JUNIOR AMBASSADORS/Does Europe belong to young people?
THE EPAS PROGRAMME
What is the European Union?
And the European Parliament?
How does one become a European citizen?
These are some of the questions we often try to answer when we hear talking about Europe. Simple questions, but ones that allow us to understand and participate in something that goes beyond geographical and cultural borders.
However, it is not always so clear to find answers to such questions.
It is precisely for this reason that our school has joined the EPAS (European Parliament Ambassador School) programme, a project that aims to inform young people about the EU and the opportunities it offers them, about its activities and those of MEPs.
Specifically, this project allows students in a class to become ambassadors of the European Parliament, thus becoming promoters of knowledge about the EU in their schools and on social media.
The class that has been designated as an ambassador of the European Parliament is the 4Clng class of the Rapallo site.
A JOURNEY OF MANY MEETINGS
During the second part of the year, class 4Clng took part in a number of in-depth meetings on the European Union.
First of all, the class had the opportunity to take part in an online meeting with the Italian representation of the European Parliament. Thanks to this meeting, the students were able to reconstruct, through an engaging and stimulating dialogue, the history of the European Union and the role of its institutional bodies.
Afterwards, the class took part in a meeting with a representative of the Antonio Megalizzi Foundation, the journalist and staunch pro-European who lost his life in the 11 December 2018 attack in Strasbourg. The representative of the foundation gave an interesting speech on what advantages a European citizen enjoys, especially when he or she moves from one member country to another.
Afterwards, the young ambassadors attended the presentation of the book ‘All for one – 33 stories to fall in love with Europe’ by Enrico Franceschini. In the book, he tells thirty-three stories about not only the countries that are part of the European Union, but also those that could become one or those that were and are no longer. This detail thus gave rise to a pleasant discussion in the meeting about what characteristics and traditions distinguish each European country and how the European union might change in the years to come.
To conclude the project, the class organised “La festa dell’Europa”, a day full of speeches and debates both with young people who are getting to grips with EU issues thanks to their university activities, and with high-profile personalities in the field of the European Union and popularisation, such as Gianluca Saba, head of the Europe Direct Centre in Genoa, Antonio Polito, deputy editor of “Il Corriere della Sera”, and Federico Rampini, journalist, writer and columnist of “Corriere della Sera” from New York.
WHAT DO THE YOUNG AMBASSADORS THINK OF THEIR EXPERIENCE?
At the end of a long, interesting and stimulating journey of discovery and deepening of the European Union, we asked the Junior Ambassadors to tell us their thoughts on the journey. Here there are their answers:
“I really enjoyed the training course we undertook with the representative of the European Parliament, who told us about the history and functions of the European institutions. I believe that this course helped us to grow in our sense of belonging to the European Union.”
– Giovanni Di Lauro
“At the end of this training course I can say that I know the European Union, an institution that allows me to live better, travel and experience.”
– Federico Raggio
“This experience has taught me what it means to be a European citizen; it involves not only rights but also duties and I feel I have become more aware of them.”
– Letizia Oneto
“Throughout the whole Europe Day I had a lot of food for thought about what my future will be and the importance of my choices. In particular, the variety of interlocutors (journalists, geopoliticians, professors, former students) allowed me to delve into the most diverse aspects of the European Union. I was very happy to have participated in this day which helped me a lot to better understand the country I live in.”
– Camilla Censori
“Thanks to this experience I learned a lot about the European Parliament and its functions, but what I really understood was what it means to be a European citizen. We are all part of this community even if sometimes we don’t realise it. We must not only ‘think Italian’ but we must ‘think EUROPEAN’.
– Martina Lautanio
“Thanks to this experience I learnt many things about the European Union that I didn’t know before. All the meetings were interesting and made me understand what it means to be a European citizen.”
“My experience during these months made me realise how beautiful the European Union is and how lucky I am to live within an institution that was born to protect my rights. I can now say that I know many more facets of the European Union.”
– Alice Gucciardo
“Thanks to this experience, in which we had the privilege to participate, we learnt and got to know all the rights and opportunities that the European Union offers us, and talked with important people about current issues and values that are often not given the right importance.”
– Giorgia Marcassoli
“Thanks to the various guests proposed by the school and our teachers we learnt something more about the country we live in; aspects that we often all take for granted.”
– Alice Dallorso
“The path undertaken to get to know the European Union has been a great source of culture for me; it has certainly helped me to understand more precisely what the European Union actually is.”
– Giulia Queirolo
“These meetings allowed us to stay more together as a class and share our opinions on various topics.”
– Ludovica Cassola
“The resourcefulness and perseverance of the young people who took part in the various meetings, the care taken in the explanations by the great speakers, but above all the passion of our lecturers were a great inspiration for me, so much so that I realised that this experience is only the beginning of a much bigger adventure.”
– Elisa Bona
“The experience was very important and very useful in making us understand and feel part of the European Union, thanks also to the various guests who helped us to analyse the positive and negative sides of Europe and explained how the situation could improve.”
– Francesco Garbarino
“All the meetings, and especially the last one, served to instil even more strongly in me – and I believe in the whole class – a curiosity for international issues concerning the EU, such as the delicate situation with Russia that we talked about so often.”
– Roberta Olivari
“Especially from the first meeting we had with the Italian representative of the European Parliament, I was very impressed and enjoyed being able to hear about the history and developments of the European Union.”
– Filippo Saudino
“These meetings have directed me, and all of us, to see new things, situations and to see the world in different ways, and this has led us to grow in everything.”
– Eva Cantoni
“It was really interesting, curious and exciting to participate in this project. Getting to know the faces of the surnames you often hear on TV or that are written in books, getting to know new realities, new jobs led me to a desire to enrich my knowledge and broaden my horizons.”
– Guia Bertolone
“The meeting with the Italian representative of the European Parliament, the meetings with the Megalizzi Foundation and finally the Europe Day were magical occasions to learn more about the European Union, very interesting for our path as Junior Ambassadors and essential for our future.”
– Nicolò Crippa
“This course has helped our entire class to have a greater appreciation of those around us, to broaden our horizons, but above all to be able to think and aspire to goals that are only possible with a united community committed to offering as many opportunities as possible to young people who dream of a bright future.”
– Axel Armijos
“The discovery of the laws that regulate this union and the rights and duties that this entails for all citizens allowed me to truly realise that I live in a united community, in which all the member states that are part of it work together for the process and the common good. This feeling of cooperation is alive in European citizens and this experience helped me to develop it in turn.”
– Marta Sormani
We can therefore conclude by saying that this course was particularly fascinating thanks to the passion and dedication shown by the guests and teachers throughout the training of the young European Parliament ambassadors; an experience that will certainly remain etched in the history of our school.