JEF: European Y.O.U.T.H. meets politics seminar
The last activity or this year’s Work Plan “Y.O.U.T.H. meets politics!” took place in Athens – another highly symbolic place for the refugee crisis, given that Greece is one of the major countries of entry to the EU for refugees.
During the Seminar, participants hailing from 19 countries were given the opportunity to learn from each other and exchange experiences about different ways in which the refugee crisis has been tackled by both CSOs and governments. Many among them were active in NGOs themselves or had direct experience of work in a refugee camp, making it possible for them to learn directly from each other in engaging group discussions.
As an integral part of the Seminar, we organized interventions by youth activists from the Austrian National Youth Council, the Advisory Council of Youth of the Council of Europe and the Macedonian NGO Legis who shared very interesting insights about their work with refugees. Furthermore, a representative of the Athens-based NGO Generation 2.0 visited us, bringing a different angle to the discussions about migration, since their advocacy concerned second generation migrants in Greece who had grown up in that country, but had been denied the right to receive Greek citizenship until recently.
In another key activity, participants were tasked to formulate political statements and policy recommendations. Doing so, they gained an invaluable understanding of the wealth of different viewpoints and opinions that surround issues of migration and refugees, complicating the forging of a general consensus. However, the exercise was a success and each of the groups, which had been working on separate issue areas related to migration and refugees, was able to present their outcomes at the beginning of the last day. These recommendations and statements have been collated into a general document that JEF Europe will use to represent the voices of young people to decision makers at the EU-level.
Throughout the Seminar, participants also had plenty of opportunity to get to know each other and form new friendships. This was further facilitated through a number of energizer and role play games, allowing the group to not only develop a better understanding of refugees’ situations in Europe, but also to generate a real sense of community and have to have fun.
Similar to the previous activities, this Seminar helped to establish and partnerships between the participants and enable a dialogue about best practices with Civil Society Representatives. The organisation of workshops on project management and fund raising, was also aimed at empowering participants to launch their own actions – either on their own or in collaboration with new-found friends they met at the Seminar. We certainly hope to see many of our participants getting active themselves in the refugee area or further improving already existing actions supporting refugees.