Comité Directeur – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Tue, 17 Oct 2017 22:02:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.10 AEGEE Strengthens its Presence in the South Caucasus: EPM Yerevan 2018 – Bridging Europe /aegee-strengthens-its-presence-in-the-south-caucasus-epm-yerevan-2018-bridging-europe/ Sun, 15 Oct 2017 15:09:24 +0000 /?p=7192 On 8-12 March 2018, Yerevan will be hosting the European Planning Meeting 2018, which will be organized by AEGEE-Yerevan / Yerevan European Students’ Forum Youth NGO.

For the first time in its 32 years of history, the pan-European network of  AEGEE / European Students’ Forum will organise a statutory event  in the South Caucasus, marking the intention of AEGEE-Europe to enlarge the scopes of interaction with the youth of the non-EU member states and overcoming the existing barriers of youth mobility.

The EPM Conference welcomes 250 youth workers, government officials, as well as business, civil society, academia and media representatives from more than 40 the European Union (EU) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, in order to discuss key priorities of the EU’s Eastern Partnership strategy, and to draft the AEGEE network’s Action Agenda to tackle European issues that shape young people’s lives across the continent.  Participants will have the chance to take part in workshops, panel discussions and roundtable discussions before working in focus groups drafting specific youth-related recommendations.

The European Planning Meeting Yerevan 2018 creates a forum for integration of ideas, policies and common interests aimed at deepening and enhancing existing relations between the EU and EaP countries. The Conference will draw particular attention to the main topics of the European Agenda, including Europe’s current new forms of cooperation between the EU and its neighboring partner countries, youth unemployment, Erasmus+ Programme, youth participation in democratic transformation and the importance of the strengthening of the civil society capacity in the non-EU countries.

Considering Armenia’s Government intention for signing the Comprehensive Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the European Union in November 2017, the Conference will also focus on youth entrepreneurship, promotion of sustainable economic growth, unleashing youth potential in high technologies  and diversification of cooperation between Armenia and the EU including prospects of boosting people-to-people contacts and launching visa liberalisation process.

The participants of the EPM Yerevan 2018 will also get a chance to participate in thematic workshops and master classes held  by experts, as well as the Fair will be hosted for the Armenian students and the general public. In addition a special cultural programme will be organized for all international participants thus providing them a real-time opportunity to discover the long lasting and unique European cultural heritage of Armenia.

The European Planning Meeting Yerevan 2018 is the biggest thematic European youth event ever organized in Armenia, proudly marking the 2800th anniversary of the city of Yerevan.

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Borderless Europe: Blessing or Burden? /borderless-europe-blessing-or-burden/ Sat, 05 Mar 2016 19:10:05 +0000 /?p=6311 AEGEE-Cluj Napoca is organising the event of spring 2016 between 6-9 May: Borderless Europe: Blessing or Burden?

Winner of the Franck Biancheri Award 2016 – the local is working closely together with the representatives of Assiciation des Amis de Franck Biancheri and the Your Vision for EUrope Project in order to bring a 3-day long thematic conference to life with open space discussions with experts, workshops for better understanding the European project, getting to know the different narratives from inside and outside the European union and finally, to gather young people’s wishes and recommendations for the future of the European project!

The First day of the conference would look at: Inside the European project:

  • The evolution of Schengen – and where it stands today
  • Europe: salad bowl or melting pot of nations?
  • The European project’s win and fail: ideology vs. economic interests

The Second day of the conference will take a look at outside the European project:

  • Eastern partnership – opportunities and visa regulations
  • Balkans and Turkey: do they still want to belong to the European project?
  • Fortress Europe: who is an ‘outsider’?

Join the event to learn more about a very complex topic of today’s Social Europe, join if you would like to contribute to the dialogue with decision-makers,

and last but not least, join AEGEECluj Napoca in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the local – and the Day of Europe on the 9th May!

Facebook event can be found here.

Intranet event to apply can be found here.

Google form application can be found here.

