When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Gets Going

As a project manager intern at World Youth Alliance Europe, I was given this amazing opportunity to be a part of the organizing team for the 10th edition of Emerging Leaders Conference 2021 – Human Dignity Debate in European Parliament that took place in Brussels from November 15 – 17, 2021. To organize such an event, I had to step out of my comfort zone which transformed me into an enhanced critical thinker, problem solver and skilled communicator. 

I had different roles in the organization of ELC such as logistics planning, on-site management, communication with the participants, video and photography, registration, feeding and refreshments. The learning curve was steep and so was the stress level!

The first day of the ELC took place in Yooma Urban Lodge where all the participants were accommodated for the project. The conference hall was beautifully set up with tables and chairs and multiple white screens for the projectors. We were immensely thankful to the staff members of Yooma Urban Lodge who took their time and effort to set up the conference hall and provided technical help during the conference. 

First, I along with the staff members of WYA Europe welcomed 40 participants from 9 different European countries i.e. Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain with an info pack (containing information, methodology and itinerary).

After the welcoming session, our Regional Director Myriam Kaufmann gave a brief introduction on the project, methodology, and Youthpass certificate. After the introduction, I carried out icebreakers to help participants get to know each other. During lunch, participants enjoyed delicious food from the restaurant ASAP. The lunch was followed by another interesting session – a Parliamentary Simulation, where participants worked on drafting policies, shared their ideas, voted on their ideas and came up with a  democratically agreed upon conclusion. 

The second day of the event took place in the elegant Lodzkie House. As a part of the organizing team, I helped WYAE staff members to set up the venue with chairs, tables, coffee, tea and snacks. The first session was a panel discussion with Mr. Mislav Barišić (WYA Policy and Research Specialist for Europe), Mr. Emilio Dogliani (COMECE Policy Adviser for Culture, Education and Youth), and Ms. Margarita de la Pisa Carrión (Member of the European Parliament). In a follow-up session, the participants worked in small groups and discussed the European Parliament Youth Resolution. The resolution elaborated on the topic of the Future of Youth in the European Union. 

The last day of the Emerging Leaders Conference started with the visit to the Parlamentarium. After the educational tour of the Parlamentarium, I had a marvelous opportunity to meet Claudia Gamon and Dragos Pislaru, both members of the European Parliament working actively on youth resolution. The conference was wrapped up with the Certification and a delightful cocktail ceremony where everyone celebrated their success and achievements in this eventful three-day conference. 

Lastly, I want to emphasize that being a part of World Youth Alliance Europe and ELC was a highly illuminating experience and I would even go so far to claim that some people might feel as a different person afterwards, a person part of a big, heterogeneous community working for the same vision – Human Dignity.

Published: December 17, 2021
Written by Sasnyukta Suman, Project Management Intern at WYA Europe and participant of the Emerging Leaders Conference 2021