Wednesday, 5th of June is the starting day for this year’s season of international youth encounters as part of Generation Europe in the northern Finnish city of Oulu. Until the end of August, nine further European meetings in Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Lithuania will follow. Young people are committed to greater social participation, local improvements and a Europe based on solidarity.
“When it comes to youth engagement, there is still room for improvement in Oulu,” says Jaakko Huuki from the Finnish youth organisation Nuoret Kotkat. “Many people here have the impression of living in the periphery – Europe feels far away. With Generation Europe we become involved in our city, and together with our partners from Germany and the Czech Republic we make plans how we can make a difference in Europe”.
The topics dealt with by the young people from Dusseldorf (Germany), Brno (Czech Republic) and Oulu (Finland) during the two-week youth encounter are substantial: Exclusion of population groups, the consequences of urban renewal and gentrification, as well as accessibility. At the location, they meet local activists, but also politicians and municipal representatives. The host group created a local action plan for Oulu. They are supported by their fellow youths from Germany and the Czech Republic. Here, the activists from the other two countries gain valuable experience for the implementation of their similar plans in their respective cities.
“I am particularly happy for Generation Europe to also address young people who previously had nothing to do with politics,” says Elke Wegener, General Manager of the International Association for Education and Exchange (IBB e.V.). The Dortmund-based association developed the concept for this major European project. “Together, we can prove this: Many young people are ready to be part of an active European citizenship – if we remove entry barriers and create the necessary basic conditions”.
Generation Europe involves 30 youth organisations from 15 European countries. Three organisations each continuously work together over a period of three years. The young people deal with local problems, organise joint youth encounters and bring their activism to the European level. Only a few days following the kick-off in Oulu, the second international meeting commences in Herslev (Denmark). The last meeting for this summer will take place during the end of August in Sovata (Romania).
From the 27th of April to the 3rd of May, experts from 30 youth institutions from 15 European countries will meet in Weimar. Together they will develop new methods for international youth cooperation.
More democracy and participation, a positive understanding of diversity and equal rights for all, as well as working together towards concrete goals: The youth projects as part of “Generation Europe” should be organised just as we imagine our Europe of the future. This is the aim of the European network, as part of which the participating youth centres, associations, and federations organised the first ten international youth exchanges last autumn. Now, the next step follows: the youth groups not only organise further international meetings, but also develop local action plans in 30 European cities and municipalities to get involved in local civil society.
More than 200 young people from 15 countries were active in Belarus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic. On this page we inform you about what this looked like and what they did on site.
For months, 30 European youth institutions have been preparing for it, and now it’s getting practical: this weekend, the first international youth encounter within the framework of Generation Europe will begin in Valencia. Nine more encounters will follow this autumn: In Brno (Czech Republic), Minsk (Belarus), Florence (Italy), Sofiko (Greece) as well as in Munich, Groß Thurow, Oberhausen and Bochum (Germany).
Until October 16th, young people from the Steinfurt district (Germany), Telsiai (Lithuania), and the Valencia region (Spain) will meet in Valencia. The ambitious plan: they want to work together over a period of three years, identify local problems and draw up action plans which they implement with the support of their European partners. The purpose of the international meetings is to prepare themselves for this task, to learn from each other and to collectively find a European perspective on local challenges.
Motivating young people to get involved at the location and on the European level: To reach this goal, 30 youth work institutions from 15 European countries united to become the “Generation Europe” network. From the 20th to the 26th of September, the participating youth centres, associations, unions, and institutions will transform Europäische Jugendbegegnungsstätte Weimar (EJBW) into a laboratory for new approaches of European democracy education.
“Active European Citizenship” – utilising this perhaps somewhat unwieldy concept, the participating organisations describe their shared commitment. This means participation instead of resignation, hands-on-democracy instead of frustration about “the powers that be”. In all 30 participating cities, youths are to identify problems at the location and develop local action plans. These plans are then discussed at European youth encounters and realised by the youths with the help of their European partners.
Even a network can network – this is why Generation Europe – Young Democracy in Action presents itself at the NECE conference in Marseille. From the 6th to the 9th of September actors of civil society from more than 40 countries will meet in the French city in order to deliberate on the challenges for European Democracy Education in a rapidly changing world.
„Networking European Citizenship Education“, this is what the abbreviation NECE means. Together with international partners, the Federal Agency for Civic Education initiated the platform. The goal of the conference: Developing shared strategies on how to defend and support human rights, democracy and the rule of law through civic education.
Democracy in Europe has already been in better shape: in many countries, undemocratic and right-wing populist movements are gaining approval. Values such as freedom, democracy and respect for human rights are repeatedly called into question. But young people across the continent will not allow that to go unchallenged. From July 3rd to 8th, representatives of 30 youth organizations and facilities from 15 European countries meet in Bielefeld/Germany to launch a new international network: under the name of “Generation Europe”, they want to motivate young people to engage in political action, in order to strengthen civil society in Europe.
Generation Europe is an international network of youth work institutions for furthering an active European civil society. It motivates participants towards common political action and creates the necessary foundations. This collaboration is made possible, by a funding programme by the International Association for Education and Exchange e.V. of the same name.
30 youth work institutions from 15 European countries are taking part. The concept: In each case, youths from three countries continually collaborate over a duration of three years in order to get politically involved. We identify problems at the locations, meet in international encounters, and support one another in local projects in order to then take on these problems. We network on a digital liquid-democracy platform and discuss which problematics appear not just on the national level, but can be considered on the European level as well. For this, we are also seeking dialogue with representatives of political institutions on all levels.
By combining our actions at the location with activities on the European level, we develop and test new approaches of a shared European democracy education. In our network, young people are active together, irrespective of origin, parental income, and previous success in formal educational systems.