If you have any questions related to the event – please write to headoffice@aegee.org and/or yourvisionforeurope@aegee.org!

Looking forward to many of you participating in an event that brings back the spirit of the first days of AEGEE, that questions the current status quo in Europe and offers a unique insight to understand Borderless Europe from a new perspective.

We would like to thank the Association des Amis de Franck Biancheri for providing the AEGEE network with this opportunity – and we are looking forward to the future cooperation!

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Education and Youth are not a ‘small thing’ /education-not-a-small-thing/ Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:57:50 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=1108 Today the European Commission’s president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker announced his “winning team”, a commission in which portfolios are given “to people, not to countries”. AEGEE / European Students’ Forum sees some good developments in the attention given to Citizenship, Mobility and Employment, but has concerns about Education being overshadowed,the total absence of mentioning Non-Formal Education for skills development and employment and the gender composition of the team.

Education portfolio still pressured

As a stakeholder in the fields of Youth, Students and Education, AEGEE-Europe welcomes the establishment of the portfolio on Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship; particularly after the previous information published at the end of last week by EurActiv (link) on the lack of education portfolio in the new European Commission. However, we would still like to emphasise the importance of Education. With Juncker claiming that he wants the Commission “to be bigger on big things and modest on small things”, we urge that education should not be considered a ‘small thing’ in a Union that depends on knowledge-dependant end-products and in which access to education is stagnating [1].

Combining citizenship into the same portfolio could be a good decision, as it paves the way for better civic education for which we see a great need in Europe. Reaching out to Erasmus+ and ‘Europe for Citizens‘ beneficiaries as a means to strengthen EU understanding, as is mentioned in the mission letter (link) to Tibor Navracsics, is highly welcomed. However, we urge that the focus of citizenship should not only be part of education, and mentioned beneficiaries should not be the only vehicle, but the work on citizenship should also encompass the inclusion of all citizens in the decision-making processes and consultations, including, but not limited to, improving the European Citizens’ Initiatives and facilitating pan-European media attention on European issues.

Juncker and Navracsics. Source: Google

Unemployment tackled, mobility boosted, non-formal education ignored Mr. Juncker has prominently highlighted jobs as one of his top priorities, recognizing that the crisis has taken its toll on employment, leaving more than 6 million people without work. In his mission letter to Marianne Thyssen (link) he acknowledges that “unemployment has reached unacceptably high levels in many parts of Europe, particularly among Europe’s youth”. To remedy this situation, he proposes to present a jobs, growth and investment package within the first three months of the Commission’s term, emphasizing the importance of funding towards projects that can help youth get back to work in decent jobs, as well as accelerating and broadening the implementation of the Youth Guarantee Scheme.

As youth employment is one of AEGEE’s priorities in the upcoming years as well, we are happy to see Mr. Juncker recognizing it as an issue to be dealt with. As a measure to fight unemployment we also welcome labour mobility as an own policy field of Commissioner Marianne Thyssen. In order to deepen the European integration it is essential to promote free movement of workers, and AEGEE-Europe sees access to mobility as one of the fundamental rights of all residents on the European continent (link). One of the key issues in order to achieve labour mobility is the mutual recognition of qualifications. Therefore we strongly support that qualifications obtained in different countries have to be recognised for all European citizens.

In the context of employment, AEGEE would like also like to see an emphasis on recognition and validation of non-formal education, especially when it comes to youth. As a youth NGO and a provider of non-formal education, we believe that non-formal education plays a crucial role in helping young people develop a variety of skills useful and relevant in a wide range of workplaces. Working to get non-formal education recognised is now not explicitly mentioned at all in the mission letters to Mr. Navracsics and Ms. Thyssen.

Furthermore, we hope that the Commission will seek out to engage citizens in improving the current situation regarding youth unemployment. Youth organisations provide young people with skills and competences that help in preparing them for the labour market. Therefore, our opinion is that youth organizations could bring added value in fighting youth unemployment, and should be consulted and involved in this matter.

