November 26, 2017 – There was a vibrant ambiance in the room as it began to fill with youthful positivism, promise and a yearning to move forward together. Organized by the World Youth Alliance Europe (WYAE), we began Day 1 of the Emerging Leaders Conference (ELC) with registrations and introduction.
The spectrum of backgrounds possessed by everyone is vast but came together under one roof, stories were shared, friendships were built and future vision already discussed. Collectively, we are here for the panels on Migration and Development: Human Dignity in the Refugee Crisis. The multi-disciplinary backgrounds of the participants show the scale of the issues we are facing as a species. The group made its way to the European Parliament’s visitors center, the Parlamentarium. The participants divulged in the stories of the past and its modern creations and continued to discuss and learn from one another.
WYA Europe had the absolute honor of holding the welcoming Cocktail and certification ceremony in the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium; hosted by the Ambassador of said office, Dr. Harry Tseng. The ceremony was opened by the Regional Director of WAY Europe, Hrvoje Vargic, who introduced the following speakers and thanked the participants and Taipei Representative Office. Lord Leomer Pomperada, President of WYA, traveled from the global office in New York to greet the participants. Lord introduced the subject and the critical importance of the current refugee state to be recognized within migration policy, continuing on to reinforce the necessity that the youth of today (the leaders of tomorrow) be here at this crucial time to understand, evaluate and begin to find solutions in solidarity. This new or strengthened knowledge can then be taken back with participants to their respective countries, schools, and communities. The conference is not just a one among others, it’s the beginning, a stepping stone to being a defender of human dignity. Lord finished by asking the audience to keep their vision of the future and to strive for it, to be a part of the future we see.
Dr. Harry Tseng was welcomed to the stand and showed his gratitude to be included in the proceedings. He acknowledged the importance of bringing young minds together at such a vital time. The collaboration of his office and WYA was clearly without hesitation. Dr. Harry promoted the successful Global Youth Trends Forum of October 2017 in his home country (Taiwan), where, like the ELC, the participants came from a wealth of countries and cultures. This likened WYA to the aforementioned forum in its values and aspirations for “respect for human rights and the dignity of the person.” This stressed the need to unite young minds together where they can hold mutual values over a single platform for the sake of progress. His message was clear, unity is key to facilitate ambitions and goals. I could hear the voice of experience and knowledge as one of truth and prosperity. The ambassador concluded with sincere visions for the participants to continue their paths. A successful opening day with truly inspirational speeches consummating with participation certification for the interns, participants and volunteers alike. The room is excited about this year’s ELC.
Written by James Rutland, a WYA Europe ELC volunteer from the United Kingdom.