The participants from the University of Uppsala, Trinity College Dublin, Scuola Galileiana di Studi Superiori University of Padua, the University of Granada, the University of Deusto and EDIW took part in the summer seminar of the DARE+ Project, from the 11th to the 16th June, focused on capacity building and EU awareness. EDIW, as the host organisation, had planned an intense week, in which the coordinators Ainara Bordes and Mikel IgartuaTwo young people who have spent six months in an internship at EDIW headquarters in Brussels, guided the participants. They made sure the experience was both enriching and pleasant for all of us.
The week started off with some very inspiring videos brought by the participants, which showed the capacities developed – Social Entrepreneurship, Project Design and Implementation, Conflict Resolution and Intercultural Competence– being put into practice in projects undertaken by different institutions and individuals: a collective restaurant in Sweden, an urban bicycle project in Italy, or a social entrepreneurship project in Spain were some examples discussed in the group.
Being at the very heart of Europe, a visit to the European Institutions was mandatory. And of course, being a DARE+ project, we wanted to go one step further: we would meet with policy makers at the Commission and discuss key aspects in the building of a better EU in which we believe that we, as young people, can make a positive impact: education, immigration, development, gender equality, inclusion, cooperation, youth... Needless to say, this experience was one of the highlights of the seminar.
The next day the participants had the chance to meet at the Parliament with an MEP from their country of origin. They discussed previously agreed topics regarding current EU challenges. There was a feeling of trust in which the participants could identify a will to make a better European Project from the institutions.
The last part of the seminar focused on the preparation and implementation of a role-play in which the participants had to represent the interests of EU countries assigned to them regarding two topics: educational policy and integration policy. Sharing ideas and approaches was such an intense process that the participants would forget that it was nothing but a simulation, while defending vehemently their countries’ interests.
There was also time during the seminar to enjoy the city’s cultural and leisure offer, and the spare time together helped the participants bond, whether over an artisanal beer downtown or singing one hit wonders at a karaoke.
After the seminar, we cannot help but ask ourselves: Are we willing to offer our competences to the European Project? What do we want our role in the future EU to be? Do we dare imagine?