gheneration ISSUE 99%
people and politics
08 10 session coverage
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The Head-Organisers: Lads and Ghentlemen Euroconcert Backstage Pass Your Session Journal
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Fornever Alone What is Inequality’s Colour? Monarchy in the Modern Age One Outfit Says More Than a Thousand Words #nowthatchersdead In a Lawless State
youth in progress
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Not Just on Blue Monday Lights From the South “But We are Initiated... Aren’t We?” A Spark of Hope for Them, but Also for Us In the Footsteps of Atoms and Bacteria
Now that the session is over, we can reveal our secret in the final editorial. Do you want to know what the key to a successful session is?
Randolf Carr and Robin Janasek
magazine team Editors Randolf Carr Robin Janasek Video Editor Beth Thayne Media Journalist Alex Guzenko
AFCO I & CULT II Christopher Proctor Khalid El Ghoul AFCO II & EMPL II Juan Estheiman Amaya Marilena Saraidari
EMPL I & FEMM Elisa Martinelli Nathalie Thiel ITRE & CULT I Gonzalo Sola RodrĂguez Sorcha Foster
REGI & LIBE Christian Browne Nina Cathrine Selmer
our idea with Stefan Vandenhende, the President of EYPEuropolis Belgium. How comfortable do you feel working with each other, as the core of the session? J: Although we come from different regions of Belgium and speak different dialects with unique accents that actually sometimes make it harder to understand each other, we managed to perfectly exchange the information and build a strong team. L: Shortly after the Forum idea was initiated, Jonathanâ€™s name was the first one I could think of at that moment. From the very beginning I had no doubt that me and Jonathan will make up a successful team. Having your goal set very high and expecting the best outcomes, have your expectations been met so far? J: My expectations before the forum were definitely not as high as the reality we see today. I cannot say that I underestimated our opportunities before, but the current outcomes seem a lot more impressive. Moreover, I did not expect to have so much buzz around the forum, especially
The Head-Organisers Lads and Ghentlemen Ghent2013 International Forum is drawing to a close, and it seems like it has been an immense success. Behind all the participants involved there are two key figures that make up the firm foundation that enabled this event. Always tired, usually invisible, but still always available behind the scenes, Lorenzo Van de Pol and Jonathan Piepers give us a look into their achievement.
Alex Guzenko Guze (UA)
How was the idea of Ghent 2013 initiated? Jonathan and Lorenzo: The first time we met was at the 1st International Forum of EYP-Europolis Belgium in Antwerp, however never had a chance to maintain a proper conversation at the Forum itself except for one night, which we got to spend at the airport. A couple of weeks after the Antwerp Forum we met at one of the local bars where Lorenzo brought up the idea of organising a forum in Ghent. Therefore the night of November 27th 2011 became the starting point of the todayâ€™s session. Discussing and evaluating every possible aspect of the future event for the next two hours, we made up our minds and shared
I feel extremely tired and each time I have a spare minute I am thinking of crawling under the table somewhere.
after I found out that the Munich International Session was scheduled on about the same dates. L: For me both the outcomes as well as the process towards this result are equally important. During the winding path of putting the session together we established lots of essential contacts, important for both the personal and organisationâ€™s development. Have there been any struggles with the Forum so far? J: When there were any failures, they came from the field of the human resources. It was painful to accept one cancellation and the fact that one of the members could not join the organising team due to sickness one day before the session commenced. L: We had some minor issues with fundraising at the end of the session. However, we successfully managed to overcome those.
pletely different purposes. L: I was very ecstatic to see all the people that I have been e-mailing for the past couple months, so the first day of the session has been the brightest so far. How can you describe your present state? J: I feel extremely tired and each time I have a spare minute I am thinking of crawling under the table somewhere and taking a power nap or rushing to my car and getting one of the energy drinks that will keep me awake for another couple hours. L: I had only six hours of sleep for the past 48 hours, so the 8-hour nap I took today became another pleasant moment of the entire session. Moreover, I feel extremely satisfied with the work that has been done so far despite some minor issues in the organising team. Any pieces of advice for future organisers?
