UN USG Lacroix opens REACT 2022 on the occasion of Helsinki España’s 30th Anniversary

UN USG Lacroix opens REACT 2022 on the occasion of Helsinki España’s 30th Anniversary

Yesterday we launched the 26th edition of our REACT program.

The inauguration took place in the locality of El Albir in Alfaz del Pi, Alicante, Spain. The session began with opening remarks by Ms. Martine Mertens, who welcomed all attendees on behalf of the Alfaz del Pi City Council. Subsequently, the President of Helsinki España, Ms. Maria Jaen, took the floor and officially announced the beginning of the program. On behalf of the entire Helsinki España team, she welcomed all guests and expressed special appreciation towards Under-Secretary for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, whose presence, she kindly remarked, made the launch of this year’s edition “my most special opening to date”. Ms Martine Mertens then introduced and gave the floor to USG Lacroix.

“In the face of contemporary challenges, all of us working on conflict prevention, crisis management, peacekeeping and peacebuilding should strive to nurture our skills, share lessons learned, and foster new partnerships. This is why programs like REACT are so important and why all of us in the Department of Peace Operations welcome the opportunity to partner with Helsinki España,” said Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix. At the end of his address, he addressed this year’s participants: “Mindset and motivation – these are critical elements for success in peace missions”, he added. “I hope that many of you will serve in our missions.”

REACT is Helsinki España’s flagship international peacebuilding program: a comprehensive 220h in-person training on Conflict Prevention, Crisis Management, and post-Conflict Rehabilitation. It was launched in 2003 by proposal from Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation with support from the OSCE and the United Nations, with the aim of equipping selected professionals with the skills and competencies required to deploy in international peace operations. This year’s edition will last from May 30th to July 1st, with its first four weeks taking place in Alicante.

What makes this month-long program unique, besides being imparted by high-profile experts and trainers from international and public institutions – including numerous UN agencies; the OSCE, EU, NATO, and ICRC; and Spain’s ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs – is that it represents an opportunity for both career development as well as career transition and is the only training program of its kind that takes place in Spain. The 2022 cohort includes students from 11 different nationalities: from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States; to Cameroon, Nigeria, Syria, and India, among others.

Over the past 19 years, Helsinki España has successfully organized 25 REACT editions, training over 500 professionals from 70+ countries (including during COVID-19). Attesting to the success of the program, today REACT alumni (the majority of whom are women) are deployed in 85+ countries; operate virtually within all sectors (public, private, NGO) and at all levels (from entry-level to senior management); and represent one of Spain’s main contributions to human-centred international peace and security efforts. Together with Helsinki España staff, diplomatic corps, local authorities, and media, some alumni had come from as far as Nigeria and India to attend the inauguration of the program with USG Lacroix.

USG Lacroix arrived in Spain on Sunday May 29th – on the date the UN commemorates the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers to recognize the service and sacrifice of the more than one million personnel who have served under the blue flag since 1948, and to honour the memory of those peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

This year, the United Nations will mark the occasion under the theme People Peace Progress: The Power of Partnerships to highlight the importance of partnerships – with Member States, local communities, regional organizations, NGOs and civil society, and within the UN system – in building and sustaining peace and achieving peacekeeping mandates.

Candidates interested in participating in REACT 2023 can already submit their applications. For more information about the program, visit its official profile on ReliefWeb.



A Europe for the Youth

A Europe for the Youth

The program “A Europe for the Youth”,  sponsored by the Community of Madrid, seeks to raise awareness among university students about the importance of Human Rights in the European Union. Throughout its course a number of youth-focused European programs will be presented, and participants will have the chance to analyze the most significant challenges facing the Union. This initiative is designed for people interested in European affairs, who wish to learn alongside experts and professionals, and share their point of view.

If you would like to better understand  the functioning of the European Union, and the role and treatment of Human Rights within it, this is your opportunity. Through this program, you will acquire an enriched perspective about the important role of young people in the European theater.

