In September 2021, Ebba Fagerlund – a Young European Ambassador (YEA) from Sweden studying at the European University of Valencia – decided to get involved with a student association from her Spanish university: AEDRI (the Asociación de Estudiantes para el Derecho y las Relaciones Internacionales or Student Association for Law and International Relations).
This organisation caught her eye when its members visited first-year classes to recruit new students. Two main arguments convinced Ebba: a specific call and professionalism.
In May 2022, Ebba decided to get in touch with Nicolas Vande Kerckhove – a Young European Ambassador from Belgium and the head of the Partnership and Impact Working Group of the YEAs from the EU – to ask him if he was interested in creating a partnership with AEDRI. She decided to do so since the heads of the organisation encouraged every participant to collaborate with other organisations to create new partnerships. Moreover, they had also created big projects before and she was convinced that working with these proactive students could bring a new dynamic to the YEAs.
The timing was perfect. Indeed, the Young European Ambassadors are constantly looking for reliable and serious partners. Moreover, COVID was more or less behind us and our organisation is trying to set up more and more face-to-face projects. Furthermore, Ebba saw the potential in this partnership to make our project and the actions of the Eastern Partnership known in Spain.
Eventually, Nicolas, Ebba and Álvaro López Benavent – the head of AEDRI – decided to meet in person in July in Valencia to formalise their partnership.
The YEAs already planned another visit to Spain, but this time in October 2022. The aim is to give the AEDRI members a weekend workshop on what the Eastern Partnership does and who it is.
After several months of collaboration, we would like to pay tribute to our common work by interviewing Álvaro, President of AEDRI.
Could you tell us, in a nutshell, the story of the creation of your organisation?
AEDRI was created in Valencia in 2018, as an initiative promoted by law and international relations students. In view of the demands of the labour market, they sought to create a space in which to enhance their soft skills and abilities in these fields. Giving students a platform to grow personally and professionally. With a special focus on the creation and development of simulation environments for university students.
How many members does AEDRI have today? Is expansion important to you?
As of today, AEDRI has 42 members. Over the past year, the association has grown by almost 30 members. Expansion is clearly important, but it would do little good without a willingness to work. New people bring new ideas to the table. This is in fact how this partnership came into being.
Is the creation of this partnership between the Young European Ambassadors and your organisation a significant milestone for you? Would you like to cooperate more with the European Union in the future?
The creation of this partnership is quite important for our association. Being able to collaborate with the Youth European Ambassadors goes one step further in our line of work. Especially in our efforts to become more and more involved with EU affairs, as we have already started doing through our latest Model of the European Parliament, organised alongside the Universidad Europea de Valencia.
Do you think we could learn from each other? If yes, in which sense?
I believe we will be able to learn more from each other as this partnership develops. Youth engagement appears to be essential in the way both organisations work. And our experience and backgrounds complement each other well for this. Coupled with a growing interest in European affairs, I think this marks the beginning of a promising partnership.
Before ending this blog post, we would like to thank the entire team of AEDRI for this valuable collaboration. The YEAs are always happy to collaborate with independent organisations from different European countries. Keeping a critical and objective eye is important to the Young European Ambassadors, and working with students allows us to enhance the work of the European Commission.
And there is good news!
2022 offers new opportunities for face-to-face events – the Young European Ambassadors are heading to Valencia on 14 October for the “EaP Youth Workshop” and to inaugurate the biggest partnership of the year.
Interviewer: Nicolas Vande Kerckhove (Young European Ambassador from Belgium)
Interviewee: Álvaro López Benavent
Date of the interview: September 2022
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