“Our time to make a change” – reflections following the European Presidents’ meeting

7 February 2021


A weekend full of learning, best practice sharing, decision making and pure fun just came to an end and JCI Malta is excited to implement all that was discussed in the upcoming months. This experience has truly shown me, as National President, how now it’s our time to make a change whether its with our vote at the General Assemblies and other meetings or if its with the way we lead our teams, engage our members and activate our efforts within JCI.

While restrictions on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic prevail, JCI Europe, through a team of fantastic individuals, came together to ensure that all European National Presidents have the opportunity to also experience the annual European Presidents’ Meeting weekend and set the goals for Europe for 2021. JCI Malta got the honour of participating during this year’s EPM on multiple levels. Immediate Past President Markus Behmann, who also sits on the European Development Council as the Impact and Promotion Councillor, worked together with the JCI Europe team to put together a full to the brim an exciting weekend for everyone. Myself as National President, together with Giselle Borg Olivier as Deputy President, represented JCI Malta and ensured our members’ voice is magnified on a European platform.

Starting off on Thursday 4th February, the programme we experienced included discussing and giving feedback on the 2021 Plan of Action for Europe, looking into online memberships and whether these are the future for our organisations, understood how we can maximise the benefits of JCI’s international partners by engaging them on the national and local level as well as collaborating our ideas and successes around the JCI Rise initiative. We also got to speak with Secretary General Kevin Hin on some of the exciting programmes that JCI HQ is putting together for our members internationally, such as the revival of the Creative Young Entrepreneur Programme (CYEP) and the revamping of the Ten Outstanding Young People (TOYP) Awards.

JCI Malta’s 2020 project titled BUY A MEAL made the rounds again in Europe during this conference, chosen as the second favourite JCI Rise themed project to replicate around Europe. National Presidents got the opportunity to choose their favourites between 12 different and equally fantastic projects. The top three projects picked would then see the National or Local Organisation in charge work towards providing a template and guidelines to follow for the rest of Europe to implement the same project via their organisations. Knowing the successful replication of the Buy A Meal project by JCI Serbia in 2020, we are absolutely thrilled and positive that the project will be successfully replicated by many other National and Local Organisations around Europe.

Additionally, during the General Assembly, JCI Malta not only supported but also helped with the strengthening of two different motions that are meant to not only improve the work of JCI Europe, but also give more opportunities for the members on the ground to have a taste of what being part of an international organisation can offer. JCI Norway, thanks to the work done by National President Evy Tofte, achieved the establishment of a Media, Marketing & Communications Committee that will be led by the Impact & Promotions EDC Councillor and the soon to be appointed Area Manager. This committee would be in charge of helping JCI Europe with putting together as much marketing content as possible to keep all our members updated, connected and active through its different social media channels.

The second motion that JCI Malta had the honour to assist with was moved by our friends over at JCI Estonia. This specific motion saw the setting up of a Sustainability Taskforce that will ensure that our upcoming European events implement a sustainable mindset and have JCI Europe lead by example when it comes to sustainability. Together with JCI Estonia National President Sigrid Kivimäe who came up with the idea and eloquently wrote up the motion and the reasoning why such a taskforce is necessary, as Malta’s National President, I presented the structure and timeline that the taskforce would need to follow to ensure that the purpose of the taskforce is reached and that it is properly implemented and improved event after event in 2021.

In the coming months, there will be open calls issued by JCI Europe to kickstart both these taskforces, as well as another taskforce established by JCI Belgium. I am truly excited to see who will be those JCI La Valette, JCI Wignacourt and JCI de Rohan members who volunteer to be part of these teams aimed at making the JCI experience a fantastic one for all European members alike.

During this conference, I also got the opportunity to have a brief one-on-one chat with JCI President Ryubun Kojima. My question focused on what is the one thing he would like each National Organisation around the world to achieve in 2021, always keeping in mind the smaller national organisations who might not have the same amount of human or monetary resources as larger ones. President Ryubun explained that he would like to see each Organisation run at least one JCI Rise project successfully. He went on to say how the size of the project does not matter, what matters is the fact that the organisation implements that project and does its part in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

Following this weekend, I am truly thrilled, excited and ready to continue putting our words into actions and making sure that despite an ongoing pandemic, JCI Malta gives its members one of the best membership years they could wish for. I truly and eagerly look forward to the next international conference, the European Conference Cruise in June, which will hopefully be held in person and would see us all reunited following a year of not seeing each other face to face!

Let’s get the ball rolling so that with #OneFuture in mind we will #RISEwithJCI and create true #LeadersForChange.



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