What is the program about? With a total duration of 6 hours – 4h of conferences, followed by 1h on European programs and another dedicated to a final debate – its goal is to allow participants to better understand the current geopolitical situation in the EU, with a  focus on the social risks and challenges posed by the (post-)COVID-19 reality. Moreover, the debate will allow students to interact in groups and freely express their opinion on the topics under discussion, and thus gain a better understanding of the contents presented to them.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 16 of February 2022, from 08:30 till 14:30 in the Escuela de Organización Industrial (Av. de Gregorio del Amo, 6, 28040 Madrid).


Sign up here: ✍️





“Youth for Youth” Madrid 2022

“Youth for Youth” Madrid 2022

In 2022, Jóvenes para Jóvenes, with the support of the Madrid City Council, returns to the city of Madrid, addressing the university youth who find in Human Rights education a tool for the promotion of values ​​related to tolerance, equality and respect for diversity.

“Youth for Youth: Educating in Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals” gives you the opportunity to train and then sensitize children in schools on issues related to the environment, mental health, gender and other issues related to human rights.

How? The project consists of two phases. During the first, the volunteer receives, for a week, training in Human Rights and SDGs from people and entities that are experts in these issues. The training sessions for this edition will take place between February 21 and 25 in person at the School of Industrial Organization (EOI). In addition, during the training, we will work with the volunteers in the development of tools and skills that, later, allow the sessions in the schools to be executed dynamically and through recreational activities. In addition, the days serve so that the volunteers get to know each other, form links and find the partner with whom they will later attend the school.

Thus, during the second phase, the university youth volunteers go to the classroom of the school that has been assigned to them to work on the contents seen in the training sessions with children or adolescents during 4 sessions.

In Helsinki Spain we have been launching the Youth for Youth project for more than 20 years and helping to create a conscious, active and responsible youth, involved in education for and for Human Rights.

Sign up here: ✍️


Curso de Helsinki España “Jóvenes para Jóvenes” Madrid 2022




“Youth for Youth” Valencia 2022

“Youth for Youth” Valencia 2022

Youth for Youth returns to Valencia in 2022 with the support of the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 in search of active and aware university youth who wants to get involved in a Human Rights education program.

If you want to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals, mental and emotional health, social exclusion, migration, gender and more human rights issues, now is the time! Through the program “Youth for Youth: Educating on Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals” you will have the opportunity to learn and teach about these issues to children.

What does the program consist of? Once enrolled, the young volunteers will receive a one-week training on human rights and SDGs in the first phase, led by various experts. In Valencia, the training will take place between February 7 and 11 in the University of Valencia and will cover a variety of topics, all of which are related to Human Rights. During the training, students will also acquire tools to adapt this new knowledge to the classroom through dynamics and participatory methodologies. In the second phase, the youth volunteers go in pairs to a classroom in a school in Valencia to transmit the knowledge they have learned in the training to children and teenagers. The couples carry out 4 sessions in the assigned classroom.

En Helsinki España llevamos más de 20 años poniendo en marcha el proyecto de Jóvenes para Jóvenes y ayudando a crear una juventud consciente, activa y responsable, involucrada en la educación por y para los Derechos Humanos.

Want to join us? Sign up here: ✍️







”Youth for Youth” Asturias 2022

”Youth for Youth” Asturias 2022

Disinformation regarding problems related to poverty and social exclusion, general ignorance of the existence of human rights and sustainable development goals, marked stereotypes and youth gender violence, as well as the low level of participation of youth in their communities cause the young population to constantly face the inconveniences of contemporary society.

That is why Helsinki Spain created in 2001 the project “Youth for Youth”with the support of the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 and this year 2022 we have opened a call in Asturias. This initiative consists of the training of university youth from March 7 to 11 at the University of Oviedo by different experts on issues of social concern that surround Human Rights, such as gender equality; mental and emotional health; the environment, sustainability and responsible consumption; bullying, cyberbullying and cybersecurity; the protection of people at risk of vulnerability (migration and refuge, people with functional diversity, homeless people); and the bloc of democracy and participation. Once this training course is finished, the university youth in pairs go to schools in Asturias to give 4 awareness workshops to boys and girls of school age with the aim of developing a model of global citizenship and a universal culture of Human Rights in which the participants are more aware about their rights.

In this way, we encourage you to register through the following link and be part of a unique experience: ✍️
We are waiting for you!


Curso de Helsinki España “Jóvenes para Jóvenes” Asturias 2022




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