Arranging a conference like the Wiesbaden AER Meeting of Regional Youth can be both rewarding and frustrating.
A high level of motivation and initiative is needed, firstly from participants, but also especially from organisers like Malgorzata Kucinska, ER Youth Officer and Head Organiser of the First AER Meeting of Regional Youth (25) who dedicate their time and efforts to make things happen in the Hessian Parliament.
Orange Magazine asked this Polish power programmer about the why’s and what’s of the AER Meeting.
It’s important because this is an opportunity to integrate European youth. It’s a chance to include those who might feel excluded from the European community, to invite those who may feel that the decisions made at the highest level are without their reach. So it’s about integrating and including people. And I think this really is important. Also, it’s of course a great way of getting to know people from all over Europe, to make valuable contacts for the future. Our goal is after all to establish a network.
And what is the purpose of this network? What do you hope to gain from this?
The main idea is to both improve existing projects at the regional level through learning from each other. A lot of the participants are already engaged in projects and organizations at the regional level, and now it’s time for them to look towards other regional activities elsewhere in Europe. You know, maybe the Balkan regions can learn a lot from the Swedish regions, and vice versa. If people work together and spare with others like themselves, they become stronger. We are incredible lucky to live in a generation that knows no conflicts, wars, or regimes, so we should take advantage of this opportunity to travel and meet people. We are the generation of the Erasmus programmes, and now it’s our chance to fully grasp what this means.
And how can young people that are not necessarily involved in these networks benefit from all this?
Like I said, a lot of our participants are have already taken the first steps through getting involved at the regional and local level. They are close to the citizens and the mentality of their environments. So when they come here and exchange ideas and experiences, it’s also a way for them to see how their local work can be improved. Drawing from the experiences of their new friends of the network, they can in this way improve and facilitate the local and regional work. This in turn, hopefully will make it easier and more attractive for those not involved to understand that they can actually have a say. It’s all about how we can attach the “ordinary” citizens to the activities through their schools, student organizations, projects etc. In this way, they can get more directly involved. With a network like this, hopefully delegates will thrive from mirroring themselves in likeminded youngsters, and then eventually return to inspire their peers and local environment. Like one of our participants wrote in the preliminary questionnaire we send them, we have so much to share, and no time to loose. To me, that is what this is essentially all about.
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By: David Michael Barnwell