What was the brightest moment of the Forum so far? J: I am still baffled by the fact that we got the opening ceremony venue in the City Hall, initially intended for com-
J: Never organise! But in case if you do, think carefully of all the potential risks and be ready to spend the session nights at the organiserâ€™s room arriving first and leaving last for the whole session period. L: Take your time. I know that some EYP events are being organised in a two- or three-month period and I doubt that it is possible to create a product of a high quality in such a short period of time. We made a conscious decision of establishing the Forum dates exactly 18 months after we had an idea.
euroconcert backstage pass Alex Guzenko Guze (UA) marilena saraidari (GR) ‘We were best friends at my first EYP session. We shared a committee, wrote our first resolution together and enjoyed debating. It was before she was exposed to the glamorous and tawdry life on the stage. I keep constantly rewinding the Euroconcert in my head, the event that split our paths and tore apart our friendship. Right now she is already famous; and I am still climbing the ladder of my EYP career. I doubt she will ever talk to me again...’ After the immense success at the Euroconcert at Ghent2013, our participants might have changed their life forever. Foreseeing such an outcome, we decided to immediately interview the performers, before the fame carries them away. Why did you choose the particular piece you performed? Is there something very special about it? Matteo Van Dijl: From the very first moment that I heard “In Volo”, my attention had been instantly drawn to it.
The tune was stuck in my head until I finally learned how to perform it. Moreover, as an organiser, I knew what the venue would look like and that performing this piece will perfectly fit into the creation of the concert’s atmosphere. Romanie Assez: The piece is a song I wrote myself, and I thought that the Euroconcert would be a perfect place to perform it. When and why did you start playing your instrument? Goncalo Sampaio: I started playing guitar when I was in the 6th grade, and it has already been 6 successful years of mastering playing my instrument. With this experience, I felt very comfortable performing on the stage. Matteo Van Dijl: My parents have always wanted me to be a culturally oriented person. That is why I started my musical education at an early age. Moreover, my brother plays the same musical instrument. Although I have been playing piano for 8 years already, I admit that I should be even more professional by now. Romanie Assez: I played the saxophone for 9 years before, but at some point realised that I need to try something novel and different, and the guitar became a perfect al-
ternative. I have been playing it for 5 years already and it seems to be going well. Do you play any other musical instruments? Matteo Van Dijl: I have tried to play trombone for a year, however, all my enthusiasm vanished before I became skillful. What does music mean to you? Laura Vizule: I go to a music school where I started singing and playing the piano and the guitar. Fortunately, my parents have been really supportive of my decision to become more than just an amateur performer – my mother is my number one fan!
Goncalo Sampaio: No, I am looking for something more practical than music, but if I were sure about my future successful development as a musician, I would definitely continue in that path. Laura Vizule: I would either like to be a computer programmer or a cinema director as a main job, because in Latvia one can’t really live from singing. I would, though, love to become a professional singer, and perform for fun, and in order to gain some extra money as well. Being involved with EYP and taking care of the artistic endeavors is more than enough, but maybe you have any other outstanding aptitudes?
Would you like to connect your artistic talent with a future profession?
Matteo Van Dijl: I am pretty advanced in flirting and cursing in 20 different languages as well as cooking. During the tiny bit of my spare time left, I advance myself in finding ways of attending as many EYP sessions as possible.
Matteo Van Dijl: No, music should remain in my life as a hobby – mainly for the practical reasons.
Romanie Assez: I can imitate a proper farmer’s accent and pretend that I am very mad at someone.
Romanie Assez: No, not with the guitar, but I am planning to attend an acting school soon. So art will become even a more significant part of my life.
