Introduction Let’s JEF Out: a National Youth Initiative (1.2) funded by the Youth in Action Programme implemented by JEF Malta The JEF Executive Board of 2011-2012 has a vision: that of launching an innovative and informative website about JEF Malta to strengthen the organization’s identity and ethos as well as publish a quarterly magazine about the happenings at JEF on a national and international level. However, there is a quantum leap between ideas and and their actual implementation. It was for this reason that JEF Malta, armed with a plan and committed towards achieving a “Better Europe”, contacted local agencies about possible funding strands. Among the various trinkets of advice dished out, one in particular interested the team the most – relating to a pool of funds available from the Commission, all ready and waiting to be tapped. The infant ideas were incubated, developed and finally transposed into a concrete plan – with the project tentaively running from 1st September 2012 till 1st September 2013. Following the submission of a lengthy (and time consuming!) application, all the Executive could do, was sit and wait. The Executive needn’t have worried. On receiving word of the project’s approval, JEF Malta had the green light to turn these ideas into a reality – and together with the approved budget of €5165, dispelled any worries the
Project Outline The project, entitled “Let's JEF Out”, aims to reach and ultimately involve more youths in what it means to be a European Citizen and discuss various issues that are currently being discussed on a National, European and International Level such as Climate Change and Innovation in Business.
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Since the project is being undertaken on a national level, the main audience are Maltese youths aged between 17-25. However, the eventual dissemination of information (by means of the publication the Jefer) will be made available online so as to reach international audiences as well. The themes which will be researched by the Executive Board and ultimately discussed in a forum/debate (informal learning) with other youths, NGOs and other organisations reflect key issues at the core of JEF International that are also in line with the priorities set by the Youth in Action Programme. Apart from having the opportunity to involve more youths in other organisations and NGOs around Malta, it aims to provide an informative booklet stemming from the debates held whilst updating its members through social media websites and hopefully with the launch of its new website (www.jefmalta.com). The website would allow international viewer and other JEF Sections across Europe to know about the project and other events organised by the Maltese section. The areas covered by the project will be as follows: 1. A Sustainable Europe 2. Empowering youth for employment 3. Leading Europe with Innovation in Entrepreneurship 4. EU Citizenship: What it means for me! Each seminar may take the form of a debate, panel discussion and possibly a live-in spread over 2 days with team building activities held in the evening. The seminars also include a large amount of hands-on work for the participants in order to dispel any inkling of traditional ‘formal’ teaching methods. JEF Malta firmly believes that people are more likely (and willing) to learn through practical experience – and in this regard it has adopted an approach which focuses more on the practical aspect of the issues tackled. A dedicated team within the executive board will take care of gathering the necessary information and selecting youth contributors towards the eventual dissemination of information through our social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, releasing press releases covering the events on local media and newspapers and ultimately through the Jefer publication.
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The Project: So far… so good! Website The
launched in February 2013. All content relating to JEF Malta is uploaded on the website so as to ensure with
ultimately all our members. The website was designed in such a way that it would be user-friendly and easily navigated. Much attention was devoted to the back-end of the site (the part of the website viewers don’t usually see) to facilitate regular updates by Executive Board members without the requirement of any additional technical expertise. A Sustainable Europe The seminar represented the first public activity of the Let’s Jef Out project. The last few years have heralded an unprecedented amount of media attention on the impact of global warming and its possible implications for future generations. Keeping in mind that the world and its contents are the common heritage of mankind, and that ultimately the responsibility falls on us to make the change we want to see, this topic was considered as a good launching pad for the series of seminars. The seminar was opened by Mr. Carmel Cacopardo, a member of the Alternattiva Demokratika (Maltese Greens) Party who gave a presentation on the current state of sustainable development and renewable resources in the Maltese Islands. The presentation was particularly touching because of the issues raised – amongst them the reality that the hype surrounding ‘renewable energy’ had somewhat taken a hit during the pressing economic times of the past 4 years. The message was still and unequivocable – the less we do now, the more we are going to have to do later to make up for it. During the discussion the speaker allowed an informal debate to flow between him and the participants – and in this respect a number of
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questions were relayed to him: a few suggestions, clarifications
ultimately the need for deep structural reform in environmental management. It is encouraging to witness youths taking an active role in protecting their heritage. The presentation was followed up by a simulation session.
