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Eastern Partnership Project Newsletter #1 Dec 2011 Issue 1

Inside this issue:

Dear reader, We are happy that this moment came and you are able to read first edition of the AEGEE Eastern Partnership newsletter! In this edition we will try to make you understand more what is Eastern Partnership project about, what we are focusing on and how we are going to achieve our objectives. Also you will be able to get some information concerning conferences on the Eastern Partnership topic organised by external organisations which were attended by our project members, as well as you will have a review of our first but really successful

Action Days. Apart from this you will be able to read an interview with the President of AEGEE-Europe Alfredo Sellitti, who was one of the people developing an initial concept of the Eastern Partnership topic in AEGEE and who has recently participated at 2 big conferences on these issues. So enjoy reading and be ready to work with us in 2012!


Pillars overview


EaP in OctoberNovember


EaP Action Days: Budapest and Passau


SALTO Youth Forum


EBM 2012 Izmir




Merry Christmas and Happy New 2012 Year! Your Eastern Partnership project team

Subscribe to our Newsletter and latest news:  Eastern Partnership Project

Project overview Probably you’ve heard already a lot about the Eastern Partnership project which was created this year in AEGEE but you still not sure what is it about and what we are aiming for. I hope with this article it will become clearer for you and you will be even more motivated to cooperate with us! Idea of working on the direction of the integration

Project overview

Special points of interest: our East part of the Network came to minds of the Comite Directeur 20102011 already in August 2010. Why? We’ve noticed that Eastern Partnership initiative is becoming a popular topic within European Union; we were expecting Polish Presidency which is currently happening to be focused on the Eastern Partnership 1

initiative as one the priorities; we were aware of the situation in these countries and obstacles which young people from the East facing every day. We’ve decided that AEGEE as an international organisation which is present in the target countries for almost 20 years should take this initiative and work at the

EaP project at Autumn Agora Struga

EaP project at Civil Society Forum

New about EaP project members

Interview with President of AEGEE-Europe

“ Ensure equal opportunities for young people from Eastern Partnership countries and EU member states.”

same direction as a lot of European organisations are working now.

of the project and in May we’ve created a team out of 16 people.

Within December 2010 we’ve done a research on current situation in all 6 countries and defined which problems currently do exist in this region and what AEGEE could focus on. As a result of this research the Eastern Partnership Agenda was developed and distributed to the Network.

In November we’ve select few more people and currently our project consist of 25 people from 16 different countries! Inside of the project team we have 4 different teams working: pillar teams and coordination team of the whole project.

Next our step was to create a team. In February we’ve selected 4 people from the Network who was working on the concept development

At the beginning of this month we’ve managed to submit our final project outline for the approval and hope to become an AEGEEEurope project in the nearest future.

Active Citizenship Pillar The Active Citizenship Pillar is far not the least part of the Eastern Partnership Project. This part of the Eastern Partnership was created in order to deal with the activeness of citizens in the Eastern Partnership countries – we want to tell them that it is really important to participate at the decisionmaking processes through becoming a member of different NGOs. We also

want them to know their rights and responsibilities in terms of visa issues – young volunteers should know how, where and with which objective to apply for a visa and when the right time to point out the Visa Code is. And at the same time be part of the rest of Europe through cooperation and observation missions and support cultural exchanges in their full scale. Members of the

perspective. Aiming for sharing of the possibilities of these programs ‚Youth Mobility in education‛ Pillar was created. Here we strive to promote existing programs, to lobby for opening up Erasmus for EaP countries and to foster processes of the recognition of non-formal education. We want to show best practices of young people that already benefit and encourage students to apply for

• Ensure equal opportunities for young people from Eastern Partnership countries and EU member states, • Improve the knowledge about cultural, historical, political background of target countries within AEGEE Network. We are working on 3 main directions Youth mobility in education, Conflict Resolution and Active Citizenship. More details you will find further in this digest.

Conflict Resolution Pillar pillar are members from a variety of European countries and already are very dedicated to this Project. It is a great success when we see that people who ever had problem like the ones in Eastern Partnership countries are so much into the topic. More info about our Pillar will come on the next Newsletter!

Youth Mobility in Education pillar How to become leader of tomorrow? That’s good question for young student nowadays. Surely, education plays crucial role on forming compatible competences for the successful career of your dream. European educational and mobility programs with its multinational environment provide with unique opportunity to gain profound professional knowledge of European processes from an internal

Our project is focusing on 2 general goals:

programs by spreading information and making application process more understandable. AEGEE locals can contribute for our aims in giving possibility to have a chance for brighter future by organizing Youth Mobility Action Days, Local conferences on NFE that we support in cooperation with HED project. All ideas for cooperation are highly welcome!