Fornever Alone? Nina Cathrine Selmer Sel (NO) nathalie thiel (se) The cell phone is today often referred to as someone’s “third hand”. This dramatic expression of calling electronic equipment a human body part truly shows how personal it can often be seen. The so called ‘third hand’ has opened up many doors that were previously nonexistent. The phone started off simply as a communication instrument. However, it has developed into an experience every time you open or unlock your phone. The smartphone has no limits. Instead of being restricted to merely having Internet access on your computer, the smartphone has taken social interaction to a whole new level with all the different devices making it possible for people to stay connected at all times, wherever you are on the planet. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook make us constantly aware and updated about events and people around us – not just about
those we know personally. The World Wide Web helps us to increase our meeting opportunities, but also to stay in touch with those we do not have the chance to regularly meet in person. This has resulted in an alteration in the way in which we form relationships. The need for love and contact is an innate human instinct which begins at birth. Nevertheless, the need to constantly stay up-to-date through the aforementioned sources and gadgets can go too far. The most common phobia in the world is known as “nomophobia” which is the fear of being without your mobile. However, underneath this apparently superficial phenomenon lie two more profound fears: the fear of missing out and the fear of being alone. The thought of only keeping your own company can be stressful for many, and turning off our smartphone is usually something we only do onboard airplanes. As we always seem to be socially active, the next question which arises is how much peer pressure and media influ-
ence our decisions. This will be a factor as long as we live in a society based largely upon the approval of others and the underlying need to fit into a certain group. Inevitably, this will affect the decisions we make. The needs for social status and prestige are connected to this and furthermore the need for a romantic relationship. Some scholars argue that there are three sources for this pressure that some people experience. The three sources are as follows: yourself, your immediate social circle and the institutions and laws of your society. Looking at this assertion, it is reasonable to argue that we do indeed live in a society where being alone and single is frowned upon. What’s more, some argue that our recently developed need for constant contact with the outside world through social media is both a cause and effect of the pressure felt. With today’s constantly accessible information, we are accustomed to using every free second to update ourselves on everything from news and politics to images about our friends’ activities on Facebook. This be-
comes particularly relevant when we see evidence of our acquaintances’ successful relationships and begin modelling our own expectations after them, which can lead to unwarranted envy and frustration. In this way, behaviour can also be affected, as we frequently end up trying to adapt our social media appearance for the sake of appealing to a potential partner. Therefore, our mind is not trained to relax and to just spend time alone, disconnected from the rest of the world. Spending time by yourself or even more drastically, staying single, is therefore for many a situation they feel the need to escape. When the media feeds us with information on how to maintain, or create, a healthy, well-functioning relationship we forget that not being in a relationship is no inferior option. When discussing how to keep a relationship between two people healthy, we tend to forget that we need to have a healthy relationship with ourselves as well even if that means taking some time off and not checking your phone for an hour or two.
Gonzalo Sola Rodriguez Rodrig (ES) elisa martinelli (it) Human Rights â€“ these two words are often spread over magazines and newspapers, losing their real meaning while everyone starts to rely more and more on them without questioning their existence. We believe in the importance of these eleven letters, we fight for them, writing columns in newspapers or shocked interventions on blogs and websites. The truth is that we
just take them for granted and we are so hypocritical to talk about this subject only when a major scandal shows up on the television. We are at the same time naive and arrogant to believe that Human Rights are an everlasting instrument allowing us to be free to express our opinions anytime we want to, protecting our lives. It may be a disappointing revelation, but we must stop fantasising and finally understand that human beings are not free and will likely never be; itâ€™s just a massive deception. Even though we are raised with the idea that every person
what is inequalityâ€™s
is granted with the right of freedom, this is easily shown wrong when we just observe all the violations of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) all over the world. It is with dramatic realisation that we have to face the dependency of this convention on economical and social circumstances as well as geography. Since 1948, the year of its creation, there have been many improvements in terms of Human Rights throughout the world; we cannot affirm that we have already succeeded. Unfortunately, the violation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights spreads as fast as its daily utilisation and quotation in speeches, articles, treaties or discussion with