intergovernmental conference on climate change between European states of varying size and strength. Participants were split into groups of two and were each assigned a country. Each country would have a seat on the debating table and would be allocated one vote each. Each team was provided with information on the country’s economic ratings, expenditure on energy, utilization of renewable resources, and carbon footprint. The aim of the simulation was for the teams to forge a deal to move forward with the fight against climate change, whilst keeping in mind their countries’ priorities, financial capabilities and political willingness to cooperate. The ultimate goal was to demonstrate that whilst in theory and rhetoric debate about climate change seems to be a straightforward answer, when one puts himself in the lawmaker’s shoes, it instantly becomes a more tricky issue to tackle once opportunity costs are taken into consideration. The resolution was eventually passed despite heavy debate and the pilot project was considered a great success. More information and photo albums: http://goo.gl/R0hG9 | http://goo.gl/CtzDn
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Empowering Youth for Employment This seminar sought to give students and youths a broader vision of the options available to make yourself a versatile member of the workforce. Insight was given not only to ‘traditional’ methods of CV enhancement, but time shall also be devoted to more ‘unorthodox’ methods which have sprung up as a result of increased competition. The seminar began with a presentation on a unique way one man got his message out to the world: Employ Adam. This was followed by a panel discussion on the Demands of the Employer (participants: Natalino Caruana de Brincat, Larkin Zahra & Chris Scicluna). Mr. de Brincat has been on the other end of the interviewing seat and has ample experience in Human resource management. Mr. Zahra, an –ex Jefer, described his work experiences after graduating from the University of Malta. The presence of the EU Careers Ambassador, Mr. Scicluna, as a member of the panel was ideal to discuss issues and opportunities pertaining to potential employment in the EU (Traineeships). After a short break, the JEF Malta Project Manager Mr. Chris Bergedahl delivered a hands-on exercise regarding Employment Rights in Malta. A short presentation was delivered by Mr Larkin Zahra as to his experience receiving the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the EU in December 2012. The seminar was concluded by a short presentation about a Youth Exchange (1.3) entitled “Youth @Work” was delivered by Ms. Sarah Giusti and Ms. Chiara Testone. They explained their experience in Greece and encouraged those present to be more involved on the international arena by attending such exchanges which serve as good learning experience about current EU affairs.
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More information and photo albums: http://goo.gl/u4kGC | http://goo.gl/L5MQf Mid-way! We are midway through with the project and things seem to be going well. The response from each seminar is very positive and encouraging. Currently, we are in the process of designing the next Jefer edition that is scheduled to be launched by mid-April. For the last two topics, it is planned that we carry out a simulation about EU Citizenship by discussing one of the current issues on the European Agenda. European Institutions such as the Council of Europe, the European Central Bank, and the European Parliament all have an effect in our day-to-day lives without us fully knowing. We want this to change and hence we are undertaking such a project from youth aimed at other youths so as to gain a broader understanding about EU institutions and how they are affecting European Citizens' life. With upcoming elections of the European Parliament in 2014, we wish to demonstrate to the audience the democratic credentials of the Europe we live in, how they have been strengthened, and the measures needed to make the European Union a truly democratic federal state. Furthermore, recent events in the eurozone have stirred debate about a ‘North/South’ divide – we wish to tackle this perception head on and engage youths about how they feel about their European identity, and conversely what our European peers think about us. With regards to the topic “Leading Europe with Innovation in Entrepreneurship”, it is planned to carry out a competition (especially targeted for young prospective entrepreneurs or those studying subjects relating to Business and Commerce) spread over a two day live-in that encourages the youths to form teams to develop their business ideas. The learning outcome of this activity is to simulate the setting up of businesses (as from a young age), a shortcoming of the majority of institutions in Malta that teach business. A number of similar initiatives have recently sprouted across the island and thus JEF Malta intends to take the opportunity to try and forge a partnership with an organization or indiviudal with prior experience in the field in order to maximize both reach and quality of the event. Several different options are being considered at this moment, ranging from a ‘Business Plan’ oriented event to an ‘Innovative Idea’ style. Watch this space for developments.
