On 13th and 14th May 2022, the European Youth Forum, the largest European platform coordinating and representing more than 100 organisations among IYNGOs and National Youth Councils from all over Europe, met in Brussels for its first COMEM (Council of Members) this year, gathering young people from different European realities. Don Bosco Youth-Net sent two of its youth representatives: Gabriele Giovagnoli and Sara Sechi.
Here are their testimonies:
"Although it was not my first advocacy experience, COMEM always offers surprises and interesting food for thought. During the plenaries, various members of different European youth organisations had the opportunity to discuss and debate about news concerning the Forum and the challenges of advocacy for youth rights in Europe. The tensions and concerns caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine characterised the representatives' speeches. The contribution of the Ukrainian and Belarusian representation was valuable to reflect together on the need to act more concretely to support not only these countries, but to strengthen the advocacy strategy.
COMEM was an opportunity to meet again with people known from past events, but it was particularly interesting to get to know new representatives and their stories. This occasion allowed the two representatives to network with Don Bosco Youth-Net partners and to enrich their personal and professional background. Understanding European dynamics is essential to understand what contribution young people can make to their own realities as an active part of civil society."
"The COMEM is an event that always brings with it a lot of expectations for the delegates who attend it, and on this occasion too, they were fully met. Seeing in these difficult times so many young people come together both online and, most importantly, in presence to discuss and shape together the next steps for the renewal of the Forum was a pleasant and long-awaited return "to normality".
In particular, the spirit of unity of purpose among all participants was very much perceived, even with occasional differences, as well as the vigorous desire to react and counter the challenges that destabilise the present and future of all of us young people (in particular by proposing concrete proposals towards problems such as the climate crisis, the precarious situation of youth employment, democratic and anti-civil society restrictions in some countries, etc.).
There was certainly no lack of thought for the Russian war and invasion in Ukraine, with several moments of discussion on concrete acts of solidarity to be undertaken with Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens.
All in all, it was an event that enriched me a lot, leaving me with different reflections and new ideas for the future, made me meet again old friends and made me get to know new ones, but above all, it allowed the various delegates to network together among hundreds of different realities all over Europe, helping us to strengthen together the possibilities and potentialities of us young people at local and international level.”
Thank you Gabriele for writing this article and gathering the testimonies of Sara and yourself.
In this blog, Don Bosco Youth-Net collects and publishes its news, VLOGS, policy statements and other information linked to our advocacy work.