Twenty YEAs in Naples: a fruitful brainstorming to define our next steps in the network

Twenty YEAs in Naples: a fruitful brainstorming to define our next steps in the network

March 29, 2022

With pandemic restrictions finally beginning to ease across Europe, Young European Ambassadors (YEAs) from across the European Union finally had the opportunity to meet in person between 17 and 20 February 2022 in the beautiful city of Naples, Italy. The gathering was organised and supervised by our wonderful coordinators: Maria Pia Napoletano, Arpine Hakhinyan, Anastasia Esanu, Robbe Demuynck, and Georgi Kakulia.

Before embarking on my flight, I did not know what to expect from this experience; all I knew was that I would meet individuals eager to leave a positive impact on EU and Eastern Partnership affairs. Once landed in Naples, I found myself with 19 other Young European Ambassadors: I instantly recognised some of the faces from past online meetings, but others were unknown to me. I didn’t believe it was possible to get to know each of them and form a close relationship during the course of three days, but I was entirely wrong. The way in which these three days were structured, not only allowed us to get to know each other, but gave us the time to establish a strong connection and friendship based on mutual respect and understanding.

The goal of the first day of our meeting was to establish a welcoming atmosphere and get to know each other a little better. As a result, certain icebreaker activities were planned. The picture game was one of several games that caught my interest. While the music was playing, we had to hand each other a sheet of paper with our names on it, and as soon as the music stopped, we had to draw one portion of the face of the person to whom that page belonged. We were each left with 20 portraits at the end of the game. It was extremely interesting to see how people perceived one another from an external perspective. Further, this allowed us to better connect names with faces.

On our second day, we spent a significant portion of the day brainstorming on a variety of themes, including communication, campaigning, and detailed planning for the coming year’s events. We were split into several groups to ensure that every one of us got the most out of the exercise. Overall, it was a fascinating and successful exercise, since it enabled us to debate and exchange fresh ideas on how to improve the effect of our activities and create cohesiveness between the EU and the Eastern Partner countries.

On our last day, we got the opportunity to present the concepts we had prepared the day before. It was a time of active listening as well as Q&A with the various groups. Furthermore, it provided an opportunity for self-reflection and a focus on our responsibilities in the network in the near future. Overall, my coworkers and I were instilled with a strong feeling of drive and desire to pursue the tasks that lie ahead in the next months. The workshop activities were improved even more by our time spent roaming about Naples and exploring the city. Our discussions were incredibly focused on both our goal and the aspirations that we wanted to see come to fruition.

Overall, this experience has had a significant influence on my character, as I’ve recognised that I’m working with people who are eager to offer their expertise to a common good for the future of our EU and Eastern Partnership relationship. I am really excited to see what the future holds for our network, and no matter how difficult it may be, I am certain that I will be backed up by genuine individuals who, no matter where they live in Europe, will always be there to encourage one another.

Twenty YEAs in Naples: a fruitful brainstorming to define our next steps in the network

Robin Kumar is an Italian national of Indian origins. He is a graduate in Criminology and Sociology from St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London. Currently, he is an MLitt candidate in International Security Studies at St Andrews University in Scotland. Robin was appointed Young European ambassador for Italy and the United Kingdom in the summer of 2020. He has been working in collaboration with other young leaders from all around Europe. His main interest dwells in the study of societal issues that derive from illicit political decisions, specifically, those concerning human security, human harm, and crimes of the powerful.

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