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Dissemination, Impact and Multiplier Despite the high profile of the European Union on the Maltese Islands, and despite the push by the relevant European institutions to introduce various programmes and opportunities for Maltese youths, unfortunately thus far they have not been tapped into with full effect. This naturally leaves a lot to be desired and there is an understandable misconception amongst the youths about what the EU is, what it can do, and its mandate. JEF Malta directly acknowledges these drawbacks and sought to use this YiA programme to try and bring Europe closer to the individual. Whilst obviously promoting some of the achievements made by the Union – the single currency, European citizenship, labour market conditions, and more – there is also a strong conviction that persons must be also aware of the ‘downside’ of EU membership as well as the particular shortcomings of this quasi-federal body. Constructive criticism of the EU strutures is thus encouraged in order to foster a more practical form
Naturally, JEF Malta tries to promote the message of federalism and the need to move towards a more democratic federal union of European states – and the themes adopted during the seminars reflect this. Thus, for example, when looking at issue of Sustainable Development the primary focus was not merely problem-solving methods at a national level – but rather the possibilities of utilizing the EU institutions to come to a solution (even if perhaps the particular area falls outside of EU competency). This thus raises the level of debate amongst participants – is sustainable development an area that merits inclusion within the core competencies of the EU? Should Malta push for re-negotiation of the treaties in this respect? How much power are individual member states ready to pool in with their peers on the European sphere? Whilst JEF Malta cannot control the ideological outcome of such
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debates, we hope to foster a sense of comraderie – in the sense that if the solution merits it, a federal approach would be the best option. Working together can ultimately overcome selfish thoughts. The Jefer Issue 1 (online version): http://issuu.com/jefmalta/docs/jefer1_yiaproject/1
Some comments from the JEF Malta Executive Board
JEF Malta Executive Board (from left to right): Chris, Lisa, Stefan, Josef, Kimberly, Ryan and Rachel.
"As President of JEF Malta and legal representative for the project, I see that deadlines are met, all our work is of high standard and that as a team we contribute towards spreading a federal European ideology amongst Maltese citizens" – Josef Beck, President "As I.T. coordinator, I ensured that all the tasks related to technology were of high quality and that all industry standards were met during the implementation phase." – Stefan Scerri, Vice-President "Having served as JEF Malta's Secretary General, it only came but natural to be the Project's Logistics Coordinator. In doing so, I ensured that even the smallest of details would be dealt with in order to guarantee that all participants would make the most out of this experience. Nonetheless, I was also a helping hand to the rest of the team when this was so required." – Ryan C. Pace, Secretary General
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“As Project Manager, my role involves the concept design and implementation of the proposed titles of the Let's Jef Out! project under YiA 1.2. My work includes conducting the necessary background research related to the topic, followed by the selection of quality speakers and activities to achieve the YiA 's standards of learning through informal methods. I am also responsible for research and coordination of articles for the publication 'The Jefer', which acts as written arm of our project.” – Chris Bergedahl, Projects Manager “My academic background provides me with the right communication skills to ensure that my role as Public Relations Officer is effectively fulfilled. My duty consists in using all forms of media and communication to build and maintain the image of JEF Malta and to maintain goodwill and understanding between the organisation and our members. My job also entails me to direct 'the Jefer' a publication as part of the project Let's Jef Out! As director I manage the overall strategy of the publication.” – Rachel Baldacchino, Public Relations Officer “As the External Affairs Officer, my role is to keep up to date with international opportunities and to inform youths between the ages of 18-30 of such events. We have recently also got accepted for a Youth in Action 1.1 youth exchange so this is a great boost for our future when it comes to European Funds.” – Lisa Cini, External Affairs Officer “As Financial Officer, my prime target is to keep the organisation in good financial health. The responsibility I hold requires me to: maintain detailed records of each and every transaction, settle any debts due, monitor incoming payments, research for ways on how to acquire income and ultimately prepare the necessary documents for the year end.” – Kimberly Gauci, Financial Officer
What do others think about the project? “The JEF seminars were an opportunity to meet others in an informal gathering, whilst being provided with information specifically meant for young people. Thanks to JEF, youths are being reminded of their importance in society and encouraged to take an active role in making it better.” – Warren Ciantar, Bachelor of Laws (University of Malta) “JEF Malta's workshops can always be counted on to be engaging and stimulating. JEF Malta provides a forum for students to discuss contemporary challenges whilst furthering their own knowledge, thus complementing their tertiary education regardless of their field of study.” – Cristina Cefai, European Studies (University of Malta) “The JEF Malta Seminars are a timely and particularly effective blend of informality, information and idea-sharing vis-a-vis issues which are being faced by up-and-coming professionals through the length and breadth of Europe.” – Clara Chetcuti, Bachelor of Communications (University of Malta)
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