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Venturing into the unknown

Christine Eben © Cristian Castelnuovo

In her report Christine Eben would write: ‘Once again we formed mixed groups, in terms of both age and nationality, just as we had in our previous workshops that had proved so successful. As it’s all about future developments, exchanging ideas with young people is all the more important.’

For the past ten years Christine Eben from Munich has sought to attend each and every event organised by CIPRA International and then compile a report. And that includes the I-LivAlps Workshops, most recently in Stroppo in Italy’s Maira Valley in September 2017. Initially, she would report back merely to her own organisation, Germany’s Friends of Nature, but now she also reports to all member organisations of CIPRA Germany; indeed, she sits on its board as Acting Vice President. She’s the binding link between organisations and generations, between the regional, national and international level.

Until her retirement Christine Eben worked as a judge, so the workshops with young people are a new experience. ‘Allowing myself to venture out into the unknown is the greatest challenge at my age,’ she says. In Stroppo she is observing closely the discussions within the small group on ‘living and working’. She still finds it quite difficult to take part in the debates in English, so for some time now she has been attending a course to brush up her school English. ‘So I can communicate more effectively with the young ones.’

So what does she get out of these events personally? ‘A sense of helping to shape something, together.’ She feels that the social innovation topic of the fourth I-LivAlps workshops resonates with the agenda of the Friends of Nature as it is not purely an environmental organisation, but bears social responsibilities too. ‘What we do here in Stroppo I know I can take back to my own organisation and be certain of a sympathetic ear.’