Sabine Decker-Horz: CCIVS took part in the Executive Committee meetings of UNESCO as observer and other meetings, consulting on UNESCO issues

Sabine Decker-Horz (Bornheim near Bonn, Germany) was CCIVS Director between July 1983 and October 1985. Between 1972 and 1988, she participated in International Voluntary Workcamps and Youth Community Services. In 1980, she obtained Politics Diplomature by the University of Marburg. Between 1987 and 2008, Sabine increased her professional experience in emergency and development aid, program management, in Africa, in 20 countries like Angola, Mozambique and 9 West African countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. In 2008, she introduced herself to the world of creative writing, painting and sculpture and, between 2011 and 2016, Decker-Horz studied fine art at the Alanus Werkhaus Alfter, beginning the exhibition activity in 2012. Between 2015 and 2018, Sabine was the curator for SCI Moers, Germany. During her younghood, Decker-Horz has participated in 15 workcamps in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Q: How did you discover the IVS movement?

A: I read an advertisment at the board of our catholic girls’ school at the age of 18. I liked the idea of physical activity in international groups, and then took part in my first workcamp in 1972 near London, redecorating a community centre.

Q:How did you end up being the CCIVS director during the 80s? How were you chosen?

A: After having taken part in many workcamps, in the executive committee of the German branch of SCI, for some time as vice president, the international structure of SCI proposed me as a candidate for the post of the CCIVS director in Paris. At that time CCIVS staff was sent my member organisations for 2 – 3 years.

Q:Which was the relationship established between UNESCO and CCIVS during your mandate as a director?

A:The relations were very good, especially with the UNESCO Youth Division, which was very supportive, also financially. CCIVS took part in the Executive Committee meetings of UNESCO as observer and other meetings, consulting on UNESCO issues.

Q: During the 80s, two important themes were peace and disarmament. The number of East-West encounters across the “iron curtain” increased. How was the relation and communication between West countries organizations and East countries organizations?

A: The communist youth organizations of the Eastern world were active members of CCIVS and represented in the CCIVS executive committee. This was very unique at that time. West European CCIVS member organisations exchanged volunteers and organised meetings for youth.

Q: Some CCIVS members were actively involved in political movements, campaigning for nuclear disarmament, for human rights, and against apartheid. How did you get involved? What did CCIVS?

A: Myself I came from the German branch of SCI which at that time was very active in the above-mentioned subjects organizing workcamp concerning the themes, raising political awareness, do fundraising, campainging. CCIVS took up these themes as well, proposed by member organizations. It worked on the level of publications, organization of conferences and seminars for member organisations.

Q:During your visit, you talked about your participation in a demonstration with SCI Germany, taking care of the security. Tell us about your experience.

A: In Bonn we had two big demonstrations for peace and disarmament in the early 1980s with 300.000 and then 500.000 participants. SCI German branch was member of the organising Peace committee and we all were involved with the organization of the demonstrations and the order service.

Q: We have been talking about West-East relations but, during the 80s, we can also start to talk about relationships with the South. Did CCIVS support/organize campaigns against apartheid? Which was their representation in the IVS movement?

A: Organisations of the South were also members of CCIVS. As their financial means were little CCIVS took care that they were represented in conferences and meetings, giving them a voice to express. At that time there was no member organisation from South Africa, however, the fight against apartheid was always an issue.


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