My journey throughout the WYAE Emerging Leaders Conference 2021

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Many people want change, but not many people want to change themselves. For instance, if you were offered to travel to a foreign country and not worry about expenses in order to meet your peers from different parts of the continent so you could actively participate in shaping today’s reality for young people, would you do it? Although my family and I had my doubts about pursuing such a grandiose action, I made a decision to follow my own path by accepting such an offer. From 15th to 17th November 2021, I participated in the Emerging Leaders Conference in Brussels, organised by World Youth Alliance Germany and World Youth Alliance Europe.

My trip was quite eventful! Accompanied by seven other people, which constituted the Croatian group, I went to Brussels by plane and, after some minor troubles with the trip, finally arrived at Yooma Urban Lodge where we were accommodated. We quickly seized the opportunity to explore the city and try some local cuisines before taking a deserved rest at the hotel. Or so we thought, since we had to prepare for the conference by reading a certain amount of online articles related to leadership! Luckily, reading and taking notes was never a problem for me, so I finished my task soon and readily welcomed the first day of the conference. After meeting a lot of new people, I was introduced to Myriam Kaufmann (Regional Director of the WYA Europe), Marie-Laure Denoel (Regional Director of Advocacy), and a few other persons who took charge of organising such event, like Magdalena Basic (Regional Director of Operations of WYA Europe). Our first day served as an introduction to the topics of leadership, the European parliament, and what to expect in the next two days. 

Those expectations quickly turned to reality as we entered the second day of the conference; after a short trip to Lodzkie House, we had several presentations (both online and in-person) about topics such as youth transitions to labour market, challenges which young people face, education policies at EU level, state of universities, the potential of the young people when engaging in the local community and the debate with decision-makers about the future of youth in the EU.

It would be too long to describe everything we went through, but I can assure you that it was quite eventful! At last, the third day came; the day when we met the members of the European Parliament (MEP). My group and I met the Croatian representative Karlo Ressler in the Parliament itself where we discussed topics related to youth, climate change, refugees, and EU policies. It is quite different when you in person discuss with MEP the challenges that Europeans face right now; I hope that our initiative will bring us closer to solving these problems.

To sum up, the Emerging Leaders Conference was an inspiring event that gave me an excellent opportunity to meet new people and places, learn and discuss the topics which I find important and strengthen me to implement new knowledge and skills in my local surroundings. That is not unimportant if you are willing to change anything about the position of today’s youth.

 

This precious experience opens new paths for me and new goals to pursue and I suggest to other young people like me to participate in this type of event. You will change yourself for the better and contribute to the youth’s well-being. This is a noble goal, I’m sure you will agree.

Published: December 16, 2021
Written by Sven Toljan, Participant of the Emerging Leaders Conference 2021

Mnogi ljudi žele promjenu, ali malo ljudi želi mijenjati sebe. Kada bi vam netko ponudio da otputujete u stranu zemlju kako biste upoznali svoje vršnjake s različitih dijelova kontinenta i aktivno sudjelovali u oblikovanju današnje stvarnosti za mlade, biste li to učinili? Iako smo moja obitelj i ja imali svoje sumnje, odlučio sam krenuti svojim putem i prihvatiti ponuđenu mogućnost. Od 15. do 17. studenog 2021. godine sudjelovao sam na konferenciji Emerging Leaders u Bruxellesu, u organizaciji Svjetskog Saveza Mladih Europe.

Moje putovanje je bilo prilično ispunjeno događajima! U pratnji sedmero ljudi s kojima sam činio hrvatsku grupu, avionom sam otišao u Bruxelles i, nakon manjih problema s putovanjem, konačno stigao u Yooma Urban Lodge gdje smo bili smješteni. Brzo smo iskoristili priliku da istražimo grad i probamo neke lokalne delicije prije zasluženog odmora u hotelu. Ili smo barem tako mislili, budući da smo se za konferenciju morali pripremiti čitajući određenu količinu mrežnih članaka vezanih za vodstvo! Srećom, čitanje i bilježenje nikada mi nisu predstavljali problem, tako da sam ubrzo završio svoj zadatak i spremno dočekao prvi dan konferencije. Nakon što sam sreo mnogo novih lica, upoznao sam se s Myriam Kaufmann (regionalnom direktoricom WYA Europe), Marie-Laure Denoel (regionalnom direktoricom za zastupanje) i još nekoliko osoba koje su preuzele odgovornost za organizaciju takvog događaja. Naš prvi dan poslužio je kao uvod u teme vodstva, Europskog parlamenta i onoga što nas očekuje u sljedeća dva dana.

Ta očekivanja brzo su se pretvorila u stvarnost drugim danom konferencije; nakon kratkog izleta u kuću Lodzkie imali smo nekoliko prezentacija (mrežnih i uživo) o temama kao što su tranzicija mladih na tržište rada, izazovi s kojima se mladi ljudi susreću, obrazovne politike na razini EU, stanje sveučilišta, potencijal mladih prilikom angažmana u lokalnoj zajednici i rasprave s donositeljima odluka o budućnosti mladih u EU.

 

Bilo bi predugo opisivati ​​sve što smo prošli, ali uvjeravam vas da je događaja bilo uistinu mnogo! Napokon je došao treći dan; dan kada se susrećemo s članovima Europskog parlamenta. Moja skupina i ja susreli smo se s hrvatskim zastupnikom Karlom Resslerom u prostorijama parlamenta gdje smo razgovarali o temama vezanim za mlade, klimatske promjene, izbjeglice i politike EU. Sasvim je drugačije kada osobno razgovarate s europarlamentarcem o izazovima s kojima se Europljani trenutno susreću; nadam se da će nas naša inicijativa približiti rješavanju ovih problema.

Ukratko, konferencija Emerging Leaders bila je inspirativan događaj koji mi je pružio izvrsnu priliku da upoznam nove ljude i mjesta, naučim i razgovaram o temama koje smatram važnima te me osnaži za implementaciju novih znanja i vještina u svom lokalnom okruženju.

 

To nije nevažno ako ste voljni promijeniti bilo što u pogledu položaja današnje mladeži. Ovo dragocjeno iskustvo otvara mi nove puteve i ciljeve te predlažem drugim mladim ljudima poput mene da sudjeluju u ovakvim događanjima. Promijenit ćete sebe na bolje i doprinijeti dobrobiti mladih, a siguran sam da ćete se složiti da je to plemenit cilj.

Objavljeno: 16. prosinca 2021
Written by Sven Toljan, Participant of the Emerging Leaders Conference 2021