Young participants, most of them from member organizations, were willing to contribute to the seminar and share experiences on human rights, related to the promotion of the freedom of conscience and the new ‘Equal-Treatment’ Directive proposed by the EU.
First thing I loved about these days was that it embraced diversity: There were people from nine different nationalities (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Slovenia, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands and England), which encourages international dialogue.
The main aim of the training was to widen the perspectives of youth on politics and dialogue through analyzing political and philosophical concepts, realities and ways for developing the EU policies through youth work.
I will never forget that day I enter the European Parliament for the first time: It is huge! It is like there is a city inside. There is a hairdresser, shops, a café. I was so impressed! It is like another world because it is so modern and the architecture is very special. I just felt very grateful to be there and part of this great experience. Besides, I believe we were there for a great cause.
On the 1st day training dedicated to advocacy in the EU, a discussion took place indeed in the Parliament – to raise awareness on the ambiguous language pattern of the new directive. Indeed, fostering a more ‘human dignity friendly’ Europe is so important if we want to improve the whole of human society and progressively solve the problems of discrimination and remove injustices.
To achieve this goal indeed that the participants have enhanced their cultural learning and developed skills in various interactive workshops like the one setting the story of Antigone as an example for freedom of conscience, to end up doing some brilliant acting. We have also undertaken a City tour to discover Brussels and its history: The European Institutions, the Royal Palace, Manneken Pis, Grand’Place, all enlightened. Even though it was ‘raining cats and dogs’, it was awesome for me. It was as if I had discovered my own town again. That day, we had the Best French fries ever, hot wine for some of us, and a very nice coffee we took on our way to the Christmas Market got us warmed.
Finally, we were encouraged to use the skills obtained at the training to carry out own projects with their organizations and communities at home. A brainstorming took place to develop joint projects and enhance cooperation between the international member groups.
It was such a great youth gathering and a wonderful international adventure in the heart of Europe, that we won’t forget that soon.
Emilie, WYA Europe intern