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International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts

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CIOFF® Youth


1. What is CIOFF Youth?

The inclusion of young people in the work done by CIOFF was an initiative that born in the early ninety’s  and represented a novelty in international organizations like CIOFF.

CIOFF Youth is composed by young people – between 15–26 years old – who are working in the frame of CIOFF National Sections. The main objectives of CIOFF Youth are the cooperation with CIOFF in the safeguarding of Intangible Culture through cultural activities and projects implemented by the youth in international folk festivals, exchanges activities with regional communities in schools, retirements houses, and public places; diffusion of Intangible heritages to children and young people in a regional, national or international level.

Contact CIOFF Youth

Main e-mail address :
Forum : https://cioffyouth.org



1993 - 1996

Argentinean Youth Commission in 1995

The year 1993 can be mentioned as the beginning of the youth movement in CIOFF. In this year, the National Section of Argentina created the first youth commission in the world of CIOFF. During the firsts years the commission developed an important activity, spreading the ideology of CIOFF youth to a huge number of young people into the country. In 1994 the Internal Regulations of the Commission were approved by the National Section receiving the support to the development of cultural activities, mainly in schools, with the goal to spread the Argentinean culture, generating a link between the young people and the children.

Making kites in The Netherlands

After the creation of a commission in Paraguay, CIOFF youth had the first international meeting in Asunción where members of both commissions planed a common activity to be concrete in the CIOFF Folkloriada in the Netherlands the following year.

The year 1996 was the real jump of CIOFF Youth to the International level. First of all, because of the concretion of the activity planned in Asunción with a successful result. The activity done in The Netherlands consisted in the transmission of an important intangible heritage: traditional games. Second, because of the participation, by the first time, of a young delegate in a CIOFF World Congress: the president of the Argentinean youth commission participated in Puerto Rico 1996 as a member of the Argentinean delegation.

1997 - 1999

A Lecture during the Latin-American
youth meeting in Santa Fe

In the year 1997, the young people participated in their second CIOFF World Congress in Greece. This year represented an other step in the diffusion of the youth movement ideology in the international level: the creation of the first youth commission in Europe, in Luxembourg. In 1998, the Argentinean youth commission elaborates two informative circulars and sent it to all the CIOFF National Sections. The circulars urged to send young people to world congresses and presented the proposal of an international youth meeting to be organized by the Argentineans three years after. The circulars had a good reception in CIOFF and in 1998, the executive board decided to create a working group for youth and children, including officially the youth movement in CIOFF structures. The working group included two young people from Argentina and Luxembourg as members.

2nd European Youth Meeting
in Fribourg, Switzerland

In the World Congress of 1998, in China, the Working Group had the first official meeting having as a result the redaction of the “Youth Declaration” an important document where established the basis of CIOFF Youth.

Finishing this important period in CIOFF Youth history, during the year 1999 took place the firsts continental youth meetings: the Latin-American youth meeting in Santa Fe, Argentina (9 countries participated) that received the special support of the former president of CIOFF, Mr. Kari Bergholm who was presented in the meeting as special guest. And the European youth meeting which took place in Mersh, Luxembourg (17 countries participants). The successfully results of those meetings was presented in the World Congress of 1999 with a great repercussion and the CIOFF Executive Committee decided to create the Working Group for Youth. It was exclusively composed by young people representing all the Continental Sectors and two young people were include in the CIOFF Legal Commission to help in the determination of the final inclusion of CIOFF Youth in the structures of the institution.

2000 - 2001

Instantaneous translation
during the World Forum 2001

In 2000, the Working Group for youth, created one year before, had the first meeting in the USA. During the meeting many points were discussed specially oriented in the spreading of the youth movement to all the National Sections. Meanwhile, Latin-America and Europe organized new continental meetings in Passo Fundo, Brazil and Fribourg, Switzerland.

The achievement which represented the final growth of CIOFF Youth was, without any doubt, the concretion of the first CIOFF Youth World Forum in 2001. The Forum took place in Santa Fe, Argentina and had the participation of 18 countries.

The Former president of CIOFF,
Mr. Kari Bergholm during a lecture
in the Youth Forum

Again, the executive committee of CIOFF supported the meeting and the former president, Mr. Kari Bergholm was present again. Among other important topics, the young people decide to present to the CIOFF Executive committee an innovative proposal: the inclusion of one youth delegate in each CIOFF Commission with the idea to add to the commissions the youth point of view.

2002 - Present

Since the concretion of the first Youth World Forum in 2001 the youth movement has not stopped growing up. During the last few years, CIOFF Youth adopted its final structure and is one of the most important bodies into CIOFF.

Members of the YCC during
the 2002 World Congress in Thailand

Following the proposal of the first forum, the Working Group of Youth was dissolved and, instead, was created a special body called “The youth coordination committee”. The YCC is elected by the youth members during the Youth Forum every three years and is composed by: The president, one youth representative from each sector (6) and one per each CIOFF commission and working group (8).

Just in order to mention, the following have been the most important activities developed by CIOFF Youth since 2001:

“Didactic Lessons” in the Seminar
supported by UNESCO in 2003
Several Continental youth meetings (2002, 2005, 2006), an international seminar of safeguarding and transmission of intangible heritage in educative institutions, supported by UNESCO (2003 – Argentina), three CIOFF Youth World Forums (Santa Fe, Argentina 2001 – Istanbul, Turkey 2004 and Laggenbeck, Germany 2007), international exchange activities in many countries, etc. Since 2006, the Youth Coordination Committee is developing the “World-wide Program of Re-valuation of Traditional Games” with excellent results until now.


