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|Formation||24 August 1907|
|Type||International youth non-governmental organization|
|Purpose||World federation of socialist, social democratic and labour youth organizations|
|Headquarters||Amtshausgasse 4, 1050 Vienna, Austria|
|English, Spanish, French|
The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) is an international organization, founded in 1907, whose activities include publications, support of member organizations and the organization of meetings. It was formed as the youth wing of the Second International under the name Socialist Youth International. IUSY now has 134 member organisations in more than eighty countries. IUSY gained status as an international youth NGO with UN ECOSOC consultative status in 1993.
On 24–27 August 1907, a meeting of 20 youth representatives from 13 countries met in the German city of Stuttgart and founded the Socialist Youth International as the youth organization of the Second International. Its international office was located in Vienna and it has remained there to this day except for a few brief extraordinary periods.
The socialist youth organizations, just like their mother parties, were confronted by the growing influence of nationalism and militarism in Europe. When the First World War broke out in 1914, even though the vast majority of the socialist parties openly supported their country's war efforts, the Socialist Youth International remained steadfast in their principled opposition to war and militarism. The organization had to move its offices to Zurich and from there it published its journal, Youth International, calling for peace, which had to be distributed illegally given the circumstances. The struggle for peace subsequently became a hallmark of the socialist youth organization.
The formation of the Communist International in Moscow in 1919 officially split the worker's and youth movement into two sides. The representatives of the socialist and social-democratic current reconvened the International Socialist Youth Movement in 1921.
In 1925, in the wake of the fascist takeover of Italy, the youth organization from the country was forced to stop participating in the work of the ISYM. This marked the beginning of the organization's fight against fascism. In 1933, the Berlin office was evacuated to Prague.
After the Second World War, on 30 September 1946, at the congress in Paris the organization formally became known as the International Union of Socialist Youth. It began to accept a growing number of youth organizations from outside of Europe and by the beginning of the 1950s IUSY included 73 member organizations from 50 countries. Since that time, the organization has more than doubled.
Following the Paris congress and up through the 1960s, IUSY focused on supporting decolonisation efforts and struggles for independence, especially in Africa and Asia. In the 1970s, the organization was active in drawing attention to the human rights violations by military governments in South America and building up international solidarity campaigns, especially against Pinochet in Chile and Somoza in Nicaragua.
IUSY was cautiously supportive of the democratization process in Eastern Europe because the organization wanted these changes to benefit the general population, not just a tiny elite. Although the nuclear arms race ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the transition from authoritarian regimes has brought about new conflicts in these regions. Human trafficking and refugees, resulting from civil conflicts, became the new focus of efforts on the part of IUSY. IUSY formed the Balkan Roundtable and Black Sea Area Committees to facilitate dialogue and cooperation among the different countries.
Looking towards the future, there remains much work to be done. IUSY is committed to working with the member youth organizations to develop effective tools for the treatment and prevention of the HIV-AIDS pandemic. The advancement of individual human rights and liberties in many places is a special concern. The recent events have highlighted the basic economic inequality that exists throughout the world and drawn attention to the struggle for social justice and equality.
IUSY's main field of activity is in the promotion of democracy, human rights, and youth policy. IUSY works by engaging international institutions, such as the Council of Europe, United Nations, Socialist International, European Youth Forum, and others, and directly targeting policy makers and media representatives at an international level to advocate for equal opportunities and the right to social and political participation for youth all over the world. Furthermore, IUSY trains activists at the grassroots level in the international political debate and policy development by organizing conferences and supporting political campaigns and initiatives on a regional and global level.
IUSY works to strengthen its member organizations by providing a broad network of support and facilitating educational workshops and training seminars, aimed at increasing their capacity to fight for political change in their respective countries.
The IUSY Congress is the highest decision-making body with the organization. It elects the President, the Secretary General, the Presidium and the Control Commission. The IUSY Congress and IUSY Council take place every second year on an alternating basis. The IUSY coordinates its activities on two levels – regional and global. The regional coordination involves discussion of issues of common concern within the region and development of internal and public activities for the promotion of our solutions and policy proposals. Naturally, the structure and international character of IUSY allows the organization to treat many of the issues in an inter-regional manner, through cooperation and coordination between different regions in order to realize joint activities.
The global Presidium is composed of the President, the Secretary General and 18 Vice-Presidents, who meet regularly to discuss and develop policy. In 2017 First Vice-President, Neil Warner of Labour Youth Ireland initiated a campaign against Israeli occupation of Palestine and Zionist influence in government, media and banking around the world. The campaign caused a clash between Warner and members of the Israeli Labor Party and Meretz Youth.
The IUSY has five regional committees – American, African, Asian-Pacific, European, and Mediterranean – that meet annually. Also, IUSY has two permanent working groups – Feminism and LGBT – that deal with issues involving those specific themes.
The IUSY Secretariat, led by the Secretary General, organizes all activities and is responsible for finances, communication, and the daily work of the organization. IUSY's working languages are English, French, and Spanish.
The IUSY World Festival brings together thousands of activists and is organized approximately every two or three years.
IUSY is led by its Presidium that is elected (since 2006 every two years) at the World Congress with representatives from all over the world. The current 2018-2020 Presidium members are listed below:
|Ana Pirtskhalava, YSG, Georgia|
|Nikola Pesic, YCDPS, Montenegro|
|Jose Julio Gomez, Dominican Republic|
|Control Commission President|
|Roland Gúr, Societas, Hungary|
|Control Commission Members|
|Seif Fawwaz Mohammad Aqel,|
|Victoria Faroppa, JNE, Uruguay|
|Young European Socialists (YES) President|
|ICFTU YO Secretary General|
|International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International (IFM-SEI) President|
IUSY has held international "camps" and "festivals" since 1952, at various locations around the world.
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