Greetings letter from RC 34 President

Helena Helve RC34 President 2002-2006

Many of you will know me from my role as IBYR Editor for 1998-2002. For those who do not know me, I would like to introduce myself. I am an Associate Professor of Sociology and Comparative Religion in the University of Helsinki. In addition to being the President of the Finnish Youth Research Society, since 1998 I have been the Nordic Youth Research Coordinator, where my responsibilities have included: leadership of the team offering academic access to the research; coordination of research initiations, analysis activities and research dissemination, supervision of researchers; and direction of a number of research projects. In addition, I have been the editor of the Finnish journal Nuorisotutkimus (Youth Research), a member of the international editorial board of Journal of Youth Studies, and editor of the Nordic Youth Research Newsletter and Nordic Youth Research Information (NYRI) web site. I left the electronic IBYR to the good hands of the new editor, Professor Jim Côté from Canada when I assumed the Presidency of RC34. He has already begun to improve the IBYR website and established a mailing list for RC34 members to communicate with each other. Jim is also the editor of Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research. RC34 Goals I hope that IBYR will be a window to the future of RC 34. Our future RC 34 activities will depend on how well we use our collective imaginations, develop cooperative activities, hold regional conferences, undertake research programmes, and provide services demanded by new realities. We cannot foresee the future, but we can prepare for it by playing an active role and contributing our news and views to the IBYR. The exchange of information among members can help us to develop new cooperative networks and create new possibilities for research and knowledge expansion. The goal of RC 34 is to advance youth research throughout the world, and during my Presidency this will be my focus. Our structure with Regional Vice-presidents recognises the aspirations of youth researchers in all parts of the world and endeavours to support and strengthen the free development of youth research in co-operation with similar associations of scientists. That is why we shall encourage the international dissemination and exchange of information on developments in youth research and training through the IBYR. To this end, we shall convene meetings along with regularly scheduled world congresses, as well as promote publications that support our other activities. English, French and Spanish are the recognized languages of our RC. The administrative language is English. To fulfil our goal of international cooperation, we need to form greater connections with other ISA Research Committees, like RC53 on the Sociology of Childhood. Ann Denis, the new ISA Vice-President, recently encouraged RC Presidents and Secretary-Treasures to promote the ISA ideals of inclusiveness and diversity. She also proposes that we submit project proposals to the ISA Executive Committee designed to promote collaboration among RCs, and between RCs and National Associations. I also feel strongly that we should promote collaboration with national and international youth research associations. This could provide us with invaluable opportunities to exchange ideas and collaborate within and across the boundaries of sub-specialisations, theories, methodological approaches and national/regional experiences. I am committed to working with you to strengthen our co-operation with national and regional youth research societies and networks, with the goal of promoting an exchange of ideas among these societies. From my own experiences as a member of several youth research networks and from exchanges that I have had with colleagues from different fields of science, I can say that joint activities only improve research. One immediate way in which we can enhance cooperation among youth researchers around the world in research seminars, networks, and joint projects is by posting our work on the IBYR. For example, please see what your colleagues have written on the Diary page of the IBYR website. The IBYR currently enjoys a world-wide readership among youth researchers and youth sociologists, with some 100 hits per month. Executive Board Activities In the first meeting of RC34 board, we began planning activities for 2002-2006. One of the many good ideas to come out was a plan to promote future research training courses. Toward this end, we would like to compile a bibliography on youth studies for posting on the IBYR. To help us ensure that this reading list is comprehensive, we need the help of members, so please send your lists of essential youth studies reading to our IBYR editor. The RC34 Board is also busy planning future conferences. Our focus is already on the World Congress of Sociology in Durban, South Africa, 2006. In doing so, we will take account of our programme in Brisbane, which was by all accounts an over-whelming success. We can look forward to a report of the Brisbane World Congress from our past President Lynne Chisholm, who successfully coordinated the RC34 programme. A great number of presentations were made by the academics from around the world, who were of different levels of seniority and experience. A large number of people showed their interest in the work of RC34 sessions, with numbers of attendance of sessions varying from 30 to 80 people. The success of RC34 shown over the last few years and at the ISA congress is a result of our Research Committee’s hard work on securing global participation in its activities, promotion of inter-cultural understanding, the cross-fertilization of theoretical, substantive and methodological perspectives, and the building of a collegiate atmosphere within the committee. The work of RC34 shows we are not only an academic platform, but a social and political project as well. We have already held or planned regional RC34 events for 2002-2006 term. The first was “Youth studies and new global challenges: International youth studies training seminar for young youth sociologists, youth workers and youth NGO officers from Central and Eastern European countries, Russian Federation and CIS countries,” held in Moscow, September 7-13, 2002 in co-operation with European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe, Department for Youth Affairs, Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation and Nordic-Baltic Youth Research doctoral school programme. I extend a warm thanks to Lyudmila Nurse, Lynne Chisholm, Siyka Kovacheva, Howard Williamson and other colleagues for their hard work in conducting the seminar. The second initiative was the conference “Global Priorities for Youth: United Nations Youth Conference,” which was held in Helsinki, October 6-10, 2002. Our committee’s expertise was widely used as paper presenters and discussants. Looking forward, I hope everyone can attend “Youth B Voice and Noise” the 8th Nordic Youth Research Symposium (NYRIS 8), June 11-14, 2003, in Roskilde, Denmark, where we shall have also RC34 business meeting. Later this year our Chinese colleagues are organising a conference on “The Healthy Development of Children,” which will be held in Shanghai International Forum, November20-22, 2003. For the year 2004 we can look forward to the conference “Social Challenges in Latin America in XXIst Century: IVth European Congress CEISAL of Latinoamericanists,” Bratislava, July 4-7. Our Vice-Presidents David Everatt (for Africa, Near East and Middle East), Vinod Chandra and Ngai Ngan Pun (for Asia, including Japan and China), Johanna Wyn (for Australia, New Zealand and Oceania), Gunilla Holm (from North America) and Charles Feixa and Henk Vinken (for Europe including Russian Federation and Confederation of Independent States), all have plans to organize regional events, to launch collective projects, and to develop websites for youth researchers and youth research institutes to share information, discuss issues of common interest, promote research collaboration, and organize training programmes for youth researchers in their own regions. I heartily thank our Regional Vice-Presidents for making and following through on these plans. On the publication’s front, our mutual ambitions have coalesced with three publication projects under the auspices of RC34:

