World Youth Alliance Europe has just concluded its 7th Emerging Leaders Conference. The conference took place in Brussels from the 23rd to 28th of November 2018 and brought together more than 50 young people from all over Europe to discuss and work on the theme “Human Dignity and Bioethics”. The conference aimed to bring together European youth to debate the importance of Human Dignity and how it relates to the questions arising in the field of bioethics today.
On the first day, participants were welcomed at the Regional Office of the Polish Lodzkie Region in the heart of the European Quarter in Brussels to learn about the methodology of the project and get to know each other.
On Sunday and Monday, we focused on tackling two of the most prominent human rights topics being discussed in Europe today: Euthanasia and Surrogacy. The participants shared their own knowledge and experiences with these issues and addressed the cultural differences that are usually discussed in connection with them.
On Sunday afternoon, our Croatian participants facilitated a media training workshop with a role-play element, working in groups and having participants act out the roles of a reporter and interviewee one by one. Later that same day, all participants learned about the history of human rights in Europe in the House of European History Museum.
On Monday, WYA Europe Advocacy Fellow Francesco Carboni facilitated the group work and a European Parliament Voting Simulation, splitting the participants into groups with one country representative in each one of them. The groups worked together in discussing and writing amendments on a proposed directive. The workshop culminated in a plenary vote on each amendment and the directive was approved. This was rightfully celebrated that night with a cocktail party at the Lodzkie House, where the Ambassador of Honduras, Roberto Ochoa Madrid spoke to the participants and congratulated them on coming together for this event: “I’m happy that tomorrow morning I will wake up knowing that there are young people like you out there fighting to make a difference- defending Human Dignity.”
On Tuesday, we were hosted by German MEP Arne Gericke for two panel discussions and open debates at the European Parliament, giving the participants the opportunity to debate the important issues they were tackling over the last few days.
Finally, the project ended on Wednesday after all the participants took part in a project lab to reflect on what they had learned during the project and how they were going to use these insights in their home countries. In an official ceremony all participants were handed their Youthpass certificates and left Brussels full of enthusiasm and new ideas for the future.