Gender Balance

AEGEE-Europe is pleased to see that three out of seven Vice-President positions were given to female representatives. This is definitely a good step in the direction of achieving gender balance. However, we still hold the opinion that nine female Commissioners, compared to 19 male ones, is far from equality, and it is not a progress compared to the composition of the Commission of José Manuel Barroso. Given the fact that women constitute over a half of the 507 million population of the European Union (104.8 women per 100 men; Eurostat, 2013) and 60% of tertiary education graduates (Eurostat, 2013), we find it astonishing that EU Member States did not manage to find more female candidates for the position of Commissioners. Representation of women in the Commission. Source: European Commission

If there were truly equal opportunities, the probability of having more than 9 female Commissioners would be more than 95%. However, at the same time, we appreciate the efforts of Jean-Claude Juncker calling for more women representatives in the EC in the previous months and the inclusion of the gender equality portfolio in the DG Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. Despite the mentioned concerns, AEGEE-Europe sees potential in the change Mr. Juncker wants to make, and hope to see a positive effect. We wish for a fruitful cooperation with Commissioner Tibor Navracsics of Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship and Marianne Thyssen of Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. Lastly, we look forward to the efforts of the Commissioner Vera Jourová in taking measures to achieve gender equality.

[1] http://euobserver.com/news/125536

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The shooting down of the flight MH17 in Ukraine should be a wake up call for Europe /the-shooting-down-of-the-flight-mh17-in-ukraine-should-be-a-wake-up-call-for-europe/ Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:19:12 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=1087 The shooting down of a Boeing 777 on July 17th is a shocking reminder of the fact that, while the international community divides its attention between the bombing in Gaza and the holiday destination of the German world champions, the situation in Eastern Ukraine has degenerated into a civil war whose consequences are unpredictable. AEGEE-Europe has been paying continuous attention to the situation and we are worried that this attack can lead to a crossing of accusations and an escalation of the conflict.

The current and the new boards of AEGEE-Europe would like to express their condolences to all families and friends of the 298 victims, and especially to the Dutch nation, that lost 189 citizens according to the first reports. The country declared Friday a day of mourning for the victims.

But this shocking attack has to be a wake up call for Europe. There are many other victims of this conflict that lasts for several months already: dozens of casualties on both sides, journalists, thousands of refugees that are fleeing the region because of fear or the lack of opportunities that have come as a result of this separatist conflict. Europe cannot leave Ukraine alone; it is the moment to make a big stand for peace and get involved in the pacification of the region. Cooperation with Russia is essential if we want to succeed in putting an end to this conflict.

However, the authorship of the attack is still unclear. Rumours point to the separatist faction, and the fact that they are putting obstacles to the investigation does not help their cause. Additionally, media has recently shown that the pro-Russian faction owned several units of heavy armament. In fact, several airlines have already been avoiding the aerial space over the Dnipropetrovsk region over the past months as a preventive measure, but Eurocontrol (the European air traffic management organisation) has not closed it for navigation until today.

AEGEE-Europe believes that transparency and extensive investigation of this and other incidents in Eastern Ukraine are necessary to determine responsibilities and find the key to solve the conflict, and therefore should be a requisite for the EU support to the Ukrainian government, in line with the 18th point of the Joint Motion of the European Parliament For A Resolution on Ukraine (2014/2717) issued on Wednesday, the day after the plane was shot down.

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“If we don’t cry out, who will?” /if-we-dont-cry-out-who-will/ Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:28:31 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=1076 Commeorating 25 years of the Tianammen Square massacre

As a European students’ organisation, we do not often look beyond Europe in these days while so many conflicts are happening in our continent. But today we do. We want to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the crackdown of one of the biggest students’ protests in history, the Tianammen Protests in China, with a million of students demanding for reforms towards freedom and opening of the communist regime. “People were disappointed in the government. They thought, If we don’t cry out, who will?” says Kenneth Lam, who was 20 then. When the Chinese government decided to send the army to stop the protests, hundreds (or thousands) of civilians were killed, and a strong secrecy was imposed. Even today, the Chinese government is obstructing those who want to commemorate or investigate what happened, as International Amnesty denounces.

