Summers are important moments for activities carried out by Education for an Interdependent World (EDIW). During the year, groups of young people predominantly in the Colegios Mayores, carry out activities to prepare for the International meetings and Seminars in the summer. During the months of July and August there were two seminars held, one in Brussels and the other in Rome, and three weeks of International Youth Field work experience of work and cultural immersion in India.
This Training Seminar was part of to the Project: “Roots and Wings” (Erasmus+ Capacity Building in the field of Youth) and took place in Rome on the 18th –23rd of July 2016. The training reviewed different social challenges of today's Europe and highlighted youth participation as a means to address these. Each challenge, first prepared in small groups, was later discussed in a plenary session.
The Rome meeting kicked off on Monday, 18th of July, with a warm welcome and introduction from the EDIW organizing team. Videos prepared by some groups of young people on the social challenges for this meeting in Rome were also shown.
A CHALLENGE FOR EACH DAY
Employment for all
Tuesday, 19th ofJuly. After the general presentation of the project, we were divided in small groups to address the first challenge. We realized the importance of learning resilience and creativity faced with job scarcity after graduating from the university. The transition from work to school is a critical period and could be an opportunity to consider volunteering to gain work experience, a requisite for employment in the future.
There were varied opportunities to interact with agencies, embassies and politicians. Silvia Costa, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education in the European Parliament, sent a written message to all participants. From Brussels, Andy Predicala, YCW Permanent delegate to the ILO Conference in UN Geneva, and Monicah Wanjiru, General Secretary of the coordination of national movements of Young Christian Workers (YCW/JOC) presented the experiences of young workers in different countries. The second part of the day was dedicated preparing the interviews with selected Embassies and organizations in Rome on their respective approaches to the different challenges.
Inclusion for all
Wednesday, the 20th of July. We learned about Interfaith Dialogue from a talk given by Tahira Ambreen. This was followed right after with a Skype conference from Indonesia with Lailatul Fitriyah's talk on “Migration and Peace-building”. Both interventions provoked a live discussion with the speakers on the contribution of Religions in addressing the challenge of inclusion.
Divided in groups, we headed to our appointments with the Mexican Embassy, Caritas Rome and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Our interviews with Mr. Alfonso de Alba, Policy and Human Rights and Third Secretary Embassy of Mexico in Rome, Mr. Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Public Relations-Media Focal Point and the Head of Health Section of Caritas-Rome, Mr. Salvatore Geraci, gave us an idea about the Policies on Migration and Integration from the respective points of view of those we interviewed, among whom was Mr. Louis-Arnaud, Counsellor, Public Affairs and Advocacy of the Embassy of Canada in Rome.
From the angle of a project proposal, four of our fellow participants from Rome shared their ideas on how to integrate alienated members of their own migrant communities in Rome. This was followed by a workshop with Dr. Maria Yarosh on Interculturality. The day dealing with inclusion ended with a visit to the Vatican and the Jewish Ghetto within the city.
Education for all
Thursday, 21st of July. Maria Teresa Zafra (Colegio Mayor de Granada) introduced the challenge of the day with the life story of a dropout and NEETs. The challenge of drop outs continues to be a major concern of Roots and Wings project. This gave rise to a pilot project in the Philippines with six people from the Colegios Mayores de Valladolid, Madrid, Zaragoza y Munich, volunteering in three public schools and a school for street children. This was a major component of the EC Project Roots and Wings. The grantees of this pilot program shared their two-month immersion in the educational system of the Philippines with a presentation entitled “Leaving your world to meet the other", a reflection from different perspectives of theexperience in Manila. The presence of Cécile Kyenge, Co-rapporteur of the Initiative Report for Migrations in the Mediterranean Sea at the European Parliament and former Minister for Integration of Italy, was one of the highlights of this day.
The week was not one that ended up in "just talking". We had to put ourselves in the shoes of those who played different opposing roles in the challenges we had indentified through the dynamics of a Think Tank Workshop to reach more concrete and possible actions on the issues proposed. This was facilitated by participants Gabriel Coupeau and Mattia Barina, alumni of London School of Economics.
The day was wrapped up with a unique and meaningful evening of Interreligious Celebration. Readings were shared expressing in diverse ways and contexts the nobility of the human character ... the richness of diversity, at the same time, also made alive and tangible in symbols and dance. We realized that there is another big challenge before us, that of Interreligious dialogue.
Participation for all
Friday, 22nd of July. What does this mean in real life? This day, Claudia De Stefanis, Head Communications - European Commission Representation in Rome presented different EU programs being implemented in Italy. This was followed by testimonials in volunteering, cultural mediation, reception of asylum-seekers and refugees. Alejandra Hidalgo (Voluntariado Madrid), Annaliza Bueno (Association of Foreign Workers in Italy/ASLI) and Serena Falasca (Social Cooperative “Tre Fontane”) showed us different ways of being engaged as active citizens. These sharing of experiences, encouraged us to continue to fight for and address these challenges as agents of change. This day was very important in that it reminded us of our social responsibility and our sense of commitment. We gained some new hope. It is important to say that there are many projects that young people can be engaged in ... we just have to search and go for them. It is amazing to see how many young people are working in volunteering projects.
We had a thorough discussion and voted on the pressing challenges that we need to tackle in the next training seminars, formal or non-formal learning opportunities in the near future. To close the day, we had a lively and enjoyable evening representation of stories that we learned from different countries and cultures present in each of our groups.
A learning experience
Saturday, the 23rd of July. Mattia Barina shared his learning experience transitioning from study to work. Dr. Maria Yarosh facilitated the session on the use of portfolios in identifying some skills we have developed during the week and in introducing the application of the portfolio in our own career paths.
We had good times together, sharing and preparing things. We created something together as a group, established new relationships marked by our cultural diversity, and intercultural dialogue promoting among us a better knowledge of what it means to be with persons of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Last but not the least, we developed our communication skills and skills to adapt to new situations.
This seminar has enormous significance for us. We learned, shared and we created experiences that made us grow and become more aware of certain situations around the world. The training opened us ways to know other projects and the people that we met gave us the courage to say to each other that what we want of this world is possible. The challenges made us realise what our society needs and what we have as young Europeans in our hands to move forward. These days renewed our will to keep working for a better world, empowering us to act and to invent alternatives or new experiences so that we could be the youth our world needs today.
Diogo Silva, Sara Cascais, Silvia Rosa (Portugal)