt "at home". This activity was similar to the seminars we had during my voluntary service (FÖJ) so I appreciated the YEE style from the beginning.

What is YEE for you?

For me YEE is, as the logo implies, a seed that is ready to fly: An opportunity for young people to learn and explore nature, environment and meet "neighbours" (although in different countries). YEE enhances the multiplier-effect of partnerships, friendships and motivation to be engaged for the protection of environment through education in non-formal settings, which are rich and intense. YEE is giving and taking, while both sides are benefiting of it at the same time.

Why did you want to stay/change position in YEE Board?

I wanted to stay Chairperson because after two mandates already I grew into the position. I love supporting the other officers, keeping an overview about what is going on, sharing ideas and creating a working atmosphere that is precious and comfortable to work in. I like motivating us and taking care of our team. Also, I like to develop structures which simplify YEE's daily work and which will last when new Board members will take over in future.

What are your main achievements from your previous mandate?

The main achievement is difficult to measure, but I feel that the 2014/15-team was very strong and highly committed, so we managed to seize all the capacities we had to the full extend. Furthermore, we used our experience to lay the foundation for some internal and structural development which is going to happen during this mandate.

What is your main aim as a 2015 - 2016 Board member?

My main aim is to achieve that we all enjoy and have fun while working for YEE in the Executive Board - because with team spirit and motivation we can reach a lot, and work is done fast and easily.
Additionally, I am looking forward to working on the structural development of the official documents as well as supporting and implementing the projects "Training for Trainers" (as follow-up of last year's "Environmental Training for Eco-Trainers") and "Sustainability in NGOs".

Why do you care about the environment?

The reason is quite simple when you look at two sayings that I am totally convinced of and which I try to follow best in my life: "Leave the world (or: give back a borrowed object) in the same or better condition than you found it." and "We are all connected in the great Circle of Life. / We are one." (which is a quote from Disney's Lion King).
As everything in life and the environment that surrounds us depends on the process of giving and taking, I cannot but care about the environment: I take so many resources (consumption) and so much energy from nature (lakes or forests), that I need to give back in terms of nature preservation and protection of environment.

Work plan 2015-2016