The European Youth Parliament is currently one of the largest European platforms for political debate, intercultural encounters, political educational work and the exchange of ideas among young people in Europe with 20,000 students participating in regional, national and international events each year.
In this year’s Spanish National session participants first divided into different committees and took part in a variety of teambuilding exercises which helped break the ice and forge close bonds between students. The young delegates then started to work on a current European political issue and tried to compose a joint resolution for future action. Felipe and Jaime were working in committees aiming to find a suitable European response to the challenges posed by the situations in Syria and Iran whilst David was debating what measures the EU should adopt to defend the rights of national minorities within Europe. Finally, the resolutions were debated in a parliamentary General Assembly following the model of the European Parliament.
The three Caxton students will now participate in an international session of the European Youth Parliament where they will meet and work with young people from across Europe. Felipe, Jaime and David can look forward to attending an event in Amsterdam later this year or Munich in Spring 2013.
Quotes from 3 participants and Mr McElwaine:
“It is much more than just a competitive event. There is a real emphasis placed on getting to know people from different parts of Spain. I had a lot of fun.It has given me much more confidence about speaking in public. I’ve also become much more interested in politics and issues that are affecting Europe today.”
Felipe de Murga
“I wanted to take part because I was interested in politics and debating. I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet lots of new people with shared interests but sometimes different views. Through the competition I have learnt more about a number of political issues, for example the situation in Syria. Taking part has given me a great appreciation of the difficulties that politicians and diplomats face when trying to solve these problems.”
“Participating in the event, you must learn to listen to and respect other people’s opinions and then try to find a common position. I met some really interesting people in just four days. I’m really excited about the opportunity I am going to have to meet people from all across Europe in the International Sessions which last 9 days!”
“All three students performed fabulously well. The EYP provides a wonderful opportunity for students to develop a range of key skills, from diplomacy and consensus building, to public speaking and leadership. Felipe, Jaime and David grew in confidence as the session went on and demonstrated lots of the skills and attributes the judges were looking for. They will be excellent ambassadors for Caxton, Valencia and Spain at the international sessions!”