Zahra Runderkamp: Round-up of the European Youth Parliament session at Hope University
I was there in the capacity of President of the session. My name is Zahra Runderkamp, 20 years old and I am from the Netherlands.
I have been involved in the European Youth Parliament for many years now and I started off at a similar session as this one, back home in Amsterdam.
The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is a non-partisan, independent educational project and involves over 20.000 youngsters a year from 36 European countries. The EYP United Kingdom (EYPUK) is a registered charity based in Dale Street, Liverpool.
Every year, EYPUK involves around 1,800 young people from all the corners of the United Kingdom, aiming to educate these youngsters around local, national and European issues, as well as to provide a forum for young people to express their opinion and to make their voices heard.
Moreover, EYPUK aims to build new skills among young people to prepare them for their future and to develop a strong sense of community and (European) citizenship.
From my experience, there are very few organizations that have these objectives and give us, young people, such a platform to have our say on topics that concern all of us.
From Thursday until Sunday, over 150 young people from around the UK and Europe came together to talk about a wide range of topics; from the Eurozone crisis to mental health provisions for young people, and from youth obesity rates to the accession of Turkey into the EU.
The last two days were devoted solely to plenary debates, in which all schools defended one of the resolutions they had written in advance and constructively attacked the others, aiming at coming to a consensus all together.
The first two days, we split all the school delegations up in committees, asking them to work together on a resolution with people they didn't know before.
The topic for this debate was Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and how the EU can ensure that all children are guaranteed the right to plan and participate in cultural life.
The result was mind-blowing; not only did all committees successfully deliver a resolution - just as in the real European Parliament! - but they also managed to come to a consensus all together, even though they were not used to working in a group with people they did not know before.
Liverpool could not have been a more perfect place for EYPUK to hold their National Session.
After an International Session in the city in 2008 and many other events over recent years, the campus of Hope University offered us all the things we needed for a successful session.
I am confident that these 140 youngsters continue to have their voices heard, stay involved in the organization and made some lasting friendships. I know I did.
From more information, please visit HERE.
Zahra Runderkamp is the president European Youth Parliament - The Netherlands.