1963 - 2013

50 years of the Élysée treaty - 50 years of the FGYO

OFAJ/DFJW

 The Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) is an organisation which serves to foster Franco-German co-operation. It helps to promote a better understanding of the partner's culture, encourages intercultural learning, supports vocational training, strenghtens joint projects for civic involvement, informs about the special responsability of both countries in Europe and motivates young people to learn the other language. It was founded in 1963 as a result of the Elysée-Treaty. Since then, the FGYO has enabled more than 8 million young people from France and Germany to get to know and to improve their knowledge about the partner's language and culture.

Chancellor Dr Konrad Adenauer welcomes the French President Charles De Gaulle for an official state visit to Germany.

"Our friendship and solidarity with France will always be one pillar of German Foreign Policy."

Dr Konrad Adenauer

"I congratulate all of you for being young."

Charles De Gaulle
Creation of the FGYO in 1963

5th July 1963, Bonn Palais Schaumburg 

Foreign Ministers Dr Gerhard Schröder and Maurice Couve de Murville sign the contract founding the FGYO in the presence of Chancellor Dr Konrad Adenauer and President Charles De Gaulle. The FGYO has the task of strenghthening the bonds between the two countries. It serves youth of France and Germany.

An Office will be established to promote the exchange between the two countries, which will be headed by a voluntary board. This Office will be provided by equal contributions from the French and German governments, the purpose of which is to enable the meetings and exchanges between pupils, students, young artisans and young workers from both countries. 

Contract between the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the government of the French Republic concerning the establishment of a Franco-German Youth Office :

Article 1

An organisation will be established to foster relations between the young people of France and Germany which will be called “Franco-German Youth Office”.

Article 2

The task of the Youth Office is to tighten the bond between the two nations and to strengthen understanding for one another. To this end it will promote the exchange between the young people of both countries and, where necessary, organise these exchanges itself.

Signing the contract establishing the FGYO, Paris 1963
The FGYO organises in 1964 the first Franco-German exchange programmes and meetings for young people.
The first Franco-German youth exchange programmes.
Learning the partner language at an early age : In a French school a German junior teacher uses playful techniques to convey her mother tongue. The goal is to motivate the children to learn German in secondary school.
The Franco-German children's box
Today, more than 2,500 town and regional partnerships between Germany and France provide a wide range of activities for young people (vocational, cultural, sport-based, etc.).

Immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the FGYO integrated young people from the former GDR, and therefore from the newly-reunited states (Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia), into its programmes.

Opening the FGYO for young people from the newly-reunited federal states

Communicating with one another and learning the partner language - The FGYO awards e.g. grants for language courses to promote mutual understanding and to advance the mobility of the young people in both countries.

10 years Voltaire programme 
The FGYO hot air balloon - Supported by its partners (organisations, institutions), the FGYO continuously develops new ways for sports exchanges.
Franco-German basketball and handball camp, Baden Baden 2009
The FGYO in Paris
The FGYO in Berlin

Important institutional changes occur in the year 2000. From then on FGYO has its headquarters in Paris (51, rue de l’Amiral-Mouchez in the 13th Arrondissement). Offices open in Berlin in the Schweriner Palace (Molkenmarkt 1).

In Paris more than 40 German and French employees are responsible for vocational exchange programmes for young workers and students, communication and events, human ressources, administration, finances and IT systems; in Berlin about 30 German and French employees are in charge of school and extracurricular exchange, intercultural education, communication as well as administration, finances and IT systems. The general secretariat is settled in Paris as well as in Berlin. 

"Our youth longs for future, it wants more and more community beyond all borders."

Dr Gerhard Schröder, Foreign Minister (1963)
Basic training for counsellors, Neuruppin 2011
Extending the FGYO programmes to the Balkans
Understanding the other's culture - the role of international counsellors in multi-national encounters, Bonn 2012
Since 2001 more than 300 meetings in the Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) have been granted financial and educational support by the FGYO, thanks to special funds provided by the Foreign Offices of France and Germany.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, the FGYO organised a Franco-German youth parliament in Berlin in January 2003. There were more than 500 participants. Their recommendations resulted in the German-French Day, celebrated each year on January 22nd, and the German-French history book.
The FGYO organises an annual Encounter Day with the support of the German and French Foreign offices. Thousands of young people can have a look at the working life while visiting companies which operate in both France and Germany.
Franco-German Discovery Day in Paris
Franco-German Discovery Day inBerlin
April 28 th 2005 : Signing the new FGYO contract

Signing the new FGYO contract

Foreign Ministers Joschka Fischer and Michel Barnier sign the new contract for the Franco-German Youth Office in Paris on the 28th April 2005, which stipulates a structural reform. The reforms include a general secretariat with two general secretaries of equal rank, one French and one German.

On the occasion of its 45th anniversary, the FGYO organised a conference "Return to the avant-garde" in Berlin. Participants recommended establishing a network of young ambassadors and developing educational materials for 3-6-year-olds.
The FGYO network meeting, Frankfurt am Main 2012
Shaping the future together - The FGYO supports intercultural learning, offers training and higher learning programmes for education and language, encourages both the mobility and the employability of young people, and mediates the experiences of the Franco-German reconciliation through citizens' involvement.
The Franco-German theatre project, Frankfurt am Main 2009
Culture and handicap, Montréal 2011

"Isn't it our task as young Europeans to be involved and to fight for peace and a better understanding whenever possible?"

Janina Victor, participant at a youth encounter
Credits: Story

Nous remercions — Nos participants aux rencontres, nos partenaires, nos vidéastes, nos photographes. Projet réalisé par Annie Lamiral et Michael Langenfeld. Avec le soutien de Emilie Schleich.
Wir bedanken uns bei — Unseren Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmern, unseren Partnern, unseren Videastinnen und Videasten, unseren Fotografinnen und Fotografen. Projektleitung: Annie Lamiral und Michael Langenfeld. Mitwirkung: Emilie Schleich.                                             
We would like to thank — Our participants, our partners, our videographers, our photographers. Project Management: Annie Lamiral and Michael Langenfeld. In cooperation with Emilie Schleich.
Bundesbildstelle Bonn
Deutsche Wochenschau

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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