On 27 and 28 November 2017 the first event of the project “Message to Europeans 3.0” took place in Warsaw, Poland. Hosted by the Warsaw University of Technology, the two days session, co-organized by EUCA in collaboration with SSPPW, the WUT Student Union, was the opportunity for 63 participants from 15 European countries to meet for the first time and build up a good relationship to achieve the project’s goals.
In Warsaw met for the first time the “Student Leaders”, the students who have a prominent role in the development of the “Message to Europeans 3.0”: they will be motors of change and will carry out in first person citizens’ participation in the project and will follow up all the activities during the entire project.
The first day of the event was mainly devoted to trainings on leadership and communication skills with the purpose of exploring how young people can become civic leaders. The highlight of the day was the “Storytelling for leaders”, the afternoon workshop guided by STER, a Polish association of volunteering soft skills trainers.
The next day was the “Challenges Day”. Student Leaders, divided into teams, organised different formats of civic initiatives to reach out to people: two street referenda on the economic crisis and civic disengagement, interviews in the public transportation network on populisms, and a flash mob dance on the theme of migration. Another team set a social media campaign on the future of Europe.
The challenges’ objective was related to the project’s goals: to tackle youth disengagement in present day politics through a new methodology based on experiential learning activities that strengthen civic identity, critical thinking and communication skills.
“The Warsaw experience was much better than I expected. Living for a few days with young people as me, with so many differences but with the same energy and aspirations, was amazingly enriching. It has made me believe in the future of Europe. And surely it will have the same impact on the people who follow about us,” commented Luis, a Spanish Student Leader.
Supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Commission, the project will develop in the coming months other civic initiatives, offline and online, addressing the topics which are today in the spotlight in Europe. All the inputs gathered will contribute to the relaunch of the European integration via a renewed narrative.
As a student said during the event, “European citizenship is the ultimate antidote for the future of Europe – we are giving a voice to the unheard masses who feel disconnected with the technocrats in Brussels. It’s also a bridge between Eurosceptics and Europhiles, shaping a tolerant Europe which the new generation of Europeans aspire to live in.”
A special acknowledgement goes to the participants coming from all over Europe, ensuring a broad geographic coverage: twenty-one people were from Warsaw, Poland; two from Tartu, Estonia and three from Ljubljana, Slovenia; four Spaniards went to Warsaw, two from Madrid and two from Sevilla; The Netherlands was represented thanks to one participant was from Rotterdam and one from Leiden. Two people were from Belgium, from Louvain La Neuve and Ghent; two people were from Flensburg and one from Karlsruhe in Germany, one from Miercurea Ciuc in Romania and one from Lund in Sweden. The Italian participants were eleven: five from Pavia, two from Rome, two from Milan, one from Modena and one from Padova. Two people travelled from France, one from Rennes and one from Paris; two participants were from Budapest, Hungary, and two from Ireland, Cork and Dublin; one of the participants was from Tampere, Finland, and one was from St. Albany, UK.