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Youth journey to politics

Updated: Jan 1, 2022


When: 27 OF SEPTEMBER TILL 6 OF OCTOBER, 2021, (including travelling days)

Where: Strasbourg, France

Hosting place: We will stay all week in a house in Diemeringen, Rooms 3/5 p, Working Rooms, Tennis Court, Cinéma, Indoor Swimming Pool

The main objectives of this project are to:

1) To explore basic principles of politics, its' role in today's society and relation with youth work;

2) To link active participation with various human rights violation issues based on the European Charter of Fundamental Rights;

3) To study the development of policies and tools that are applied to youth politics;

4) To practice communication skills required for political participation, political lobbying and governance;

5) To develop youth policy amendment drafts that organizations can propose in their youth, community or city councils.

ACPELIA took part to the training with 3 youthworkers (Effrosyni Nikolaou, Andrea Petrou, Nayia Koui) and in the following lines we have their experience in this project.

Report from participants:

Nayia Koui

- How it all started?

Being in a circle with 28 new people we just met, without knowing their names, without having complete idea about the project and politics. Beyond our own estimates and thoughts, being in a new city, and for some in a new country for the first time... That's how the "Youth journey to politics" began.

- Getting to know each other.

Every day the sessions were starting with a nice walk. The “assignment” was to pick a person with whom we were communicating the least during the previous day and have a small chat. Through this process we had the chance to get to know each other better.

- All the sessions had something different to teach us.

We had workshops about citizenship and participation, where we discussed our priorities in terms of specific policies and, since we had different opinions, backgrounds and cultures, we eventually discovered the benefits of enriched pluralism.

We organized a workshop about social conflicts and it was then that I realized that, by verbalizing how we undo a conflict and writing it down, helped us understand how important it is to analyze a conflict in order to address it.

We talked about political competences and what they consist of: Knowledge, Attitude, Skills, Values. We circumstantiated our knowledge with an assignment discussing what makes a young person politically competent.

And that’s a small part of the whole experience. I could write for hours about the extremely interesting sessions we had the chance to attend and all the knowledge I gained through them.

- Manifesto / Evaluation

Each day was closing with our Manifesto and evaluation. Manifesto was a teamwork. We chose a social problem we considered important in our days and we analyzed the causes and thought about ways of dealing with it. Evaluation was also a team discussion, about the highlights of each day, what we liked and what we didn’t like, and also what we could do better. It was an interesting self-assessment process.

- The End

And as all good things come to an end, 10 days had passed without even noticing. Wondering how fast the time had passed, hugging each other, exchanging our best wishes, filled with new knowledge and emotions. That was the end of our “Journey to politics”.

Effrosyni Nikolaou

So, on our first day a cloudy, cozy day we had the chance to meet each other and exchange ideas. On the following days we started it all differently, but the first thing we did together was as usual - breakfast. I was loyal to my tradition of nit being late and arriving with a cup of coffee after our lovely meet for breakfast!

We went for our usual morning walk and talked about certain problems in our countries/governments. 20 minutes isn’t enough to list all the problems my country has, and I think that the most of you can relate to me in that.

Energiser time! Are we in the mood? No! Are we going to do it anyways? Yes! Katka was struggling beceause she didn’t know what sound does a chicken make. As our birthday boy said: “It’s because she really is a true vegetarian.”

Dignity land (or Dignityland?!) was a lot. It was hard to acheive consensus in the smaller groups, and to acheive the consensus amongst the all of us? Impossible. Hats down to Giovanna’s patience today. There was a lot of X’s on the paper proposing policies, and the solution seemed obvious, but it turns out it was not. I guess that’s politics, right, huh?

Utopias - how to acheive them? While some of countries drew windmills on clouds and spaceships, some of us dream of basic human rights in our countries. Ain’t that funny? It’s not, but let’s move on.

What resources we have, what do we still need? What can you personally do, starting today?

We have the best group of people ever and we still need someone to go make us some popcorn for the movie night! Starting today, we can stop drinking my San Pellegrino lemonades from the “private fridge”.

What we generally did during the project was:

After the daily walk between colleagues, the activities begin with the workshop of one of the most interesting activities i had in many projects . Interesting workshops on the evolution of politics and some historical pathways of EU!

At the end of the activities, our parliamentarians sharpen the swords to fight for the outcome of the work that has cost them sweat and effort throughout the whole week. They debated, fought with blood and passion until each group reached the desired goal: the approval of their policies.

Also they gave us time for introspection and inspiration. We saw concretely how simple it is to act, how simple gestures can make waves, create movement and change. Here we decided to make a commitment with the group, a task to be completed when we will be back home so that we will not leave what we have said and what we have learned only on paper. We signed the pact to be, in our own small part and way, the change.

The project continued in a softer way, reviewing the days that had passed, the activities carried out, the emotions that had arisen and what personal goals we had achieved.

And like every goodbye, the hall was filled with emotions, mixed emotions of joy and sadness, messages of sweetness and love, tears, hugs and many promises.

Every experience leaves a mark and this experience has left an indelible mark on all of us, the mark of happiness.

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