World Youth Alliance (WYA) Europe hosted a successful Second Emerging Leaders Conference for the European Region. It took place in Brussels from 2 to 4 October 2013 and it addressed the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals currently being negotiated at the United Nations. The participants, young people coming from all corners of Europe (Spain, France, Croatia, Austria, Poland, Rumania and Germany) had the opportunity to contribute to the next Sustainable Development Agenda. Sharing ideas and collaborating together, they played a significant role as leaders and they raised key concepts for the task ahead.
The conference was inaugurated by Mr. Filip Kaczmarek, MEP from Poland, in the European Parliament, who focused on how to achieve fully sustainable development, proposing more transparent, democratic and effective institutions. After his inspiring introduction, Mr. Marius Wanders, from World Vision Brussels, and Ms. Dania Tondini, from AVSI, offered their vision on the priorities for the new framework of the Sustainable Development Agenda and encouraged all the participants to keep the good work to achieve the goals. Mr. Daniel Wisniewski, Regional Director from WYAE, outlined the empowerment of the person, their skills and talents as the better way to reach sustainable development. Respect was what Mr. Gay Mitchell, MEP, remarked when approaching the topic. "People must be respected in their difference, because we can do these things better together," said the Parliamentarian, in charge of closing the first day.
For the panel sessions, we enjoy a great variety of interventions from several speakers, bringing up very different topics, all related to sustainable development. Mr. Andreas Widmer, from the Catholic University of America, offered an economical perspective to the issue, while Mr. Ignacio Socias, from IFFD, challenged the young participants to enter the process, with a touch of humour. The innovative idea of considering a relational approach to achieve sustainable development was the main contribution from Johannes de Jong, from European Christian Political Foundation. "Best things in the world aren’t things", reminded the speaker. Mr. Francesco Vallebona, from Medin Europe, developed a useful workshop on fundraising for activities in Europe. On the score of next celebration of the International Year of the Family, Obadias Ndaba, President of the WYA, and Antonio Mellado, from Family Watch, set the family at the core of the development, explaining the role family plays in it.
From WYAE would like to transmit you our happiness for the success achieved with the ELC 2013, and we would like to congratulate the speakers for their meaningful words and all the participants for dedicating their precious time and liking. These beautiful memories and teachings should be our inspiration for meeting challenges, for our ordinary tasks, for our day to day. As one of our speakers remembered us, person is the solution, not the problem.