2022: The European Year Of Youth

Year Of Hope

What exactly is the European Youth Year? A year dedicated to all young Europeans to create a better future with so many possibilities to learn, share your vision, travel, meet people, and participate in activities all throughout Europe and go forward from a post-pandemic perspective with confidence and hope.

 

Why is there a European Year of Youth? On 15 September 2021, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced in her State of the Union address that 2022 would be declared the European Year of Youth. The reason is that during the COVID-19 pandemic, young people in Europe sacrificed a lot for the sake of others. As a result, they should now be the focus of attention, with promising prospects for the future.

 

Objectives Of The European Year Of Youth:

To Consider young people's perspectives and ideas when making decisions. Also, a coronavirus recovery plan opens up new opportunities for young people in Europe of the future, such as high- quality jobs and education and training. And assists young citizens in developing a better understanding of the opportunities available to them at the EU, national, regional, and local levels.

 

Young people in Europe:

One out of every six Europeans is between the ages of 15 and 29 and one in every three young people reported spending two or more weeks abroad for work, training, or education. Also, the European Union and democracy are viewed positively by three-quarters of young people. But the COVID-19 crisis has changed everything. There was a significant impact on young people, who have lost jobs and experienced deterioration in their mental and emotional health, and Unemployment among young people has risen as well.

 

Opportunities For Young People:

Throughout the year, the Commission will coordinate a number of initiatives. This will be accomplished in close cooperation with the European Parliament, member states, regional and local governments, youth organizations, and young people themselves. In addition to the EU's successful youth programs, such as Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, which have impacted the lives of millions of young people and support with budgets of €28 billion and €1 billion, respectively, for the current fiscal period. Also, new programs and initiatives are being

designated to continue to provide opportunities not only in the EU but also in partner countries. In the coming months, a new program called ALMA will be launched to support cross-border professional mobility for disadvantaged young people.

Conclusion:

After almost two years of a pandemic that has hit young people particularly hard, it is now a key moment for all European youth to be involved and participate in creating a better, greener, more digital, and inclusive future in Europe. So Dear young Europeans this is a year of hope and you are the ones who can shape the future of Europe so be bold, be ambitious, and think out of the box.

Syed Hussain Abdul Hakeem

ESTRECOMP

Challenges

Project no. 2020-1-ES01-KA204-081988

The project Estrecomp - Introducing entrepreneurial competences - Entrecomp for adults living in rural areas, is progressing successfully.

The consortium of this project aims to foster rural activity as well as entrepreneurial skills and to be able to provide adult educators with the necessary tools and transfer them to the target group of the project, women, migrants and people with low qualifications.

While it is true that we can notice a certain increase of entrepreneurial activities in rural areas reinventing life in the countryside, because after suffering a pandemic, the future may not only be in smart cities. However, are they provided with the necessary tools? what facilities are available to those who wish to start up a business in rural areas, and what if those interested in undertaking this entrepreneurial adventure were women?

In order to achieve our research, the consortium have carried out local interviews to women living in rural areas in five cities that belongs to the consortium. The members of the consortium are: AIFED (Granada, Spain); Austrian Association of Inclusive Society (Austria); Systeme in Bewegung e. V (Winsen, Germany); Progetto Marconi (Torino, Italy) and European Alpe Adria Pannonia Cluster (Novi Sad, Serbia).

After data collection, it has been possible to clarify difficulties, needs, necessary support, as well as the experiences of these women and the benefits they have obtained once their projects have been launched.

In terms of difficulties, the most frequently mentioned is the economic and bureaucratic obstacle. Secondly, the lack of education received and the lack of access to information. In addition, most of the women interviewed mentioned the added difficulties of being a woman and an entrepreneur in a man's world.

Among the needs expressed, the lack of financing is the main obstacle for these women, followed by the lack of support from other professionals in the sector. We also mentioned the lack of social support in some cases, as these women carry out jobs that have always been considered to be men's work. However, other women interviewed tell us how they have served as an example for other women in their communities, which has helped them to continue with their projects.

