Volodymyr Berkych about YOFest

Volodymyr Berkych about YOFest

Political pilgrimage: to the heart of the European Union

Perhaps every respectful president of the Young Council should move a long way to a «saint» political institution and go through all stages of internship in an international youth organization. This opportunity also happened to me, so I enthusiastically packed all baggage and set off on the journey. I visited the head office of the student organization AEGEE, participated in various conferences with EU commissioners and became acquainted with the Belgian spirit, local culture and people attutide. But wait…

Та про все по черзі…

AEGEE is one of the largest interdisciplinary student organizations in Europe, which stands for strengthen the democratic, diverse, borderless, both the lands and minds, Europe. Actually, this shows that the organization is developing independent policy and trying to present some of the youth voices in the political plane – here I realized that my theory would be useful in a practice. The team of the international office was open and friendly to all young trainees, shared their own experiences in cooperation with the European Commission, and I could see how the “giant” functions from the inside. We are actively acquainted with the main directions of the organization, studied their priorities and tried to supplement them with our fresh vision, research and analysis. Participation in the YOFest All-European Youth Festival has probably become the culmination of our cooperation – we helped to present the organization of the potential audience, exchanged experience with other political and public organizations, and I wore the honorable label “YMCA Lviv and AEGGE” on my badge.

So what about communication? It was really constant and many-sided – from students and activists and to assistants of deputies of the European Parliament, politicians of different levels, commissars. That’s right. Brussels is the brain of Europe, its heart and soul. For me, as for a common student with a desire to become a political scientist, it was just an incredible dream. In conversations, I really understood the importance of empowering young people and, more likely, my contribution to this. Young people are really worried about the environment, labor market reforms and gender issues, or inclusiveness. During the open broadcast of the debates of the leaders of the European parties all youngsters thoughtfully listened, supported, started discussions up.

The experience of European institutions, the atmosphere of civic society is perfectly combined with walks in a old-fashioned city, full of narrow streets and gorgeous gardens. While local officials riding bikes to their departments, other residents simply rest in parks (there are a lot of them there) in the middle of the day, enjoying the moment. Here I also met some good friends from Georgia who represented the Creative Development Center.

I am grateful to all-all for the support, great motivation and invaluable experience gained in Brussels. Now is time to work – creating together our youth center YMCA Lviv with a new vision and ideas.