The Southern European Summer University Experience!

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Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu

Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu is a programme associate at the World YWCA.  She was a participant at the the Southern European Summer University, a conference initiative for youth based organisations

The Southern European Summer University (SESU) is a youth training and consultation process that was held in Alghero (Sardinia), Italy from the 29th of July to the 3rd of August.

Hosted by the Italian National Youth Forum – Forum Nazionale dei Giovani (FNG), and designed to bring together representatives from European National Youth Councils and International Non Governmental Youth Organisations (NGYOs), SESU’s main fields of collaboration were advocacy, youth work, development, international and global cooperation

The experience of working with a regional youth platform, especially one that is as well structured as the European Youth Forum (YJF) was entirely new to me. The youth forum is an extraordinary platform for involvement, representation, empowerment, recognition and encouragement of young people across Europe. It works in collaboration with members from National Youth Councils, from member countries in Europe as well as International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations.

Before coming to Europe, I had not been acquainted with my own regional youth platform in Asia, but after an inspiring 4 days of discussions, I am determined to initiate participation as soon as I  return to India. The YFJ sets itself up as a fine model of institutionalisation and youth involvement. In my time in Sardinia, I observed various deliberations around procedures of the YJF, roles of the YFJ’s board of management and its rules of procedure around membership of youth organisations.

The SESU also had working groups on two other youth based institutions, the Advisory Council and European youth programmes, in particular the Erasmus Programme.

FNG did a phenomenal job in organising the SESU, and the commitment of their pool of trainers was inspiring. I hope the YJF continues to work on its present objectives but also explores the possibility of the platform setting itself as a case in point for other regions in the world. The role of organisations like the YWCA as a member of the platform is crucial in this area, because the YJF has good practices and well structured democratic governance, which would be ideal to disseminate. Through the YWCA, the platform could be used as an exhibit or even an opportunity for training towards youth based organisations in the world.

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