the aim to create a better society. We have not advanced so greatly. Wars, colonisation, poverty, and the destruction of culture are also sons of our age. The UDHR is the core of all moral principles and policies that became our society guidelines. Some sociologists and political experts have added new theories and explanations about this factual failure. The own moral roots of the Human Rights concept held by the UDHR content itself ideas promoting inequality. Moreover the main defining adjective of the Human Rights is the term “universal”. If we turn that adjective into an action and look into its literal meaning, “Give a universal character or application to something,” we can realise the UDHR may never attain that real goal. Homogenisation is the true goal of the concept of Human Rights, which is embraced by the UDHR. And globalisation is the most developed and last state of this homogenising process. Having a factually equal society would be possible only if different cultures, values and standards we can find in our world are worth the same. Unfortunately, this does not occur nowadays because the viewpoint of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights is not inclusive, but exclusive, of such alternatives. The UDHR contains the main principles of political liberalist theory. Otherwise, why is it possible to kill a person if they attack your private property, like it happens in the USA? Is the right of private property above the very essential right to life? There is even no need to mention that the right of private property is the core concept thesis of the political liberalist theories. We know that using relativism in a Human Rights declaration would not be ideal either due to the fact we would exchange the poles, but we would keep being in one of the extremes. Multiculturalism’s main ideas are completely needed in our purpose to make the Human Rights an applied element around the world. A real and factual respect as well as interrelation amongst all the cultures is the archetypical path we should head through, if we want to achieve the vision about the Human Rights. This interrelation between cultures and societies can only be considered by avoiding any superior judgement coming from a concrete society as it still happens right now between ‘Western Civilisation’ and the, pejoratively named, ‘other worlds’. This apparent moral superiority is the main cause of the more than common violation of the Human Rights that we are witnessing. The world is seven billion colours on a paint palette, which is still waiting to be used. Only the utilisation, complementation and mixture of every single and possible colour are able to create the best of the artistic works. Nothing is in black and white, but it is a mixture of different greys that merge themselves creating that variety of opinions, ideas and cultures we are used to deal with. We are the only ones who can add colour between the lines that shape our own morality; take your paint brush and bright the world’s lack of equality.
monarchy in the modern age Nina Cathrine Selmer Sel (NO) In a time where democracy and the power of the people are so highly valued, the monarchy still lives on. When we are part of societies where the right to self-government stands so strong, the concept of a monarchy can indeed seem backwards. Then why do so many countries still have this institution? And is there really a place for monarchs in the 21st century? On the one hand, people have argued that the monarchy, being the ancient institution that it is, prevents a country from progressing in general. With a royal family to consider and the traditions and values that they portray, progressivity and liberal policies have been harder to implement in some countries. The cost of the monarchy is also something to consider. The British royal family, for instance, costs the public over 134 million pounds, if the maintenance of the grounds, facilities, et cetera is also taken into account. However, having a president is also an enormous expense. Beyond that, many people see the monarchy as something that helps keep the country unified and creates a cultural identity. Many are happy with having the monarch as the person representing their country abroad, and argue that being represented by a politically non-partial figure simplifies many issues. Another argument supporting this institution is the historic aspect that follows this way of ruling a country. With history comes traditions, and it can be argued that the monarchy helps to keep these traditions
alive, even though one many say that tradition alone is never a reason. Looking at some examples, one can see that even inside the borders of Europe, there is a huge diversity within the exclusive club of monarchs. In countries such as Norway, the royal family is indeed not perfect, but very â€œnormalâ€?. By cycling to work, sending their children to the local public school and the Crown Prince Haakon marrying a single mother, they have shown that the monarchy can be close to the people as well as representing them and their history. However, not all royal families have adapted like this. Looking at the British royal family, there is not much trace of public schools or simple living. There are of course reasons for this, such as security and expected image outwards, but it cannot be denied that this is a very different lifestyle from other royal families. Nonetheless, scandals have also occurred many royal families. Everyone knows about controversies with Princess Diana, and more recently the Swedish royal family have been involved rumours concerning both infidelity and exotic dancers. Weighing different arguments and aspects of the tradition of having a monarchy against each other, finding a solution does not get automatically easier. However, the monarchy seems like an institution that is here to stay, having survived centuries of troubles much more severe than what we have seen in recent decades. If you want to see what type of monarch you would have been if you were (un-)lucky enough to be born one, take our quiz.