Youth delegates in the 3rd Youth
World Forum in Germany (2007)

Youth delegates in the 2nd Youth
World Forum in Turkey (2004)



Activities in Progress

1) World-wide program of the re-valuation of traditional games

The World-wide program of the re-valuation of traditional games has grown a lot since it beginning in 2006. In the present several youth commissions in different countries are developing activities in the frame of the program. The most relevant activities are the followings:

Exchange activities with seniors (Argentina)
Compilation and analysis of traditional games practiced by seniors in their childhood. These activities are a good tool to encourage the inter-generational dialogue between seniors, young people and children. This kind of dialogue gives the opportunity to analyze comparatively the games in the present with the older ones, also the study of the modifications along the time. 

Exchange activities between children and young people (Argentina)
Activities done in public places (squares) and private institutions (schools). The activity consists in the explanation and transmission of traditional games to children through young people.

Inter-cultural exchange activities (Argentina)
Activities with aboriginal communities with the main goal to safeguard their traditional games and different aspects of their culture. This activity is developing in the frame of the decade of UNESCO for indigenous people.

International exchange activities (The Netherlands)
This activity consists in workshops for children where the young people teach in a didactic way games practiced in different countries. The results of these workshops are shown in artistic performances.

Activities with Folk Groups in International Festivals (Italy)
These activities take place in the frame of International Festivals. Into the official schedule, the organizers include a didactic explanation of a traditional game to the foreign participants. It’s important to mentioned that the “teachers” are usually seniors.

Activities in Children's Folk Festivals (Turkey)
This activity will be implemented during this year in a children festival where the Turkish children and the foreign visitors will exchange traditional games.

Animations in International Festivals (France)
The French commission proposed the inclusion of a “Game Day” into the official schedule of CIOFF festivals in the same level of importance that parades and animations have.

Surveys (Argentina and Colombia)
The surveys are an excellent tool to collect information about traditional games, his tangible and intangible elements and rules.

2) CIOFF Youth Newsletter

Is a digital magazine with information about the youth commissions activities. Is distributed to all the National Sections by email

3) Participation Programme 2008-2009

The Games Program mentioned has received excellent reviews, especially from UNESCO which has included the proposal of CIOFF Youth in the frame of the Participation Program 2008-2009. The CIOFF Youth proposed to UNESCO the programme of activities to be developed by the youth commissions of Argentina and France. Both activities are being implemented in different ways but with the same main objective: The safeguarding and the re-valuation of traditional games.


How to become a Member

1) Terms to Organize a Youth Commission at National Level

· The Youth Commission should be a branch of the National Sections.
· It is recommended that the Commission consist of youth between the ages of fifteen (15) and twenty-five (25) years old, involved in Traditional and Popular Culture.
· The Commission should be created and operate along a democratic scheme.
· Within each National Youth Commission, members should accurately represent youth from all regions of that country.
· Members of the Youth Commission should include individuals as well as groups and organizations.

2) Basic Steps to Establish a Youth Commission

· Accepting the ideas of CIOFF and Youth Commission in general.
· Being in the age of 15 - 25 years old.
· Making contact to the National Section of CIOFF in your country.
· Proposing of project for establishing National Youth Commission to the National Section, due to the reality in your country.
· Receiving confirmation from the National Section that they agree to co-operate with you.
· Accepting the By-Laws of the National Section.
· Finding some people who could be useful for the future work of the Youth Commission.
· Organizing a meeting of all these young people whom you would like to invite into future National Youth Commission.
· Developing the structure of the future National Youth Commission, concerning the executive board, representatives, and responsibilities.
· Holding the elections of the executive bodies.

3) Tips to Elaborate Internal Legal Basis of a Youth Commission

General maters:

1. It is important to remark under which body the Youth Commission is created; and if it is possible, the legal hierarchy inside the National Section.
2. The objectives of the Youth Commission could be included in the internal regulation and it will help to clarify its working area at national level.

Youth Commission rights:

3. Taking in consideration the legal system of each country, the rights of the Commission (in relationship with the National Section: possibility of present projects, participation in the EXCO of the National Section, economical and material support, etc.) could be included in the National Section By-laws or in its Internal Regulation


4. Who could be the member of the Youth Commission? (Ages, people, organisations, etc)
5. Which are the rights of the members? (Vote, voice, how to introduce proposals, special rights)
6. Which are the duties of the members? (Attend to the meetings, organise activities, pay of fee, collaboration with other activities, report about the results of projects carried out, etc.)

New members:

7. Could be useful to add some points about how new members can be incorporated.
8. Should new members have a special condition before became full member of the Youth Commission?
9. If yes, remark special rights and duties in the period of entrance to the commission.
10. Who has the right to make them full members?


11. Who are the authorities of the National Youth Commission?
12. How them are elected? (By the youth, by the National Section's Authorities, in cooperation between them...)
13. How long the charge's length is?
14. When and how the elections are made?
15. Which are the responsibilities of each Commission's authority?
16. In which frequency do the authorities have their meeting?


17. How many meetings does the Commission should have in one year? In which period of the year?
18. Who chaired the meetings? How a decision is taken?
19. What defines the topics for the extraordinary meetings?
20. Who and how could make the convocation to extraordinary meetings?
21. Which quorum is needed in extraordinary meetings?


22. What happens when one member of the Youth Commission doesn't follow the internal regulations?

Internal Regulations:

23. Who elaborate and accept the internal regulations?



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