Between the 22nd and 26th of May 2019, WYA Europe collaborated with WYA Portugal in organising an Erasmus + project called Young Leaders for Tomorrow where I participated as an intern in the Brussels office. The event was organized in enthralling Lisbon and funded by the Erasmus+ programme.
The young people who arrived to the event were from all kinds of social, educational and economic backgrounds. They are residents of five European countries; namely from Belgium, Portugal, Italy and Austria, Croatia and some of them have backgrounds from other continents as well. Altogether, more than fifty young leaders took part in the project and shared their experiences and knowledge about the environment, demographics, population and migration issues. The activities of the project promoted solidarity, intercultural dialogue and respect of human dignity and human rights.
The project started on Wednesday morning in the Casa Fundacao Do Macau where Ines Štoka, the President of WYA Portugal, explained the history and the mission of the organization to the participants. The project trained and encouraged young people to take the initiative and become the future leaders they aspire to be.
During the workshops, participants went through an intense learning process. The media workshop taught the participants how to create an impactful statement and how to talk in front of and audience or give an interview. The participants enjoyed learning how to express their views comfortably and defend their message. As a result of the experience gained, they have created three different videos each.
Advocacy training was held by Mislav Barišić, the Director of Advocacy for WYA Europe. It was an opportunity for the participants to receive a deeper understanding of the function of the European Parliament. I especially loved the brainstorming and discussion on the topic of the priority of persons in a legal system and sustainable development. It was followed by preparations for a series debates, an opportunity for the participants to exchange their opinions and experiences in various topics. This activity especially led to a comprehensive understanding of the given topics. During the debate, the attendants were divided into small groups which were assigned with certain topics and they had to argue convincingly according to their position and research to defend their own perspective. That helped the participants’ adaptability, vitality and critical thinking skills to be developed.
The general purpose of the whole experience is to prepare young people to be active citizens on a local and international level. Furthermore, the project gave the participants the tools to express themselves. The participants worked in teams during most of the activities so they had to collaborate and help each other which led to flouring friendships. It also gave a unique atmosphere to the whole event.
The “Young Leaders for Tomorrow” event allowed a deeper understanding of social responsibilities and the importance of each individual’s value. The participants improved their communication skills in English, gained problem-solving abilities, digital competencies and critical thinking skills. At the end of the event, they received a Youth Pass certificate which proves their attentive and pro-active participation to the project. Such projects and meeting so many young people are what makes my internship at WYA Europe a really special experience, one I would recommend to anyone.
Written by Barbara Gabriella Thamó, a regional intern at World Youth Alliance Europe