|The plenary session|
The conference discussed trends and challenges in the youth field in Europe and their possible implications for European youth policy, youth work and research.
The aims of the conference are:
- to deepen the knowledge of the current and expected future situation and needs of young people in Europe;
- to discuss what role may and should youth policy, research and youth work play, on different levels, in the current context of crisis and beyond, to enhance the perspectives for young people in Europe, in particular those on the margins of societies/communities
155 participants from research, practice, policy from all over Europe and beyond, in particular from the regions of South-East Europe, Eastern Europe and South Caucasus, and South Mediterranean region took a part in the event: youth experts and young people, but a certain number will come from beyond/outside of the youth field: employment, education, health etc.
The 1st day was dedicated to the plenary sessions facilitated by Marta Medlinska, EU-CoE Youth Partnership and Howard Williamson, University of South Wales.
|Participants of the conference|
The Official Welcome word was said by Olaf Kondgen, Council of Europe, and Karin Lopatta-Loibl, European Commission.
After there was a special time for facts, figures, trends, key issues, thought-provoking statements on different subjects:
1. Demography & Intergenerational Relationships (Dragana Avramov, Population and Social Policy Consultants);
2. Ecology & Sustainability (Beata Sochacka, Sendizimir Foundation);
3. Economy & Knowledge Society (Lidia Salvatore, Europfound);
4. Information & Communication Technologies (Mark West, Unesco);
5. Democracy (Anne Muxel; Center for Political Research in Sciences Po Paris);
6. Values (Serdar M.Degirmenciouglu, Dogus University in Istanbul).
Dragana Avramov underlined some very important demographical trends concerning Southern Europe and North Africa, as well as migration process due to the Arab spring huge impact on the whole MENA region and Europe. Some major conclusions were made by Dragana Avramov regarding the field of demography, social trends in a close relation to education and knowledge mobility:
- inequalities between generations and populations are obvious,
- aging population as the main trend,
- 2018: more job places are expected than young people flows arriving to Europe,
- Erasmus Mundus+ as a tool of knowledge mobility,
- extended education,
- difficulties in entering labor markets,
- a reform of national social protection systems in order to preserve them.
Also, Avramov reviewed the main 3 scenarios and visions on 2020:
1) Nobody cares
2) EU under threat
3) European renaissance
The expert emphasized the necessity to force a research component within 2020 agenda in the field of youth. Also, this expert has got a lot of questions from the audience, for instance, from Egyptian participant, Emad Karim: could you name some positive effects on migration from MENA region to Europe?
Moreover, Robert Thompson has asked the expert, which Europe exactly does Dragana Avramov mean? And this question was precisely important within the wider context of the current Europe understanding, in the research background especially.
Further, Lidia Salvatore was totally engaged in youth unemployment issue represented selected data sets on youth unemployment rates in June 2013 (~23,5%, 5,7 mln). The expert noticed that indicators are not fully able to assist in the real situation description. Despite she presented a lot of charts, graphs and schemes there were not real concrete regional or country cases, just general trends. Unfortunately, the Europe only was described while the audience consisted of representatives of various non-European countries – Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, Egypt, Jordan and others. Nevertheless, Lidia Salvatore reminded that young people regularly engaged in unpaid voluntary work but it does not lead to a full workplace. Additionally, she highlighted that unemployment rates are alarming and well educated youngsters are also at risk to not find a job.
Mark West, UNESCO, presented the issue on youth, ICT and Education. He was concentrated in personalized learning, anytime-anywhere learning process, immediate feedback and formative assessment, new and wider communities, other.
Anne Muxel told about Youth and Politics along with presentation on an issue of a new citizenship model. She mentioned the existing mistrust of politics and politicians. The expert proposed to apply for “Political Trust Barometer” by CEVIPOF.
Sedar M.Degirmencioglu presented another issue devoted to Values. It was very wise to invite this expert originally from the non-European country who able to look at the current values system of Europe from other point of view. He started directly from “I do not like to talk about values at all”. Sedar’s presentation was expressive and contained a lot of datasets as well as cases even of Turkey.
The 2nd of October was supposed to spend it within working groups (WG). WG on the topics identified by the preparatory group as key for young people in Europe. The following horizontal aspects have been considered in the discussions: globalization, human rights, minority group’s situation and rights, youth participation and youth rights, and the role and limitations of youth policy and youth work.
The work in the WGs was organized around four main steps: knowledge sharing, discussion on trends, practice examples, identification of challenges.
Topics of the WGs:
1. Learning (Facilitation and kick off input: Miriam Teuma)
2. Work (Facilitation and kick off input: Beatrix Niemeyer)
3. Health (Facilitation and kick off input: Robert Thompson)
4. Inclusion (Facilitation and kick off input: Ewa Krzaklewska)
5. Citizenship & Participation (Facilitation: Tulin Sener; Kick off input: Lihong Huang)
6. Identity / lifestyles (Facilitation and kick off input: Manfred Zentner)
7. Diversity / Solidarity (Facilitation and kick off input: Behrooz Afshari)
8. Mobility (Facilitation and kick off input: Elisa Briga)
9. Housing & Family (Facilitation and kick off input: Siyka Kovacheva)
10. Crime & Justice (Facilitation and kick off input: Jonathan Evans)
|Behrooz Motamed Afshari|
We found that in this context an interconnection between religion and state should be revealed and researched. The presentation made by Afshari has raised a number of issues on extremism and why the narrative on exactly Islamic extremism exists. Obviously, a research should reveal this arguable issue.
Afshari recommended applying for the EU Youth Strategy (2010-2018) and to improve creativity and culture tools. He promoted No Hate Speech Movement, SALTO tools and EuroMed platform for youth. Also, the question of Russia’s participation in EuroMed was touched.
|The working process within |
the Diversity and Solidarity WG
Unfortunately, a research issue and its necessity to implement and involved into the current educational system was underestimated and even declined during the final stage of the working group activity. Some participants shared volunteering practices and general questions in a direct connection with society and its active participation in policy. Actually, only a few people reflected themselves within a research background while others were completely concentrated on their current duties on volunteering or philosophical searching.
Therefore, conclusions were too general, while participants from the Post-Soviet states persisted on the necessity to develop research and education interconnections to reveal some hot issues not only within the formal borders of Europe in order to compare findings, sources and approaches for better understanding of gaps in the field of youth.
We hope to promote research as essential part of the current activity of the EU-CoE youth partnership and ready to contribute our regional and inter-regional experience in further activities and events of this structure.
specially for YCSD blog.