In spite of the efforts of the Chinese government, the massacre hit the news all over the world. The iconic picture of the man stopping the column of tanks became a symbol of peaceful struggle for democracy. This was a  turning point in history in many levels, and is very relevant this year, when students’ have demonstrated all over our continent demanding more democracy. The Tianammen square can be these days in the Gezi Park in Istanbul, in the Maidan Square in Kyiv, at the streets of Tuzla; it can happen at any time, in any other European city. AEGEE-Europe calls for the European governments to refrain from any violence and to respect the democratic rights of the protestors, to take into consideration the demands of their citizens: in most cases, they just want a more democratic society, more opportunities to participate in the decision process and a better future.

We want to remember all the people who died fighting for their rights in China in 1989, and all those citizens (and specially the students) who faced hard repression from police, got gassed, beaten, severely injured and even killed in the last 12 months in Europe. We are proud of you and we support your demand for democracy anywhere you are.

You can read more in this complete article in Time Magazine.

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Mc Kinsey report highlights some of the problems behind youth unemployment /mc-kinsey-report-highlights-problems-youth-unemployment/ /mc-kinsey-report-highlights-problems-youth-unemployment/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:43:12 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=956 “In Europe, 74 percent of education providers were confident that their graduates were prepared for work, but only 38 percent of youth and 35 percent of employers agreed” states the Mc Kinsey report, which was released Mid-January 2014. This statement, based on a meticulous research carried out toward 5,300 youth, 2,600 employers, and 700 post-secondary education providers across 8 countries, brings to light the difference of perspectives and the lack of clear understanding among Education providers on the reality of the situation for young people willing to enter the job market.

This research reminds us that apart from the lack of job offers, another key issue is the existing skills mismatch between what Education providers are providing and the actual needs of the companies. These and other factors ended up in 5.6 million young people being unemployed in Europe.

AEGEE-Europe is worried to see that the situation for young people is still blocked and leaves so many young job seekers really unmotivated, desperate to find a job that not only enables them to pay their rent, but also fulfills their expectations. On that matter, we can only keep on calling Higher Education institutions to rethink their learning models and to cooperate further with companies in order to understand, and then translate in their programs, the skills that are being asked for on the job market.

AEGEE-Europe also wants to stress the crucial role of Non-Formal Education players in that field, since skills considered as crucial from employers, such as “spoken communication and work ethic” to quote the Mc Kinsey’s report, are exactly those that volunteers in youth organisations get to experience and develop. Moreover, not only do Youth Organisations provide soft skills needed by the job market, but they give also valuable work experience, which often job applicants lack. For this reason, AEGEE-Europe can only repeat the need for volunteers’ engagement and experiences to be recognised by key players, such as Educational centres (with ECTS compensations), Employers (by taking seriously into account volunteers’ experience) and public institutions (through validation of Non-Formal Education competences).

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Reaction to the draft law of Spanish Government shutting down the Spanish Youth Council /reaction-to-the-draft-law-of-spanish-government-shutting-down-the-spanish-youth-council/ /reaction-to-the-draft-law-of-spanish-government-shutting-down-the-spanish-youth-council/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 17:28:17 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=917 On 17th January 2014, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the draft law of Reform of the Public Administration that, based on an alleged duplicity of functions with the governmental body Spanish Youth Institute (INJUVE), formally abolishes the Spanish Youth Council (Consejo de la Juventud de España – CJE), turning a blind eye to the recommendations of Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, encouraging for the reconsideration of this measure.

