The EFIL Board of Directors held its first meeting of the year on 20-22 February in Venice. Location was the Campus of Venice International University on the island of San Servolo, an oasis of green parkland only a few minutes by boat from San Marco Square.

The Board discussed actual trends and key issues in the global AFS network, as well as upcoming changes in European legislation which are specifically relevant for the members of the Federation (e.g. data protection).

Fundraising for 2015 activities has been successful so far including a number of funding successes under Erasmus+, the EU Programme in the field of education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020. One year after the launching of Erasmus+, it can be concluded that EFIL has continued being successful in securing funding for several of its activities, with a success rate comparable to that of the years before the launching of Erasmus+. The EFIL Board recommends that all Members keep making use of Erasmus+ opportunities, on their own and in cooperation with EFIL.

Looking at the updated activity calendar 2014-2015, the Board noted with appreciation that two training events with focus on Advocacy have been included for 2015. The Board urged all Members to get actively involved and work together with EFIL on matters of Advocacy. The Board also discussed the positive developments in ECTP (European Citizenship Trimester Programme) and pointed out the significance of promoting the programme to further foster intra-European cooperation. Preparations for the EFIL Volunteer Summer Summit 2015 are in full swing. EFIL has been in contact with AFS International again about the global launching of EFIL’s Intercultural Dialogue Day.

Much time was allocated to the discussion of the tentative programme of the EFIL General Assembly, which will take place 14-17 May in Budapest, hosted by our Member Organisation AFS Hungary (see elsewhere in this edition of EFILife). The annual meetings of the TICLAB (EFIL’s Training and Intercultural Learning Advisory Body) and the core group of EPOR (EFIL’s European Pool of Representatives) will also take place in Budapest, parallel to the General Assembly, with one overlapping session. This way, EFIL’s membership will have the opportunity to learn about EFIL’s main support bodies, their goals and their activities.

The Board took note of the updated 2014 budget as per 31 December (before audit). It appears EFIL will meet the ambitious target set in the draft budget. The Board then discussed the Business Plan 2015-2016 and expressed its overall satisfaction with the way the document was structured and presented.

The Board congratulated Simone Caporali, former EFIL Board member, with his election as PDR (Partner Director Representative), Christian Werle with his election to become the new Chair of the AFS Board of Trustees, and the EFIL Member Organisations in Serbia and Turkey for receiving ICL (Intercultural Learning) Awards at the AFS World Congress in Paris last November. Last but not least, the Board expressed its greatest appreciation for the positive response of the Member Organisations in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Russia to the initiative launched by EFIL to keep AFS Latvia in the Federation.

Following the General Assembly in Budapest, the newly elected Board will have its first meeting on Sunday 17 May 2015 (one-day meeting).