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Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU) was founded in Strasbourg in 1986 by a group of 120 young people from 11 different countries. In 1989 YEU was recognized as a member association of the European Coordination Bureau (E.C.B.). Today YEU is a member of the European Youth Forum which is the independent platform for INGYOs and NYCs in Europe. YEU has young people from over 30 countries from across Europe and Africa involved in its activities.  As an international network, YEU is the representative body of its members in contacts with the institutions and partners in the youth field.

YEU is run by young people for young people by means of a democratic structure and its members are mainly working on a voluntary base.  The limit age to participate in YEU activities is 30 years but the majority of participants are under the age of 25.  It is young people who decide about activities of the organisation, define the strategies and implement the action plans, run the organization and ultimately evaluate it. It is important to note that most young people in YEU are actively involved in other aspects of civil society, frequently establishing links between the Member Organizations and the local, regional and national institutions, other youth organisations and the community in general, extending the participation in the international organisation to the local dimension.