Following the invitation from the EUSALP Swiss Presidency 2023, the Youth Council of EUSALP convened in Lausanne last weekend. This internal meeting brought together 14 members of the Youth Council over the course of three days.
Thursday, September 7th
On the first evening, around ten members were interviewed as part of the “Made in the Alps” project. The aim of these interviews was to inquire about young people’s connections to and symbols of the Alpine region. As young Alpine citizens, their experiences of the region could be valuable in creating a stronger brand image for Alpine products.
These interviews result from close collaboration between thematic group 3 of the EUSALP Youth Council and members of Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF 3) Project. The involvement of our members in such project is an objective that is gradually taking shape.
Territorial brands that aim to establish 100% local value chains, despite their benefits for territorial development, can result in the proliferation of initiatives requiring investments of inefficient size and hinder collaboration with other regions. The common image of the Alps is a joint cultural asset that could facilitate cross-regional/border value chains. The project MadeInTheAlps will develop policy and managerial insights for collaborative territorial brands initiatives. Through an experiment-based research on consumers’ perceived image of ‘Made in the Alps’ products resulting from cross-regional/border value chains and supporting pilot actions.”
Once the interviews were over, the group headed for Lake Léman. It was a particularly hot weekend, and a swim was a must at the end of the day’s journey through the Alps. The group stopped to shop and share a picnic by the lake. With the magnificent scenery, this first evening was a complete success.
Group cohesion and mutual understanding among the members of the Youth Council are important objectives of events like these. These informal moments are necessary to foster a working dynamic throughout the year, despite the distance and language barriers.
Friday, September 8th
Friday was set to be a long and diligent day for the members of the EUSALP Youth Council. There’s nothing like a good coffee in a splendid setting to kickstart the day.
The meeting was scheduled for 9 a.m. at the house of the Parliament of the Canton de Vaud. Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the Canton of Vaud, and we gathered in the “Salle du bicentenaire”.
The primary goal of the morning’s work session was to finalize the document that compiles the recommendations of the Youth Council on the topic of water. This document will be presented during the next EUSALP General Assembly in Bad-Ragaz. The EUSALP Y.C members worked in 4 groups and successfully synthesized the document drafted following the EUSALP Scuol conference on water.
During the afternoon, several political representatives from Switzerland came to engage with the youth. The young participants had the opportunity to ask their questions regarding youth participation and the activities of the politicians who came to converse with them.
The young people were able to talk to 3 political representatives:
– Christelle Luisier Brodard, President of the Canton of Vaud
– Markus Dieth, President of the Conference of Cantonal Governments
– Vassilis Venizelos, State Councillor of the Canton of Vaud
The young participants were particularly curious to learn about how the political representatives had started their political engagement. Similarities were observed among the present politicians; for instance, they all began at the local level before progressing through years of commitment to larger-scale mandates.
Another topic that sparked reactions and questions during the discussion was how politics should be taught and explained to children and young people within educational institutions. This question prompted one of the members of the EUSALP Youth Council to react and suggest greater involvement of children and young people in the systems that affect them. They advocated for their voices to be heard and considered in decisions that concern them and for a more proactive role in our society.
During the late afternoon, members of the Vaud Youth Council presented their youth participation framework to the EUSALP Youth Council members. It was fascinating to explore another approach to youth participation. We were able to gather valuable insights to inspire our own efforts in this regard.
A joint working session was scheduled between our two youth councils, providing an opportunity to brainstorm concrete project ideas for the Pitch Your Project competition. For over an hour, the young participants worked together with the goal of proposing projects for the competition. This was a means of connecting our various youth participation initiatives within the Alpine region.
The workday concluded with internal discussions within the Youth Council. This included reviewing the position paper for 2023-2024 before sending it to the executive council members and a discussion on the council’s statutes. This working session helped clarify certain points and provided a clearer understanding of the upcoming tasks at hand.
Saturday, September 9th
We make an effort to offer the young participants cultural and tourist activities in the places where we meet. In Nova Gorica, it was a visit to the Škocjan Caves; in Strasbourg, a trip to the European Parliament; in Innsbruck, a visit to the Olympic bobsleigh track. Last weekend in Lausanne, we had the opportunity to explore the magnificent Olympic Museum. During the guided tour, we delved into the history of the Olympic Games and pondered the Winter Olympic model in the context of climate change and the changes our mountainous regions are undergoing.
This EUSALP Youth Council internal event was financed by the EUSALP Swiss Presidency 2023 and organized in the framework of the Support EUSALP project.