We have gathered at the HYF (The Hague Youth Factory) on the afternoon/evening of the 18th May 2019. It was been a lovely sunny day, and we were a group of 30 international people (21 from the Netherlands, 2 from Portugal, 3 from Romania, 1 from Poland, 1 from United Kingdom, 1 from Macedonia and 1 from Hungary) who is living in the Netherlands. The majority was a young public, with 2/3 being young people till 30 years old and we had represented 9 organizations/companies.
The opening of the event was a lovely talk with 3 young Dutch ladies telling us about their international experience in Estonia, under the programme Erasmus plus. They were very touched by the exchange of cultures and knowledge, with 6 different European countries. This made them understand the richness of different perspectives and expressions within the European Union.
This was followed by a super tasty dinner with a lot of vegetarian and vegan options and a wide selection of drinks. We could then enjoy worldwide music played by two talented Dutch musicians – Jaime Nanoha & Juliana Martina. We could close our eyes and travel the world with our imagination to understand how much beauty there is in the world and that we can only profit by integrating diversity into our music and lives!
After this warm-up, we jumped into the theme of our night – European elections in May 2019! Divided in smaller groups to ensure that everyone can easily express their opinion, we add 3 activities to perform.
The first was the quiz – “Who wants to be European?”. By using a similar visual identity of the known TV programme “Who wants to be a millionaire?”, we created a quiz with 8 questions focusing on the European Parliament elections 2019. The content included facts about the Elections and its process, the role of the UK and consequences if a country leaves the EU, what are the functions of the European Parliament and why we should vote. The end question was intended as an invitation to start a dialogue about the topic. We must say that some participants were skeptic regarding the role and power that voting can have in change the Europe to what they would like. Others were very enthusiastic to defend the duty of voting responsibly in order to convey our message and change Europe in the desirable direction. Despite some different perspectives, it was unanimous that it is important to vote in the elections and all group is committed to do so.
The second activity was an invitation to reflect in the Europe we want to live in, with us being active members in creating this space. We had flip charts, paint, markers and our creativity to express in participatory way the future of Europe. Equality was the main word of the night. The group express the need to be more humane, to redistribute opportunities to all, to create a healthier community. The European desirable portrait is: less discrimination, more acceptance, more respect for our environment/planet, sustainable solutions to deal with problems, a holistic perspective when analyzing the challenges, more gender equality, more solidarity towards migrants and refugees… Our challenge: we are not there yet, and that implies the involvement of all of us!
The last but not the least was to leave a message in our canvas for the future European Parliament. Without any censorship and let the public totally free to express themselves, gathered the following messages: respecting the environment and going green, do not follow populist ideas and politicians as Trump, to unit, promote equality, choose love and inclusion over hate and to be more efficient and coherent!
The evening goes on with the dream of having a better Europe and by listening good DJ’s and enjoying each otherÂ´s company… It was a lovely evening!