Training Seminar on Policy & Ethics, Brussels

Training Seminar on Policy & Ethics

Brussels, May 8th – 11th 2008


From May 8th till 11th WYA Europe hosted a group of youth from eight European countries, with a majority coming from the EU presiding state – Slovenia. A four-day training seminar focused on the recently debated EU policy & ethics questions, relevant to many concerns about the respect for human dignity. Participants, active advocates for human dignity at grassroots levels, enjoyed a session of workshops and lectures as well as a fieldtrip round the Belgian capital and a picnic in the flowery Cinquantenaire Park.


The kick off took place in the European Parliament with a panel discussion titled: “Youth perspectives on EU identity and demographic future of Europe”. Our guests: Alojz Peterle, (MEP), Miroslav Mikolasik, (MEP) and a journalist, Marguerite Peeters familiarized the audience with challenges they experience in the policymaking and encouraged youth to take the lead in building a family-friendly society and create a culture that respects dignity of each person. 


In the evening we watched the film “Trade”, which let us reflect upon another important issue present on the agenda of EU debates, namely the tragedy of human trafficking. The movie brought us to a discussion on the question of the treatment of human body and a threat of its commercialization and objectification.


On the 9th of May participants celebrated the Europe Day together with EP assistants and EU experts at a picnic in Cinquantenaire Park appreciating the beauty of nature as well as the sunny weather.

It was a good opportunity to wish each other “Happy Europe Day” and share with others Robert Schuman words, printed for this occasion on a symbolic card: "Europe has provided for mankind with a way to reach its full potential growth. It is up to Europe to demonstrate this new way, which allows diverse civilizations to flourish, while showing mutual respect for each other."


With this optimistic message we moved to the study of some key questions and concepts in bioethics (like: What does ART, assisted reproductive technologies, mean? Can the use of ART impact our culture and does it relate to other bioethical concerns?) and further – from the experienced professionals we have had a chance to learn how the decision making process in the European Institutions works and what is the youth role in it.


On Saturday participants worked with the language of the EU documents directly. We studied the latest EP Report on the demographic future of Europe and tried to observe how the understanding of the dignity of the person can influence the EU policy work as well as any legal document drafts. In the afternoon participants had a chance to prepare their own “Youth proposals” for the ICPD+5 (International Conference on Population and Development) and had a look at the UN documents from the early 1999. 


The final workshop on Sunday was to encourage youth leaders to "take Europe home". Many of them gathered new ideas and drafted project proposals which will help them continue their involvement in home countries.


Click here to see more pictures from the event.


Download the press release in English or in French.