About every two weeks, I have Skype meetings with the social media team of CISV International. It is usually during the afternoon for me, so that Jerry from Guatemala does not have to get up too early, and Angela from the Philippines does not fall asleep on the keyboard. We are of different age, different chapters in life, and we live in three completely different parts of the world.
I have been a member of CISV Sweden since 2005, when I went to Lyon, France through a program called Interchange. It was the first time I ever traveled without my parents. Instead I traveled with six friends my age, a “junior counselor” and an adult leader. I lived in a French boy’s house with his mother and sister, whom I had never met before. Four weeks (two in France and two in Sweden) later, I had grown from an insecure, shy boy who never talked to girls, into being able to actually have a conversation with girls my age. And I could do it in English as well! Pretty cool, huh?
In 2010, I was elected National Junior Representative (NJR for short) for CISV Sweden. With our several hundred “juniors” (members aged 14-27), it is a huge responsibility, and of course one of the most awesome experiences I have had. As an NJR, I’m constantly keeping track of all levels of the organization, and it’s giving me insight into how an international organization with nearly 60,000 members works.
So what is CISV? To put it into the Golden Circle à la Simon Sinek, starting with why:
- The organization strives to create peace through friendship.
- We try to educate and inspire our members (and others) to take action on any level, local through global, for a more just and peaceful world.
- This is mainly carried out through projects and camps all over the world, aimed at people ages 11 and up.
CISV is one of the most important parts of me, and the energy and passion I feel while working with all my volunteer colleagues all over the world is something I rarely get anywhere else!
Typical image from a Media Team meeting
Fun fact: While the average Facebook user has 130 friends, the average CISV member on Facebook has 390 friends. That’s the power of international friendship and social media!