Conflict Resolution Pillar of Eastern Partnership Project, which exists from the first day of the establishment of the project, could be fairly considered as one of the most complicated, as well as one of the most important pillars of whole EaP Project. In reality the Eastern Partnership Programme of the EU does not envisage any actions, which may be aimed to the resolution of the existing conflicts in the EaP region. But in AEGEE we truly believe that existing conflicts are a big obstacle for the civil societies, and particularly for the youth, to develop cooperation in other spheres of life. So, the Conflict Resolution Pillar has an aim to overcome the consequences of existing conflicts, to establish civil dialogue between youth from the conflicting states and to develop and promote peace and stability in the EaP region. The CRP consist of highly motivated AEGEE members from all over network, who do not have any stereotypes, are tolerant and ready to develop big regional and European project and to achieve practical results in the mentioned field.

Autumn Agora Struga 2011 This Agora was very important for our project. Why? It was the first official presentation of the project to the Network, first our workshop, first participation at the AEGEE-Fair and first meeting of 5 members of the team, most of which never seen each other in real life. At the first day of the Agora we’ve organised a workshop on the Eastern Partnership topic which was attended by almost 40 people. It was really nice to see so many

people interested in the current situation in the target country and level of the democracy there. As we had majority of people from non EaP countries present I think for them it was quite interesting to hear opinion of the people from Ukraine (as it’s only one EaP country which was represented there), but also to give their own opinion on democracy in such countries as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine as well as Greece, Italy or Germany.

We were also present at the AEGEE-Fair with our creative puzzle and survey which was filled by more than 30 people. And of course one of the greatest moments of the Agora – possibility to present our project to the whole Network! These 3 minutes of the presentations made us being proud of work we are doing!

[Everyone enjoyed puzzle game]

Thanks once again to all people supporting us and believing in us!

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum The third Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum took place in Poznan, Poland from 28.11 to 30.11. The president of AEGEEEurope Alfredo Sellitti and the President of AEGEEYerevan and Content Manager of Eastern Partnership Project Shushan Khachatryan participated in the forum for the first time on behalf of AEGEE. The Civil Society Forum is an integral part of the Eastern Partnership programme. Every year it is held in a

country currently presiding over the Council of the European Union. The main task of the event is to discuss problems of nongovernmental organisations and civil society in the EaP countries. The discussion is held in a large circle of activists, community workers, experts and politicians. This year the speakers and participants highlighted the importance of the efforts the EU Polish Presidency invests in Eastern Partnership in

general and the respective Civil Society Forum in particular. AEGEE was involved in the forth Working Group. One of the progresses of this working group was the formation of Youth subgroup, where has been many discussions about the future activities mainly addressing the cooperation of youth in EaP countries and EU member states. AEGEE emphasizes the importance of participation in this forum as AEGEE

locals in Eastern Partnership Countries are an integral part of our AEGEE network. Furthermore AEGEE plans number of activities to address young people in these countries as of its focus area (Bridging Europe) and the new ‚Eastern Partnership Project‛ initiated by AEGEE members. So consequently we think that more youth NGO-s should be given the opportunity to be involved in the forum and contribute to the discussions of the working group both in local and European level.

Fostering Civil Society’s role in the Eastern Partnership countries On October 20-21 Alfredo Sellitti, President of AEGEE Europe, and Eastern Partnership Project main team members – Daryna Skryl and Shushan Khachatryan participated in the Congress organized by EMI (Yerevan, Armenia) to discuss the role of Civil Society’s for further European integration. 3

Congress finished with following outcomes. Nonformal education provided by youth NGOs should be fully recognized and adequately supported. Participants proposed a set of recommendations towards fight against visa restrictions, namely encouragement of information exchange on established practices;

encouraging youth NGOs to establish/join alliances advocating visa-free actions; asking the European Union member states to grant ‚home student status‛ to all the students coming from the European Partnership countries; asking Armenia and Azerbaijan to abolish visa restrictions for EU citizens.

EaP Action Days: Budapest and Passau 23.11.11 AEGEE-Passau organised EaP Action Day, dedicated to Belarus issue. Elina Aksionova, a member from Minsk, has prepared the presentation about her country. There were about 35 members of AEGEEPassau who came to the event.

The initiative of the Eastern Partnership Project from AEGEE-Europe, the Eastern Partnership Action Days had it first occasion in Budapest. The event was organized by the main members of the local International Politics Working Group of AEGEE-Budapest with wide range of various topics which covered the main aims of the project. During the Action Day there was a presentation about the Eastern Partnership Project, about its main field of actions and the aims of the pillars. The timing of the event was great, the participants of the Action Day were really influenced by possibilities of youth NGO cooperation and some project ideas were born during the LTC in connection with the Eastern Partnership and the Youth in Action programme. Besides the initiative the main topics of the presentations and round table discussions covered the following themes:

Attendants were interested in knowing the culture and language. There was an interactive multiple choice surveys about the political system, history, life standards, minimum and medium incomes and price of the food and 1week holiday. Special attention was paid to current political situation in the country which causes limitations to youth NGOs and democratic freedoms. During the presentation the differences between Belarusian and Russian languages were cleared. It was a fun to disapprove the fact that Belorussia was a part of the Roman Empire. Cultural part of the Action Day was presented with tasting delicious Belorussian ‚bliny‛ (pancakes), listening to typical songs played through a Belorussian ‘Facebook’ which was impressive because it’s possible to find any Belorussian song, video or film you want (what is not typical to Germany because of music copyrights).