Your son wants to marry a single mother. What do you do? A) Let him – love should be the only factor in a marriage. B) No way. Someone educated and upper-class seems like a much better choice. C) Ban the marriage. And know with certainty that your son will keep seeing her on the side. Like you would.
Do people ever call you the queen? A) Why would they? I’m a man and very manly. B) Yes. That’s all I have to say on the matter: Yes. C) No, but they do call my wife “Reina”.
You are home alone and have to make dinner. What do you do?
The Ghent2013 farewell party is coming up. What are you going to wear?
A) Make yourself some nice pasta bolognese, that is what you make for your family every Saturday night so you’re practically an expert. B) Home alone?! There is nothing called “home alone” in your vocabulary. The 395 servants are all there for your convenience. And foie gras it is. C) Order some food. And a loooooot of wine.
A) My favourite knitted sweater knitted by my favourite person in the world: my wife. B) A purple skirt. With a purple jacket. And a purple shirt. And a purple hat. C) I would put on my military uniform. Oh, I how I love that uniform.
Most As: Congratulations, you are the humble and grandfather-like King of Norway! Not only do you take the subway once in a while, you also look like the grandfather everyone wants to have. And what could be better than that?
Most Bs: Felicitations, you resemble Queen Elizabeth II in more than one way. You have an unfading love for dogs and cream teas, and even at the age of almost 87 you look amazing in both purple and yellow.
Most Cs: Felicidades, you are the King of Spain! Corruption, what is that? Flamenco, gazpacho and a couple of elephants to hunt are all you need.
One outfit says more than a thousand words
The recently elected head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, represents an illustrative example of the aforementioned trends. Analysing the symbology of his clothing, the traditional wear he has chosen globally reflects the values of tradition and continuity.
Juan Estheiman Amaya Am (ES) Nathalie Thiel (Se) The evolution of mankind has changed the world we live in. In the same way that political and social issues have influenced our lifestyle, these same changes have highly affected the way we dress. Initially, clothes were conceived to protect us from the environment that surrounded us. In the past, weather conditions such as heat, cold, sun, rain, snow or hail impacted our ancestors and their cultures’ sense of ‘fashion’. Today, our clothes serve much more as an instrument to express our inner selves than just for functional reasons. We have evolved into reflecting major traits of our personality in the clothes that we wear; in a sign of re-affirmation of our identities, it is now us who totally condition what we choose to wear. As individual flags of the 21st century, even our shirts stand up for concepts which link us in some way or another to certain collectives: Patriotism, humour, music, football, politics, or celebrities. According to specialist William Keenan from the University of Nottingham, we can find up to three levels of identity that are transmitted from the way we dress: personal, cultural and historical. But how and when did clothing become a reflection of our inner self?
The Pope’s conventional outfit usually consists of a white mozetta (a cape), a gold pectoral cross and red papal shoes. Nevertheless, current Pope Francis has a different approach compared to the previous one of Pope Benedict XVI. The importance of humility, aiding the poor, and acknowledging the suffering and deprivation of others are priorities that he feels most passionate about. A characteristic trait that describes Pope Francis is first and foremost to focus on simplicity, which is therefore mirrored in his clothes. That is a reason of why the attire belonging to the Pope has now been reformed in concert with his personality and preferences after he attained the prestigious and powerful position. In a time in which the Catholic church is in deep need of internal reforms, he took the rational decisions to eschew the exclusive red and purple robes and replace them with plain white ones, have a cross made of iron around his neck instead of a golden one, and furthermore to wear simple loafers from Argentina in contrast to the conventional red shoes. In other words, his clothes are a simple and convenient way to express personal priorities in a respectful manner. An outfit can radiate power and strength in that way – more simply put though, our style of clothing can reflect our innermost and basic personality traits, or convey what we cannot express with words. In that sense, the saying, “To wear your heart on your sleeve,” gets a new and more literal connotation. So next time you dress in the morning, stop to think of the thousand words that you are putting on.
