I would consider serving on the EUSALP Youth Council a fantastic opportunity to become acquainted with people who are not only my neighbors but may soon be, if they are not already, my compatriots. European idea, as I understand it, is a beacon for the world, seemingly always ready to tear itself apart. The notion of uniting so many different nations and tribes, without the use of force and without exploitative undertones has never been tried on such a scale. Realizing the importance and magnitude of the idea should propel us all to dedicate some little part of ourselves to this greater cause. I would dedicate myself to this council. True and lasting cooperation is always inspired from the bottom up. A cottage on solid ground will last longer than a castle built upon sand. I am fortunate enough to have some understanding of each culture’s history, struggles, mentality and I have my upbringing to thank for installing in me the principles of just unification in preference to short sided nationalistic divisions and respectful curiosity rather than fear of others and of what may seem foreign.
While Alpine states share a geographical closeness and their respective cultures had to deal with same obstacles in the region, each developed their own approaches and points of view. The heterogenic nature of our experiences is a powerful arsenal in our hands. We chose to share our best and our worst. We must not strive for complete harmonization of people and practises, but work and act as defenders of their history and voice of their future.
The Alps and their surrounding area are of course one of this world’s most breathtaking landscapes which in my view must be protected in perpetuity from influence of profit seekers and narrow private interests and developed at governmental and intragovernmental levels, with participation of NGOs, businesses, clubs, preservation and other societies and population at large. Above all we must listen to people who live and work in the region and respect and address their needs instead of providing blanket and expansive solutions to problems which stem from misunderstanding the culture of the region. We are not the owners of the Alps; we are custodians who will hand over the care of European giants to the future. Democracy is a frame, not a picture; it requires participation not mere observation. It doesn’t tell us what to think, what to say, what to dress, who to love, only that we engage with what we consider foreign and that which frightens us. It is on us to fill the frame with substance, using reason and compassion. And it is hard. But someone has to do it.
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