Since the first week of April members of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC) and several Youth Organizations could apply for a ‘buddy-experiment’ in intergenerational partnerships for sustainability. We got more than 300 reactions. Partnering was done on the basis of gender, language, preference and 'first come, first serve'. Since there were about 80 CEC members, we had to disappoint quite a few younger people. The application form asked for preference, latest learning about sustainability and demand for new learning. Over 20% of the applicants had no specific preference. About 15% of the CEC members wanted a buddy with an interest in biodiversity related issues. Almost 10% of the applicants made statements about the preferred character and interests of their budy. As we had not enough information only in a few cases we could match buddies on preferences.
The experiences of recent learning in sustainable development looks at first sight rather philosophical among some of the youth and a bit more concrete among CEC members. But there are no major differences (click on the matrix above to read more details). The same is true for the demand for learning (see the matrix left of this text). In the last week of April the applicants were informed who their buddy was and the pilot started. In one or two cases applicants wrote us that their buddy did not respond immediately to their e-mails. Some applicants copied us on their first exchange. They came across issues such as how to address each other (formal or informal), the meaning of their name, details of personal interests from their CVs, their families, the place where they are living, differences between their cultures, how they came involved in sustainable development, the possibility of meeting in Second Life, or communicating through skype. It seems quite a rich encounter so far.