As the main benefits of entrepreneurship, they highlight first of all the possibility of contributing something new and positive to the community and the benefits of living in a rural area. Finally, the women emphasise the feeling of freedom after having developed their businesses.

From AIFED, we consider socio-cultural values as key elements to overcome any disparity and we expose the benefits that society obtains from the contributions of any individual to a sustainable development of the rural environment.

THE POWER OF STORIES

The power of Storytelling

The project « The power of stories » (2020-1-ES01-KA227-ADU-095529) coordinated by AIFED (Spain) and implemented with the following partners AUGUST VERMEYLEFONDS (Belgium), CONTEMPORARY PLEVEN MEDIA FOUNDATION (Bulgaria) and EYROPAIKO INSTITOYTO TOPIKHS ANAPTYKSHS (Greece) aims to use the power of stories to ignite creativity and develop resilience skills and capacity to come up with innovative solutions for different challenges with adults.

Storytelling is an ancient art form and a valuable form of human expression. It uses words, gestures and physical movement, is an interactive way of communication, presents a story and encourages the active imagination of the listeners.

Telling stories never gets old, our minds need narration and stories nurture our brains with ideas, values and beliefs. It can largely influence how we think, how we make decisions and how we can persuade others with our ideas.

Actually, stories are the most effective way of organizing information and spreading ideas, it's a powerful way of communication and is a methodology that needs to be taught to the youth since it can really impact people and allow them to develop new communication and persuasion skills.

Stories have purposes, they need to be relevant to the experiences, values and interests of the targeted audience. They have to be clear and interesting to catch the listener's ears.

When you tell a story to your audience, the whole brain is mobilized. Not only the language or mathematical areas, but also the emotional and memory centres (limbic system); but also, the areas associated with sensory and motor perceptions, therefore your audience's brain activates the same areas as if they were experiencing the events narrated! The use of storytelling is the best way to make people have in mind what you mean and want to talk about and as a consequence convince your audience and make them relate to you.

AIFED truly supports this communication tool and believes in the power of stories and storytelling that is why the team is always working on innovative methodologies and aims at promoting the use of storytelling in the education field. This project promotes storytelling and the importance of stories.

Stories matter since they are universal, that is why AIFED aims at promoting storytelling practices, they help us to understand our place in the world, to comprehend other people's perspectives, they tell us how to act wisely and shape our perspective of the world. Listening to each other also builds empathy, forges trust, and creates deeper connections. It is also a highly effective way to unite emotions with meaning and intention.

Emma Revillet

MY DEMOCRATIC EUROPE

Granada, an European city in the heart of Spanish culture…

I am doing my internship at AIFED, Granada, after finishing my law studies at the University of Lille, France. I collaborate in several projects that the association carries out, and among them MY DEMOCRATIC EUROPA, within the Europe for Citizens program of the European Commission. The project is coordinated by RECHT IN EUROPE, a highly specialized entity from Jena, Germany, and Greece and Bulgaria also participate in it.

We reflected on the footprint of the EU in our cities, but ... what have I reflected on this living these months in GRANADA?

Spanish identification with European values and symbols is not that ancient and it can seem a bit challenging for this country to fully take part of the European Union involving its ideas, values, symbols or culture, since Spain is still considered as a “new democracy”.

Indeed, the Spanish integration in Europe is a process that began with the Association Agreement of 1970. A process through which Spain had to democratize itself, in order to enter, as it had been requested, some years before. The creation of “European links” between Europe Union, previously called EEC (European Economic community) and Spain  is only dating back from 50 years ago! Yet, It was only at the death of the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco in 1975 that the country had been able to initiate a democratic transition, which allowed it to apply for membership in 1977. The transition from dictatorship to democracy to European democracy was not easy. Spanish and European citizens' distrust of Europe has increased in recent years, it was mainly due to national governments actions, which have spent more time using Europe as a scapegoat for their own policies than highlighting the gains made thanks to it and to the fear of other countries to let another country, less advanced socially and economically than them, come in Europe.

After a lot of hurdles they manage to integrate and implement their cohesion with other member countries.

