From 15 until 19 September, 23 participants from 13 different countries represented the AER – Youth Regional Network (YRN) at the 20th University on Youth and Development (UYD) of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe in Mollina, Málaga (Spain). The UYD network provides a unique space for youth empowerment, offers non-formal education capacity building activities and endorses policies, mechanisms and tools for youth development, in order to increase the recognition of youth as agents for positive change. In this context, AER – YRN celebrated its Autumn Committee Plenaries themed around the UYD’s 2019 annual focus “Youth & Justice”.
AER-YRN Opening the 20th University on Youth and Development
On Monday 16 September, the 20th UYD officially kicked off with the Opening Ceremony where a wide range of experts and partners emphasised the importance of young generations in the implementation of the UN SDGs. Ambassador Manuel Montobbio, Chair of the Executive Committee of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, officially opened the 20th edition of the UYD, followed by Ruth Carrasco, Director General of the Spanish Institute for Youth and Marcos Andrade, Founder of the UYD, who encouraged all the participants to be ‘ambitious as individuals, ambitious as a group’.
Together with Carina Autengruber, President of the European Youth Forum and Sana Afouzaiz, Founding Director of Womenpreneur, Gloria Vitaly, President of AER’s Youth Regional Network, was invited to participate in the opening discussion entitled “the relevance of interregional youth cooperation to ensure that no-one is left behind”, moderated by Bruno Antònio, Coordinator of DYPALL. With young people’s involvement in the decision-making process being a priority for AER-YRN, Gloria Vitaly stated:
“We’re being heard but we’re not listened to, at YRN we want to change that. We want to integrate young people from different local and regional backgrounds and bring about change for good.“
Joint thematic activities to raise awareness on Youth & Justice
The Joint Pedagogical Team organised a set of activities to the beat of the music played by the UYD band “Ubanda” which introduced rules around rights, space and consent and made the participants reflect upon the linkages between justice, power and youth.
Just to name a few of those activities, the “Power & Justice Theatre” was staged on Monday 16 September which made the participants reflect on the power relations within society, using the Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. On Wednesday 18 in the morning, a role play of a trial – the “UYD Court” – increased understanding of the prevalence of civil justice issues in everyday day life based on real cases heard by the European Court, which was followed by an expert conversation with Cristina Gallach, High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda of Spain.
In the afternoon of Tuesday September 17th, another joint thematic activity brought together the partners and the participants for the ‘Organisations’ Fair’ to exchange best practices. AER had the chance to introduce its political priorities and organisational principles as well as sharing some good practices, projects and the flagship programmes, including Eurodyssey.
After all the good practices were exchanged, the sharing continued, this time with delicious local food in the form of tapas!
The last joint activity was the Final Plenary on Saturday 21 Sept, this session involved all the partners presenting their outcomes from the week of learning. AER-YRN also shared its results in the form of a video. Find out more about the outcomes of the AER-YRN activities in this article.
What’s ahead for AER regions?
Interregional cooperation in the youth field is a core element of AER’s work and a strategic goal within the cycle 2018-2020 of the NSC Universities. Member regions are encouraged to promote the involvement of youth representatives and cooperate with other youth-led organisations in order to increase capacity building and boost their engagement in networking activities, such as the UYD.
AER-YRN is very proud to have taken part in the 20th UYD and extends its appreciation to all the organisers, partners and participants of the UYD for making this event possible. We look forward to cooperating with you again in the future!
All the take-aways and materials of the AER-YRN activities are already available on the event page.
Photo credits: Luca Scognamillo / North-South Centre of the Council of Europe on Flickr