1. The RC34 history project, to be released as a small book (written by Claire Wallace and Howard Williamson, with Jim Côté as production editor).
2. A collection of review essays on contemporary international youth research theme (edited by Helena Helve and Gunilla Holm).
3. A collection of RC34 Congress papers (edited Lynne Chisholm).

And last, but not least, as you may know, we have regular and affiliated members. But, as our former President Lynne Chisholm has underlined, we should ensure that we do not fall below the threshold of 100 paid-up members, because this threshold ensures us access to a full programme slot at the next World Congress. In a recent RC34 board meeting we changed the dues to 50 dollars, with a 10-dollar discount, which helps certain colleagues to benefit from reduced ISA membership fees due to region of residence or student status. With all things considered, this is an inexpensive way to be eligible to participate in the World Congress and meet the colleagues from around the world. Another way to support RC34 is to get your university or organisation to join as an institutional member. For more information about memberships, please contact our Organisational Secretary Howard Williamson and Treasurer Reingard Spannring. My hope is that we can continue to progress in the tradition of the very fine work carried out by previous Presidents and Executive Boards who have preceded us. The current Board has been busy drawing up and carrying out its overall Activity Plan. After our next Board at NYRIS 8 in Roskilde, Denmark, I will have more to report. In the meantime, please send your ideas and information about seminars, new books, reports, and research projects to me or to the editor of the IBYR.