Yet it remains pertinent to ask ourselves about the place of Spanish cities in Europe, and especially focus on Granada which is the capital of the province of the same name, located in the southeast of Spain between the shores of the Mediterranean and the Andalusian hinterland. Granada is one of the most important cultural and architectural heritages in Spain. Indeed, both the historic Moorish neighbourhood of Albaicín and Alhambra have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Granada also has a Renaissance cathedral dating from the 16th century and the main influences of the city are the perfect mix of both Arabic/Muslim and Spanish/Christian architectures.

Granada is a major European city, due to its localisation, near the African continent and to its culture and architecture, which makes this city really unique and beautiful.

Walking in the streets of Granada is both feeling the catholic royalty history beneath our feets and the new history of Spain, implemented at its entrance in the European Union. The funny part about this mix of both current history and renaissance one is that near the Granada Cathedral considered to be the very first church built in the Renaissance style in Spain under the reign of the Catholic Kings, we can see a city hall, with Spanish and Europeans flag at the front of the building, embodying democracy and fraternity beliefs. Granada is the perfect mix of european values such as democracy, unity, fundamental rights, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men and interesting past mixing Christian and Muslim history.

Granada has an eavy history past, the city was founded by the Romans under the name of “Illibris” and It was the Moors, who invaded the city in the 18th century B.C. and settled there for seven centuries, who named it "Granada". It is Ferdinand and Isabella, the revered "Catholic Monarchs" of Spain, conquered the kingdom of Granada in 1492, which marked the culmination of the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula.

This city remains the perfect example of the importance of keeping up with the past while evolving in politics, traditions and values. That is why Granada is an ideal city to learn about the past and the future of Spain, about royalty and democracy. Granada also gathers all the characteristics vital to any major european city such as, architecture of various styles and ages with a mix of both skyscrapers, old mansions and old buildings (… ), a large number of foreign tourists, the presence of a city coat of arms; little and narrow streets, presence of green spaces and a very large number of architectural monuments such as churches and sculpture.

As French girl doing an internship here, I have really enjoyed every part of Granada, each neighbourhood has its own surprises, identity and really pretty places and that’s what I really enjoy about this town. There is always something to do or see in Granada.

In conclusion, we can say that Granada is a typical Spanish and European city that both promotes Spanish culture and embodies European values.

 

Emma Revillet

PLAY AS CONFLICT RESOLUTION

AIFED is a partner of the Europarents2020 project, coordinated by Systeme in Bewegung e.V. (Germany). It has a total of 5 partners, including AIFED. This project exposes the special nature of family conflicts in Europe and that is why it has used an unconventional methodology, the game as a solution to these conflicts. The project previously conducted a survey of 80 families in the 5 participating countries: Germany, Greece, Austria, Bulgaria and Spain.

This project is authentic and has helped the countries to come into direct contact with the approaches of other countries and to be able to reflect on them in a playful way. Moreover, the families have had the feeling that other people in Europe are similar to them, a feeling of European community, and to be able to find new solutions to family conflicts.

We would like to highlight how the project has used the game to create a common space for reflection and to solve family conflicts. It is true that games have always been in the spotlight because they have had an important repercussion throughout human evolution. ``Ethologists have identified it as a possible fixed pattern of behaviour, which has been consolidated throughout the evolution of the species'' (Animación y Servicios Educativos A.C., 2009). And referring to Vygotsky, ``play becomes a tool of the mind that enables children to regulate their behaviour'' (Vygotsky, 1966-1977).

The project has equipped the game with meaning and has been the main instrument to improve the skills of the participants, to improve communication between them and to be able to establish common problems. The project game is a card game, in which there are multiple questions and the aim is exchange and togetherness. Some examples of these questions are: "What do you think the person on your right would like to spend money on? How do you think the work-life balance works in your family?", "What do you like about your education?".

A relaxed atmosphere is created and, most fundamentally, as these are sensitive topics, the subjects participate actively, as games are the opposite of work and are free of obligations. Although it may seem obvious to us, social skills are internalised and learned through social interaction, so let's all play!