Many persons when talking about North Africa, Middle East and Europe tend to focus on the differences there exist in these countries when in actual fact many things are common between us. We share the same history and also the same concerns. Yet, the focus still tends to shift to what divides us rather than what unites us. It is also true that many times the things that are different from one country to another are the things that enrich us and make us appreciate more the Mediterranean region with its diverse cultures and traditions. The key is therefore to find common grounds while appreciating the differences and focus on dialogue. It is for this reason that AEGEE-Valletta decided to come up with a project that indeed focuses on inter-cultural dialogue and inclusion with the name of ‘Raising the Bar: Euromed A Way Forward’.
This Training Course, funded under Action 3 of the Youth in Action Programme, offered an opportunity to the partners involved to reflect on issues which are common to all countries coming from the EU/Mediterranean region. The training course thus focused mainly on three issues:
1. Inter-cultural dialogue enhanced through intercultural communication
2. Inclusion and young people in EU/Mediterranean region within a European context
3. Project Management and active participation of young people in an innovative and creative way.
This training resulted in opportunities for the youth leaders invited to actively participate; thus stimulating initiative, innovation and entrepreneurship. Therefore, the event generated an environment to support partner’s capacity building in the region on topics of inclusion and intercultural communication. It was run over 5 days and saw 30 participants coming from 10 different countries from all over the Mediterranean, namely: Malta, Greece, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Palestine, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey and Morocco.
'Preserving the present, saving our future' was the theme of a conference organised by AEGEE Valletta in March last year. It brought some 300 young participants to learn, discuss and propose recommendations about the future of Europe. The initiative has been chosen as the national project for Malta in view of the next step, which is the award of the prize from amongst projects from all 28 EU countries. The national jury was composed of MEPs Marlene Mizzi and Roberta Metsola, together with KSU representative Yanica Sant.
The project was submitted by Andrew Bartolo on behalf of AEGEE Valletta. It revolved around two parts in which participants learned about present Europe and then discussed perspectives for the future. Different workshops addressed issued such as the impact of the economic crisis on young people and recommendations to address new challenges for the European project. Panels brought together academics and representatives of the youth civil society, with a balanced representation of men and women and geographical origins.
According to the jury, "the AEGEE project was very strong in offering practical examples of Europeans living together as one community, as well as in the involvement of young people representing several member states". The next step will see the project assessed by the European jury, consisting of three MEPs and the President of the European Parliament and four representatives of the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen, which will select the winner from the 28 projects submitted by national juries.
The Department of International Relations is organising a guest lecture on "In the driving seat - An insider's view of the challenge of handling the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union" on Thursday 10th October 2013, between 1100 - 1300hrs in the Mediterranean Institute, Room 122.
Guest lecturer is Dr Peter Agius, Head, European Parliament Information Office in Malta.
For further information please contact the Department of International Relations on 2340 3083 or Ms Valentina Cassar.
Dr Peter Agius
Dr Peter Agius worked for the Council of the European Union from 2002 to 2012. His tasks at the Council included advising the rotating Presidency on the handling of negotiations in the Council, assisting in the shaping of Council compromises through COREPER and Council and advising the Presidency in negotiations with the European Parliament.
Since 2010 he has also assisted a series of Member States in the training and preparation of national officials in advance of their term in the Presidency. Dr Agius is presently the head of the European Parliament Office in Malta.
The lecture will give the participants an applied insight into the practice of the rotating Presidency as an agent for compromise within the Council and as a negotiator with MEPs in the advancement and conclusion of dossiers on the Union's legislative agenda. The lecture will be based on personal first hand experiences and will be followed by an open question and answer session.
(Any views expressed are personal and do not reflect the positions of the European Institutions.)
by Michaela Zahra
Dates : 28th Feb – 3rd March
EBM Valletta 2013, my first official AEGEE event, which turned out to be such a grand event! The whole definition of AEGEE still wasn’t clear in my mind at that time but then I understood that it takes participation and experience to actually understand the full concept and understanding of it all!
I was assigned the role of incoming at one of the accommodations that we had, that of Kastell, a medium sized B&B found in Tarxien. My role was explained clearly by the Sec Gen; Bernice and on Thursday I got down to business with Catia, one of the interns of AEGEE – VALLETTA.
We settled down in the lobby of the Kastell and started working immediately as there were some participants who had already slept overnight. Thankfully Catia and myself were the best combination, as I spoke English, Maltese and Italian and she spoke German, French and Spanish!
Our role was to give them the welcome pack, hand them their room key and finalize some payments. We were quite busy as participants were arriving all the time and we were limited for space, but we managed to finish the job and finally it was our time to get ready for the opening ceremony which was held at the Verdala Palace in Buskett followed by an after party held at Club Miami, Numero Uno.
The next day, Catia and myself were assigned to wake the participants up, they probably hated it! Thankfully Catia tried to make the situation more pleasant by putting on some music to put the participants in a good mood! Can’t help but mention that some Turks offered to help us wake up the participants by waking up the other fellow Turks (which quite a few!). Breakfast was served and off to the Valletta University they went!
The Opening Plenary took place and I quite enjoyed the fact that every antenna has their own way of making themselves sound and showing their presence, obviously the loudest antenna had to be an Italian antenna, that of Aegee Napoli. The German antennas that were going to hold the SPRING AGORA threw out some rubber ducks stating that whoever got hold of one of them had a free drink at the following opening ceremony of the AGORA.
After the plenary, everyone was assigned to separate rooms according to the workshops they had signed up for. After everything was finished we returned to Kastell and prepared for the theme party of the night, 50 shades of Grey held at Qube in Paceville.
The same waking up procedure took place in the morning and this time they were sent off to the University of Malta in Msida were the rest of the programme was going to be held for the weekend. That night the European night was held at the Kastell, were each and every antenna had their own stand with their traditional food and drinks. Being more of a friendlier and cosier environment I managed to speak and socialize with more people apart from the 100 participants I was looking after in Kastell.
Sunday, the final day, the remaining workshops were held and the closing ceremony of the Plenary took place. Unfortunately the Maltese organizers had to take part in a dare set up by the Turks as they stole our Antenna Flag. We could call this as an Aegee Tradition as flags are continuously stolen during events and usually harsh dares take place to receive the flag in return!
The last party was the Hat themed party which was held at Footloose in Paceville. We made sure that we partied hard as it was our final night all together.
That same night some participants had to leave and the goodbyes started. It was quite sad but we made sure that we said ‘It is not a goodbye but a see you later somewhere in Europe’
I enjoyed every second of the event, even though I thought that things were going to be different due to being a newbie I felt so comfortable in a family oriented environment with the new friends I made. Due to the Turks being the majority they made sure that they left an impact on the little community that we had become, they came with the term Kastell Kanka which means “The Kastell Bro” and it is guaranteed that this term is going to be used anytime we meet one of us somewhere in Europe!