Blog: A special multilateral youth exchange in Strasbourg
Between 6 and 10 June, 40 students and young professionals from Azerbaijan, Armenia, France, and Germany met in Strasbourg (France) to take part in an intercultural programme, among them five Young European Ambassadors (YEAs). The exchange week was dedicated to the topic “New fields of cooperation in the frame of the EU Eastern Partnership – how can youth contribute to its future?” and was organised mainly by the Franco–German Youth Office, Rue de la Mémoire and the Europäische Akademie Otzenhausen.
The programme of the week was tight: it included several intercultural activities, different expert discussions and a visit to the Council of Europe. Despite the short time, we learned a lot about the other countries and the different challenges these young people are facing back home. Nevertheless, what is even more important, we got to know each other (a little better) and learned about what we have in common and that we are striving for the same goals, namely a just and peaceful world. Through different discussions, we gained positive inspirations for peaceful cooperation on different levels. Moreover, we introduced to each other our youth engagement and/or initiatives, in which we are involved back home. That’s how we could build bridges among all participants and deepen our new relationships. Our network is now bigger and already stronger than before.
For me, coming from Germany, it was the first time meeting people from Azerbaijan and Armenia, and for many of them, it was even their first time in Europe. That’s why we were all very curious and had different expectations when coming to France. After this week, I have to say that I am very grateful to have had the chance to participate in this unique opportunity as this wasn’t a usual exchange. This meeting was of special importance to our friends from Azerbaijan and Armenia as it was their first youth encounter after the latest conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Therefore, it wasn’t only about coming to Europe, but also to have the chance to raise their voices. I do really hope that this kind of event can be repeated, and we can pick up where we left off. In this regard, a big thank you to all country’s Ministries for enabling this important exchange. We laid down the foundation on which we can now build strong and trustful relationships and maybe work together on sustainable projects for our common future.
It remains for me to say that I encourage everyone to once take part in such a multilateral project! You will definitely learn a lot and have fun together. In order to find similar projects in your country, I recommend you to do some research on the websites of your country’s official ministries or to look for NGOs in your region. You can also check the trilateral programmes of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) here, and the posts of SALTO YOUTH here to get the latest information. I, therefore, wish you all positive experiences and long-lasting relationships because we are stronger together!
Before finishing, here is a culinary tip from our French friend Thomas Pelletier, who led us through the beautiful old town of Strasbourg in our free time. When you are visiting Strasbourg and want to try something from the region, you can go to Flam’s. There you can try different “Flammekueche”, which is typical Alsatian. Even though Flam’s is a chain, we all enjoyed our tarte flambée. And if your whole table orders “FORMULES À VOLONTÉ” you will get as many Flammekueche of one type as you can eat. Alors, bon appétit!
Looking forward to seeing you all next time, Nicole
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