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Friday, 07 November 2014 00:00

What is a university degree for?

 

Education to Employment
Photo courtesy of Young European Leadership
 
YEC delegates at the Education to Employment panel in Brussels last month

 

As part of E&M's coverage of Young European Council 2014, Petya Yankova attended the Education to Employment panel and gained an insight to future policy plans.

How to achieve the Europe 2020 benchmarks and even go beyond them was the ambitious topic of the Education to Employment panel at the Young European Council, which took place at the end of last month. With jobs, growth and investment being top priorities for the brand new Juncker College of Commissioners, the young delegates had the substantial task of solving real-life problems.

When even the average unpaid or at best underpaid internship offer seems to ask for bachelor students with five years' professional experience and fluency in six languages, many young people have little to hope for after graduation. Hordes of brilliant graduates are faced with the dilemma of either accepting a temporary low-paid position in hospitality or – well, not much else. At the same time, employers complain they have numerous positions open but no one qualified enough to take these. What does this drastic mismatch stem from and what can we as young people do about it? YEC participants in the Education to Employment panel agreed that this is a question of major importance and attempted to give it a clear and concrete answer during the four days of the Council.

Published in E&M Reports
YEC 2014
Photo courtesy of Young European Leadership
 
Getting to the heart of the matter: YEC delegates talk policy in Brussels

 

Move over MEPs, there's a new assembly in town! Last week, Giorgio Nicoletti and Petya Yankova attended the Young European Council 2014 on behalf of E&M. Here they provide a run-down of the main recommendations put forward by delegates.

Brussels calling

Imagine a group of brilliant future leaders, from almost every part of the European Union, gathering in Brussels to negotiate recommendations and ultimately influence EU institutions. This is what happened between 20 and 23 October, when the Young European Council, organised by the up-and-coming NGO Young European Leadership, took place, with astonishing results. Sustainable development in cities, education and employment, digital revolution and technologies were the topics for discussion at an event which attracted more than 100 young people.

Published in E&M Reports

I put off writing about the last day of the ETC Spring Tour because I didn't want to do it. I knew it was going to be nostalgic and mushy, and it was going to confirm what has already happened – the tour is over and so is our time together in the Driving Jail. Until reaching that point of sobbing though, I'm going to take the Eastern European dignified-and-unmovable position and write about the full, productive day we had on the way to and in sunny Zagreb.

While on the bus, we gathered as we had gotten used to in the previous days, to discuss our future projects. As you might remember, a large part of the group decided to work together on an artistic project after being inspired by what we saw and talked about during our travels. Also, we had reached a point of frustration because of the packed, fast schedule that didn't fully allow us to absorb what we were going through and give something back to our wonderful hosts in the eight cities we visited. Therefore, we wrote a manifesto with the massive help of Ivor and agreed to think about concrete steps towards our goal.

Day six of the ETC Spring Tour found us working very hard on the way to Bratislava, Slovakia. After a fiery Monday, the members of our group made a commitment to each other to think about ways to work together and create an artistic product that is relevant to the issues we've been confronted with on the tour. Therefore, we gathered in the front of the bus and, for several hours, we thought and wrote down ideas and issues up for debate.

Despite our continuous exhaustion and being aware of the vagueness of our plans, we realised we needed to clarify the concept of "crisis in theatre" that we've been hearing so much about and pinpoint its symptoms – this way, we'd know what we're trying to solve. Secondly, we wanted to think about what issues are important to us individually – whether it's the transition from school to work, the outdated themes theatre addresses or the unequal representation of gender and ethnicity on European stages. We knew we wouldn't find the answers to every question we had on the tour, but we thought that we should take advantage of the time we had left on the bus to talk about the future. The matter on everyone's mind was "how do we go on?"

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 18:29

We the citizens

I believe it was Socrates who said, "I am not an Athenian nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world." This idea never seemed as true as it does today, in a globalised world and even more so living in a Europe where the different nations, citizens and states seem to be more intertwined than anywhere else in the world.