When ceremonial and religious events started taking place in human communities, the need for the establishment of a social order became reflected through ceremonial costumes. The most elaborate and decorated ones translated into a higher social rank. As different periods gradually began to add up in history, the same tendency continued; from Roman Emperors to religious leaders, hierarchy was expressed through unique pieces of apparel. But while nobility in society had already shifted towards the use of clothes in a communicative way, lower statements still maintained the functionality. Around the 19th and 20th centuries, religion and political power started losing their strong influence on morality and traditions, diverging from the ongoing social tendencies. It was from then on that the sense of functionality continually faded away from the use in most clothing.
do we justify her unruly behaviour and drug and alcohol abuses? Once dead, it is possible to forget some of the more unsavoury aspects of behaviour and solely celebrate their success. It can also work the other way around and remind us solely about the worst in people and blind us to the good they contributed.
Sorcha Foster Fos (IE) Christopher proctor (FI) Margaret Thatcher was one of the most divisive figures in British politics. She is described as either a radical reformer or a destructive leader, depending on one’s political viewpoint. On Monday however, news broke that Baroness Thatcher had died from a series of strokes, which attacked her already frail body. The reaction on social media shocked many. The death of an old woman was treated with such vitriolic language; “#dingdongthewitchisdead” was a recurring theme on many twitter and Facebook feeds. The reaction of society to the death of famous individuals is intriguing. If Margaret Thatcher had been a ‘normal’ old lady, she would have been mourned by her family and left in peace. But this is not the case in our increasingly celebrity-obsessed culture. Other recent examples of public phenomena surrounding celebrity deaths include Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Michael Jackson was of course incredibly well known as one of the greatest global pop icons before his death. His death unleashed a wave of media attention, which brought him and his opus back into the public eye, resulting in record sales increasing eightyfold in just a few days. This regained attention was undeniably deserved, with Jackson being one of the most innovative performers of a generation. One must, however, regard it with a grain of cynicism – the same cynicism that some of Jackson’s surroundings showed: Jackson’s record label immediately rereleased the entire back catalogue and even some records, which the star had explicitly declined to publish when he was alive.
Nowadays, there is a never-ending stream of opinion on social media sites, and although there is praise, the majority is slander. Celebrities continue to be treated like animals in a cage, their every quote and action stalked and publicised, which are then used as an excuse to love or hate them. This leads to another interesting phenomenon, the lack of balance in viewpoints regarding celebrities. A balanced critique seems not to be acceptable when discussing deceased stars. A description of their utter excellence or their total monstrosity is the only script that can be followed. Love and hate are the only choices when it comes to forming and stating your opinion of a recently passed celebrity. The lack of moderation is notable but so too is the immediate response; with many new fans jumping on the bandwagon and suddenly discovering their profound affection for the deceased. The growth of a postmortem fan base could be considered to actually debase the work the person was famous for; they are celebrated for being dead. Australian actor Heath Ledger’s star power increased hugely after his untimely death. He is today adored by many, who appreciate his acting capabilities. However, prior to his death many of his films were little known and low-budget, signifying just how death plays a part in fame. This is in stark contrast to the likes of Vincent Van Gogh whose art gained recognition only after his unfortunate death. Whilst he became the celebrated artist he is today only after dying, it is most certainly because of his work, as opposed to the manner of dying. Total adoration or disgust for an individual who has just died creates a ready environment for forgotten viewpoints to regain credence in society. One of particular interest is Margaret Thatcher’s recent passing. The “Iron Lady” was one of the most important figures in privatising large sections of British enterprise and resulted in free market economics gaining relevance in society. This has diminished to an extent, but will her death bring her ideas and legacy to the foreground once more, as with Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse?
