El Sistema Greece Young Leaders Program Working for tomorrow today
When El Sistema first started in Venezuela, it was developing so fast that sometimes the older students had to help the younger ones as teacher assistants. This practice has proved very helpful for everyone in the team and gave inspiration to many European music organisations to launch Young Leaders Programs, which create the leaders of the future.
This year, El Sistema Greece, apart from the music lessons and all the other artistic activities, implemented -for the very first time- the El Sistema Greece Young Leaders Program. Some of the more advanced students of El Sistema Greece experienced a journey of self-discovery and development of critical thinking, while building new tools for expressing their thoughts and opinions.
The Young Leaders is a group of 12 El Sistema Greece students from a variety of instruments or choir classes and backgrounds. They come from Skaramagkas and Eleonas Refugee Camps, from the nucleo of Kipseli and from the El Sistema Greece Youth Orchestra and El Sistema Greece Choir. Their ages are between 14 and 25 and they are from Greece, Syria, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Poland. Amongst them there is one choir singer while the rest are practicing violin, viola, cello, trumpet, French horn and oboe. All of them have a proven commitment to the community of students of the organization, with the support of their parents. ESG teacher Francis Gagliardi took over the design and facilitation of the project, together with Angeliki Georgokosta, the coordinator.
During the development of the program, the participants were motivated to think of themselves in a wider frame, to become responsible and think for their peers, to discuss subjects related not only to music but also to wider themes. They went on a process that will empower them to make more autonomous thoughts and decisions and that will make their leadership skills improve. What is maybe even more important, they established a new team within the ESG community, a new group with its own personality and focus. The Young Leaders had the possibility to explore together different forms of leadership and to discover and develop new talents; they learned to share their ideas and their vision for the future. The goal was to prepare them to handle a role key in the future of ESG and we think they did a great job!
The program started in March, a few days before the general lockdown, so the Young Leaders team has been working remotely for most of the time. The majority of them stated that this was a valuable learning even for other aspects of their lives:
“I think that the most valuable learning from the Program was the fact that even though things can get very hard, like in those months, we can always find a way to keep going whatever we had started. It is not impossible; willingness is the only thing needed. And the people in the young leaders program’s team proved that!’’
Fortunately, when El Sistema Greece’s physical lessons started again in May, the team had one chance to meet in person. In that moment #BlackLivesMatter movement was the number one topic in the world: young leaders, affected by the incidents in the USA, sent their own message against racism and imagined a better world.
Our future leaders, next year, are going to be even more powerful and creative and we are sure they will put some more bricks in tomorrow’s wall. Stay tuned!