So what does it mean to be a citizen in today's Europe? What kind of actions, attitudes, attributes can you find behind such dense concepts? These are the questions which 21 young Europeans from across the continent tried to answer at the week-long seminar "Promoting Citizenship", organised by the Berlin based NGO Citizens of Europe. Germans, Romanians, Lithuanians, Georgians, Armenians and Belarusians – you couldn't find a more diverse group if you tried – attempted to come up with a definition of citizenship that fits one and all. Needless to say this proved to be an almost impossible task.

And on the fourth day they staged a play on the bus and it was good.

The ETC group left Zurich early in the morning and had a long drive to the Tuscan town of Prato. Given that the members of the caravan already feel like family after travelling together for several days, the bus activities on Sunday became more dynamic. Therefore, after our Italian friend Gherardo – a theatre critic – gave us a few details about the play we were about to see that evening, The Belle Vue directed by Paolo Magelli, part of the group decided to have a dramatic reading of the English version of the text. The impromptu play brought everyone to life and channelled the team's focus, making us forget about the sleep deprivation and the long distances we covered. Later that evening, we saw the show at the Teatro Metastasio di Prato – as lovely as it was, we were better.

Another special moment during our journey to Prato was spoken-word poetess Deborah Stevenson's performance for the group (you already know Deborah from the interview E&M published on Day 2). Deborah performed two poems - one in which she brilliantly impersonated an American pastor - and showed us clips from her earlier artistic experiences in London. The mini-show made us fall in awe with the talented poet and ended in tears and applause. We strongly recommend you keep an eye on Deobrah and her passionate work.

Time flies when you’re on tour. Day 2 of the ETC Spring experience brought us to the coquette town of Liege in Belgium, discussing how young students can access the theatre industry and find work.

Nathanael Harcq, director of the ESACTA School of acting in Liege, talked about what his institution does to facilitate the transition from theatre school to work. According to him, the school is already part of the profession of acting, as the students are given the chance to stage their own productions and work. In this respect, the ESACTA functions like a workshop where rules are created collectively by the students and their teachers. The youngsters are thus encouraged to get to know themselves better and find out what conditions they need in order to flourish as professionals. They are even given electronic keys so that they can go in and out of the school at any time.

Taking this theme further, E&M spoke to one of the young artists on the ETC Spring Tour, namely spoken-word poet Deborah Stevenson. The 23 year-old wunderkind from East London is the founder and director of The Mouthy Poets in Nottingham, a group in which young people learn how to express themselves in verse. She worked with Chanel 4, The Roundhouse in London, The British Council and has been published by Louis Vuitton. Here’s a short interview with Deborah on our busy tour bus.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 08:28

Creating the European prototype citizens?

When you think about institutional Brussels, you picture suited up adults carrying a suitcase on their way to work. Cheerful kids are harder to imagine in the grey bureaucratic bubble that many have built in their minds, but evidently, the so-called eurocrats have children too, and nurseries and schools also have a place in the city's institutional life.

The European School, or Schola Europaea, stands out among all the educational options provided to EU officials and workers because of its initiative to promote European citizenship and common values among the students. Created in Luxembourg in 1953, the project tried to bring together kids from different mother tongues and nationalities, an educational experiment supported by the Coal and Steel Community of the time. Today, there are 12 schools spread across Europe, all financed by member states, and all with the following words sealed in the foundation stones of each building:

"Educated side by side, untroubled from infancy by divisive prejudices, acquainted with all that is great and good in the different cultures, it will be borne in upon them as they mature that they belong together. Without ceasing to look to their own lands with love and pride, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe."

Matilda Sevón, a 31-year-old Finn living in Brussels, arrived at the school when she was 15, after her father got a job in the Parliament. Today, looking back at the  statement, she doesn't feel it quite fits her situation. "I think of other Europeans as much closer to me than I did before going to the European School, but in some ways I have also become more fond of my own country," she says.

Published in Brussels Bubble
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