The IB has been implementing international youth and expert exchange programmes since its foundation. As a significant goal of its articles of association the IB promotes “international understanding and cooperation”. The IB therefore contributes signifi cantly to a more tolerant, open and peaceful society, strengthens international and European awareness and contributes to the implementation of the European Youth Strategy. In accordance with the IB’s mission statement, the exchange programmes help participants to learn to develop freely, live selfdetermined lives, integrate into society, to assume personal responsibility and to actively participate in the development of society worldwide. The topics of and possibilities for interaction are as diverse as the interests of the youth and young adults: youth encounters take place in leisure time, at work-related meetings, work camps, educational seminars, internships, memorial rides or through expert exchanges.
In its international youth work, the IB particularly focuses on youth with special support requirements. The aim of the projects is to enhance the mutual understanding between young people of different countries and cultures. The youth gain a lot from these exchanges. In most cases it is their fi rst experience with and in a foreign country. While they are confronted with foreign and unknown situations, they reflect on their own cultural identity. In this way they learn about tolerance and acceptance and begin to show an interest in their non-native compatriots. By acquiring important key competences in a professional and social context, they gather self-confi dence, which plays an important role in their personal and professional development.
The IB also promotes international expert exchanges. The professionals benefit from a substantial exchange of experiences and enhance their skills. They experience Europe and other continents and are thus able to better transfer their acquired knowledge of these places to their clients and the people they work with. The added professional and intercultural value of international work complements the participants’ competencies. Participants are expert professionals from the areas of youth, social and educational work. The projects are developed and implemented in cooperation with partner organizations from within Europe and beyond Europe in all areas of the IB.