AEGEE, as a youth organization striving for the participation of young people in decision-making processes, is strongly disappointed to see such a decision taken from the Spanish government, and calls for the Spanish Parliament to amend the Draft Law of Reform of the Public Administration and preserve the Spanish Youth Council. AEGEE, whose representatives in Spain are members of the Spanish Youth Council, is concerned by the lack of vision from the Spanish Government, which ignores the mandate of the Spanish Constitution (see art. 48) and eliminates the organ that has the representation of Spanish youth to defend their interests.

CJE is an organism founded in 1984, and nowadays gathers 76 diverse national organizations. It voices the interests of the young people on topics that are crucial for them, such as employment, sexual health or education. Shutting it down would worsen the situation of a collective that is already suffering the hard consequences of the international economic crisis. Therefore, AEGEE believes that this measure is a wrong approach to solving their issues problems, because it causes a lack of representation.

The same 17th of January, the Spanish Youth Council published a press release regarding the approval of the draft law showing their disagreement. In this document they highlight that “Spanish Government commits a big mistake that would let the Spanish youth without a valid representation” mentioning that this decision is not taken from the alleged “administrative efficiency criteria”, but with the objective of eliminating an “inconvenient organism”.

The European Youth Forum also reacted against this announcement calling “on the Spanish government to recognise young people, through their representation by youth organisations such as the CJE, as critical components of a healthy democracy”. They base their argumentation, as Martin Schulz also did, upon the European Union’s White Paper on Youth, emphasizing the importance of democratic platforms such as Spanish Youth Council in promoting youth participation through independent institutions.

Written by Pablo Hernández, Policy Officer of AEGEE-Europe for Youth Participation

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Looking into 2014: a crucial year for the future of Europe /looking-into-2014-a-crucial-year-for-the-future-of-europe/ Mon, 06 Jan 2014 16:36:52 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=857 2013 was a year where things have started to change in Europe. Economic recuperation has been officially announced, but still has not been felt by the citizens who have to fight against unemployment and cuts in salaries or social benefits in their countries. Angela Merkel got elected again, becoming the first leader among the big democracies in Europe to resist the effects of the crisis on a national election; however, she needed a big coalition to form her government.

While the European Union is being questioned more than ever among its members, thousands of Ukrainian citizens faced cold winter winds and brutal attacks from police just to defend their European dream, first, and to claim democratic reforms in their country, later, making a lot of people think again of the positive facts of the still-in-construction European project. On the other side, we saw PM Cameron launching his proposal of referendum about an exit of the UK from EU, and we feel an increase of nationalistic and anti-EU messages in national media almost in every EU country. On the other hand, the EU welcomed Croatia in a new step towards reunification, especially relevant in a sensible area such as the Balkans. Two steps forward, one backward; this seems to be the rhythm of a new European dance.

But what can we expect from 2014?

The year will be marked by the elections to the European Parliament in May, where the European citizens will have the opportunity to speak through their votes. Will we see an increase of the presence of nationalist and anti-EU parties in the EP? It is quite likely they will increase notably their seats in the Parliament, but presumably they won’t pose a threat to the pro-European policies. And if, instead of sterile complaints and media-ready statements, they decide to have a constructive critical discourse, their contribution will for sure improve the decisions taken in the Parliament. In any case, the most likely scenario is a new decrease in participation in the electoral process, caused by the disaffection of many Europeans to the politicians that govern them and the gap between the EU institutions and the citizens. How the EU will fight the abstention in these elections, is one of the pressing questions this year that will be answered soon.

Apart from the elections, there are several other focus areas to follow in Europe this year. Will the new EU budget have a swift impact on the Member States daily life? Will the evolution of the civic protests in neighbouring countries, such as Turkey and Ukraine, lead to improvements in the democracy in those countries? Will the situation of human rights in Russia worsen, now that terrorism has come back into the scene, or will  the international pressure suceed in changing the Kremlin’s policies towards minorities and civil rights?