  

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Russo-Georgian conflict of 2008 Youth mobility programmes and EUEaP NGO cooperation possibilities.

EaP at SALTO-Youth Forum on Volunteering On 5-7th December the Eastern Partnership Project PR Responsible Daryna Skryl participated in Forum „Eastern Dimension of Volunteering‛. Topic of the Forum and its programme was mainly dedicated on the International Volunteer Day.

opportunities, possible to get being a volunteer, are positive experience, networking, teamwork and new knowledge. Eastern Partnership Project was presented to participants during the panel discussion devoted to Eastern Partnership and Youth. General impression from the project was positive, supported by representatives from European Commission and other European NGOs.

Participants discussed the reasons for becoming a volunteer, differences between international and national volunteering, local impact of these programmes and criteria of successful projects. It was agreed that nowadays many young people search for personal development through volunteering, as main

Sophie Lemel and Rita Mockute from EACEA (European Commission) provided a lot of


information about Eastern Partnership Youth Window and claimed for more applications, since in 2012 the European Commission is going to distribute unprecedented amount of money to finance exchanges with Eastern Europe and the Caucasus (EEAC) countries. Final word and official closure of the forum was done by Tomasz Bratek, Head of the Polish National Agency of the Youth in Action Programme, with hope that after forum the participants will be inspired to take up new challenges and will work for the sake of young people.

Upcoming events - EBM Izmir Eastern Partnership Project will be hopefully discussed throughout the upcoming EBM Izmir 2012. Eastern Partnership is preparing and developing workshops on several topics and also there might be a possibility of an open space discussion, which would be also attractive for Eastern Partnership topics.

AEGEE members about the project, as many of them really have no idea where this project belongs to or what exactly is doing. The workshop then will be directed to explain the issues of Eastern countries and try to figure out some solutions and get possible outcome from research and observation.

The workshop should in the first place, raise awareness of

Definitely, Partnership

the will

Eastern be also

presented at the AEGEE-Fair, where with the help of cool gadgets and attractive idea tell people about our activities, show our achievements so far and future events. The Fair is always a very good possibility to share ideas, and especially this EBM will be very special in terms of organized thematical content which is perfect for our cause.

Alfredo Sellitti’s scope on AEGEE and Eastern Partnership Alfredo Sellitti is the President of AEGEE-Europe and the person who brought a significant impact on development of the Eastern Partnership topic in AEGEE. We've asked few questions concerning his current view on actual issues. What is the current role and position of AEGEE among youth NGOs? How important is its role in lobbying various issues on European level?

Let’s make Europe better together!

On European Level AEGEE is neither the biggest nor the exclusive students' organisation. However AEGEE brings a valid added value to European Policies, mostly through the platforms AEGEE is member of. And in those, AEGEE has quite a relevant voice for the specificity of the structure that we have, that brings an added value to our position. What cooperation do you see between AEGEE and European Organisations? Which topics should they be devoted?

You still can join us!

I see cooperation as a long term strategy of work together, with the possibility to develop different projects; in this sense any topic is perfect for cooperation, as far as it represents an interest for AEGEE. Do you want to help your members to broad theirs horizons and to get education international experience? If YES, than join Youth Mobility Action Days by Eastern Partnership Project! The Eastern Partnership Project aims to bring equal opportunities for youth from EaP and EU countries!!! Let’s do it together! Express your interest to by 22nd of December 2011.


How do you consider Eastern Partnership project current progress? EaP project can do a lot, and achieve great results to bring to the outer society. But this is possible only with strong determination of members and with a daring approach that doesn't go too far from the reality: a mix of pragmatism and idealism is the perfect recipe for it. You have participated in Eastern Partnership Civil Society forum recently. Which important conclusions did you get from there? Please describe what is the overall impression of the event? The EaP Civil Society Forum has quite some potential, but for now it still represents a bubble: most of the biggest European Organisations were missing, resulting in a lower perspective of success. What will you wish for Christmas to AEGEE members? :) I wish AEGEE members to be proud of them selves while looking back at this year, and to face bravely every challenge that will pop up in the future! This issue was prepared by Eastern Partnership Project Team: Alla Resheten, Armenak Minasyants, Jana Pokorna, Olena Senko, Shushan Khachatryan, Tom Keller Special thanks to: Alfredo Sellitti, Elena Toader Editor-in-chief: Daryna Skryl

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