#35 Fourth meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network

Yes, we can!

From Youth Ambassador of the County Council of Jamtland, Sweden, to the presidency of the Youth Regional Network (YRN), at the Assembly of European Regions (AER), it was a logical step for Olov Oskarsson. This 22 year old Religious Studies student believes that the network “can reach further” and says he’s ready to go from words to action. As the new president of the YRN, he’ll have a year to prove it. 

Orange: Why did you want to be president of the YRN?
Oskarsson: I’ve been actively engaged in AER for two years and I find it to be unique. I believe that we in this network can make a change for young people today. The president has to inspire its members, but also listen to them and I’m ready to do both. Basically, my engagement makes me the right person for the job.

Orange: It’s a relatively young organization. There’s a lot to be done. What are your mandate’s priorities? 
Oskarsson: The key word is communication. We need to improve communication within the YRN, especially in between meetings. It’s important to know what each other is doing when we’re not together. On the other hand, we need to improve our extern communication. Politicians and other youth organisations need to know that we exist so we can be where the action is and get the right people’s attention to our causes.

Orange: What will be your biggest challenge? 
Oskarsson: The aim is set high but the goals are reachable. One challenge is that being a member of the YRN is not a fulltime occupation. We work and/or study so people have to juggle a lot of things in order to be active in the network. Overall, I think people are motivated and that we can do it.

Orange: Do you think one year is enough to get things done?
Oskarsson: My goal is to create the basic structure that this organisation needs. We will make it our priority and I think one year will be enough. We’ll start with very small doable projects and take it from there.

Orange: This is a very difficult time for youth all across Europe. What do you think can be the organizations contribute to make it better?
Oskarsson: There are a lot of problems affecting youth today, but I’m especially concerned with youth employment and mental health. As a youth organisation we must react. We can’t just accept the situation so we’ll work primarily on those urgent matters.

Orange: The AER Youth Network is in a defining moment. How do you expect it will be a year from now?
Oskarsson: I hope that in a year’s time we’ll be in constant contact with politicians so that we can, not only have their opinion, but also so that they can have our perspective in subjects concerning youth.  It will be a more influential and strong organisation. We’ll be involved in our own projects, but also in other organisation’s programmes across Europe. More than anything, I expect that young Europeans know that we exist and that if they want to be active and effective that they can join us.

By: Ana Brasil

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