Maria Salabasheva was recently appointed Managing Director of the International Youth Center. For the burgas1.org website, she revealed her vision of IYC’s role in the process of maintaining а sustainable youth community in Burgas.
Q: What are the International Youth Center’s priorities? How will it change young people’s lives for the better?
The International Youth Center’s main purpose is to become “the place” where young people of Burgas can freely express themselves. Our team is dedicated to help youngsters develop their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities and to experience achievement, joy, friendship, and recognition. I believe that our responsibility is to maintain a positive environment for the youth within their community. Last but not least, IYC aims to contribute to international exchange. We work in partnership with the Municipality of Reykjavik, Iceland, and this collaboration comes up with intercultural learning experiences for young people. To make the long story short, I associate the International Youth Center with the word “opportunity” and all the positive aspects that connect with it.
Q: The International Youth Center is being built in a residential area with almost no cultural infrastructure. Is this about to change with IYC’s presence in the neighborhood?
This exactly is our idea – to turn the IYC into an attractive hub where many different events take place. The multifunctional hall on the first floor has a seating capacity of up to 180, and can be used for seminars and conferences, but also for theater performances and concerts. The building’s design provides various open areas for informal cultural and educational activities. The second floor includes a 35-bed facility which will facilitate the accommodation of national and international guests. Any outside organization planning conferences, seminars, events, or training courses may also book the International Youth Center’s premises for its activities. By 2024, the IYC facilities will be used free of charge by any national or foreign government institution, non-government organization, or youth network structure.
Q: What are your short term and long-term goals as IYC’s Managing Director?
The International Youth Center is a wonderful challenge for me. I have the unique opportunity to work for a youth organization, which is open and inclusive towards youngsters. I would like IYC to foster supportive relationships with an emphasis on youth empowerment, while integrating family, school, and community into its strategies. In five years, I would like to see IYC receiving the Council of Europe’s Quality Label for Youth Centers.