The referendum for the independence of Scotland (and the one in Catalonia, if it takes place), and especially the questions related to how to deal with their outcomes, will pose new challenges to the EU. The effects of the full access of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU deserve attention too, and hopefully the apocalyptic messages in UK tabloids will be silenced by facts that prove that the end of this unfair situation will just bring benefits to all of us. And we will still have to deal on a daily basis with the causes and effects of the economic and financial crisis, the solution to the unbearable unemployment rates, and the “austerity vs stimulation” dilemma.

For the young people… what will be the priorities? They will keep an eye on what affects them most: education and grants, and how budget cuts impact them. But… will the European young citizens feel how much their participation in the European Parliament is sought? Will their needs be taken into account by the decision-makers?

Obviously, there will be unexpected highlights in these 12 months of 2014, because Europe will always be an amazing place to live, which never ceases to surprise us.

Anna, Bea, Kathrin, Lucille, Luis, Miguel and Pavel
Comité Directeur 2013-14

Photos: courtesy of AEGEE-Ogre, European Parliament EP elections video and KyivPost

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EVA: Does Erasmus make you a better European citizen? /eva-erasmus-european-citizen-elections/ Tue, 22 Oct 2013 09:57:24 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=782 The first meeting of the Erasmus Voting Assesment project (EVA) took place last week in Brussels, at the office of AEGEE-Europe.  This new project aims at answering fundamental questions concerning active citizenship and participation in democratic processes of young students, and in particular the ERASMUS students. Through an in-depth survey, the project will measure the feeling of “being European” among young students and, furthermore, assess any possible existing correlation between having been an ERASMUS student and the level of engagement in the European society. In addition, this project aims to investigate the voting behaviour of Erasmus and university students across Europe in the European Parliament’s elections.

AEGEE-Europe/European Students’ Forum, The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and Generation Europe Foundation partnered up and launched this new project, funded in September 2013 by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.

The coordinator of the project, AEGEE-Europe, hosted the kick-off conference in its office in Brussels. The consortium discussed the main project milestones, and some of the first decisions were already taken. There will be 3 study visits in December to three big European universities, recognised for hosting thousands of Erasmus students: Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), Sciences PO Toulouse (France) and Aarhus Universitet (Denmark). A conference in January 2014 with mark the official presentation of the project, involving relevant policy makers and stakeholders, and presenting the survey. The official website for the project will be also launched in January 2014.

The project consortium is supported by an Advisory Board consisting by two European associations with relevant experience in the field of European citizenship and in sociological research: European Movement International (EMI) and the European Sociological Association (ESA).

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Let’s give peace an opportunity /lets-give-peace-an-opportunity/ Sat, 21 Sep 2013 09:47:25 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=733 Have you heard of World Peace Day? Today we celebrate the annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence. 21 September become the official International Day of Peace in 2001, before it was changing dates.

But the United Nations count for this day with an incredible ally, the Peace One Day organization which works to make this day a real success and to have a bigger impact than just a red mark in your calendars. The guy who started the initiative, Jeremy Gilley, has mobilised in the last 15 years thousands of people to really make this day an opportunity for peace in many conflict areas of the world. Together with them, the impact has reached 280 millions of people last year through 6000 events, including concerts, sport matches and workshops.

Here you can see some more about the project: www.peaceoneday.org

Click on the image to see the video

 

We in AEGEE support peace but we do not have many opportunities to contribute. This year, however, we start on the same Peace Day something big. We are joining the University of Youth and Development (UJyD) in Mollina (Malaga, Spain) where we will host a Peace Bilding training focused on the Caucasus region. The multicultural environment of the UJyD will serve as a great framework where we can build up bridges among the youth of the Caucasus region and foster mutual understanding. We hope the outcome of this training course are positive and we will build up a bigger strategy in the next months. In the end we would like to give Peace not only a day in the calendar, but a home everywhere in Europe.

The University of Youth and Development is an initiative of  the North South Center of the Council of Europe, with the support of the European Youth Forum (YFJ), the Spanish Youth Council (CJE), the Latin American Youth Forum (FLAJ) and the Spanish Youth Institute (INJUVE).

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