“I STILL DO HAVE A VOICE”: EUVP Alumni share their experience at the European Youth Event
The European Union Visitors Programme (EUVP), which promotes the EU values and interests globally by people-to-people diplomacy, has the honour to regularly organise study visits to the EU Institutions for young political leaders and opinion formers coming from different social and cultural backgrounds. Our distinguished Alumni may have diverse personal and professional stories but they all have some things in common: the determination and the drive to make the world a better place and the inspiration they provide to others through their daily actions. They contribute to raising awareness internationally on issues of critical importance such as preserving democracy and rule of law or promoting social justice, gender equality and women empowerment. They constitute an excellent example of how the young generation can make positive social and political changes and to bringing about tangible improvements in the lives of fellow citizens.
Therefore the EUVP was thrilled to organise, on October 8 2021, the on-line panel discussion of eight young, brilliant, extraordinary EUVP Alumni titled "Meet EUVP young leaders from across the world!”. The discussion was part of the EYE week organized by the European Parliament from 4 to 9 October 2021, in the vibrant city of Strasbourg, France, coloured by the enthusiasm of the young generation, who gathered to interact and exchange experience with their counterparts from the EU, on and off-line. The event further represented the opportunity to gather the ideas of young people, as part of the consultation process for the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe.
EUVP at the European Youth Event
The event “Meet EUVP young leaders from across the world!” saw the participation of eight eminent young political leaders and opinion formers and proved that no matter the side of the world you come from, your gender or your age; certain challenges for social justice, security and equality remain the same for everybody.
The EUVP Alumni who participated in this lively discussion on youth were:
- Rina Constantine, International lawyer and international affairs consultant from Lebanon;
- Amy Kroll, Founder and Executive Director of the LBJ Women’s Campaign School at the University of Texas at Austin in the United States;
- Mariam Lashkhi, Member of Parliament and Deputy Chairperson of Foreign Relations Committee, Georgia;
- The Huy Luong, Director of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment in Vietnam;
- Leanid Marozau, International Secretary of Belarusian National Youth Council RADA;
- Tharma Pillai, Co-Founder and Advocacy Director at Undi18 (Malaysia);
- David Riveros García, Founder and Executive Director of reAcción, Paraguay;
- Kazuna Yamamoto, President and Founder of Voice Up Japan, Co-Founder and CEO of WAYVX, Business Specialist in Corporate venturing at Kaufmann Ventures who joined us from Chile.
Our panelists started by sharing with the EYE audience their insights on what drives them to bring positive changes to their respective societies. Their inspiring testimonials included references to patriotism and care for their communities and to their own personal struggles that they had to go through to make their voice heard. They mentioned their origins and how these impacted their way of thinking and acting. They gave direct testimonies on sometimes very difficult situation of youth in their countries. For some, the fact of being an activist has put them in a direct danger but they refuse to remain silent towards injustice, discrimination, oppression or inequality. They shared their views on most common challenges that young generations face nowadays and how these can be addressed.
An important part of the discussion was dedicated to the message that the Alumni panelists wanted to transmit to the EU youth. Realizing how fragile the democracy can be, and that one cannot take it for granted was one of the advice given. The importance of international partnerships and being able to count on one another was another one. There has been also a message of thanks to the EU for helping improve the lives of societies outside its borders.
The tagline of this year’s EYE event was the “The future is ours!” Our panelists - young promising leaders from across the world, have no doubt that they have a power to shape it. We sincerely congratulate them on their drive to make their communities fairer, more inclusive and simply better. The future of their countries is their hands and we have all confidence that they will make it brighter for the generations to come! Thank you for your relentless efforts!