Another recent example is singer Whitney Houston. Once her death as a result of a drug overdose had been confirmed, it took less than half an hour for the price of her music to rise steeply on iTunes. This blatant exploitation of stars’ deaths must make us question society’s underlying respect for deaths and tragedies. In this type of culture where the worth of a product increases through a person’s death, are we in danger of going from paying our respects to marketing, even glorifying death? Referring to Amy Winehouse as a tortured genius,
in a lawless state
countries where same-sex unions are available, legislation has been created to prevent the gay-marriage tourism phenomenon as in the United States. But there is another problem: With the free movement of labour, travelling and working in multiple countries has never been easier. For the gay community, however, difficulties arise as pension arrangements and spousal allowances may be affected depending on the state in which they reside. Such a lack of clarity can only contribute to undermining the gay community’s sense of identity by putting their relationships under the strain of legal discrimination or discordance. Although countries are entitled to legislate as they see fit, in a globalised social environment, it is, as with many issues, problematic not to have some coherent understanding.
Sorcha Foster Fos (IE) The world today is becoming increasingly progressive. Individual rights and equality are considered essential and are often backed by legislation to ensure that minority opinions are respected without disregarding culture-specific nuances. However, in a world where countries are increasingly interconnected, difficulties arise when neighbouring countries have significantly different social outlooks. This has far-reaching consequences; issues from abortion to drug consumption are affected. The Netherlands, for example, recently changed its laws regarding drug policy and tourists. The country was becoming a ‘must-see’ destination primarily because of the legal status of marijuana. However, this ‘law-avoidance’ type of tourism is being used increasingly to circumvent more fundamental laws. Gay marriage, for instance, provokes strong views in many people. Many are vehemently opposed on the grounds of religious and moral stances, whilst others feel that anything less than equal treatment in every regard is outdated. The spread of the latter attitude has led to the legalisation of gay marriage in some countries, whereas in others civil partnerships, and in some countries no options are available for same-sex couples is available. This leads to a legal quandary. If a couple’s marriage is recognised in one country but not another, are they technically married. What is more, this can even occur inside a single nation. For instance In the United States, only nine of the fifty states currently permit gay marriage. This has resulted in a type of “marriage tourism” whereby couples travel to another state to “tie the knot”. However, the irony of the situation is that upon return to their home states, their union is no longer considered legal.
A place where this problem is particularly apparent is Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom but has a devolved administration which is entitled to promulgate laws relating to social issues. The region is significantly more conservative than the rest of the UK and religious ethics have a significant impact upon policies. Although England, Scotland and Wales have just legalised gay marriage, Northern Ireland has declined to do so and as such couples in the region have inferior rights to their compatriots on the mainland. Of course, there is the possibility to travel to England, but upon returning home, their marriage is essentially again rendered meaningless. This is not the sole disparity between Northern Irish and Great British policy. “Abortion tourism” is a further everincreasing problem. Women who wish to obtain a termination of pregnancy need to travel to England as abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless there is an explicit danger to the life of the mother. As an abortion can be acquired rather easily from physicians in England, the legislation of Northern Ireland basically becomes defunct, merely inconveniencing rather than preventing cases. Controversial and visible examples such as abortion and gay marriage convey the difficulties faced by lawmakers when legislating on social issues. The very integrity of a law can be undermined or a small population segregated, simply by a judge in another country taking an alternative view. It begs the question of whether a more integratedlevel justice system should be developed to prevent such imbalances across the world. This could potentially create the necessary level of clarity in order to prevent the current trend for law tourism and simultaneously strengthen the underpinnings of a common justice system.
While odd, this is not an anomaly. Inside Israel, same-sex couples cannot marry, but those who marry in countries were such unions are lawful can receive recognition from the Israeli state. The situation arises inside Europe as well. Gay marriage is legal in some states and not in others, reflecting the diversity of cultures across Europe. In many
not just on blue monday Christian Browne Bro (UK) At any given time, approximately five percent of youths are suffering from a form of depression – a mental illness which cripples the lives many more than one commonly assumes. Large numbers of cases of depression among teenagers go unnoticed, undiagnosed and untreated, causing anguish and trouble for thousands. The number of factors which aggravate or create depression in youth is vast, including traumatic life events, genetic predispositions, prescribed medications and social or familial circumstances. The one thing these factors all have in common is that they can’t be controlled by the individual, meaning any teenager can be susceptible to suffering from depression at some point during their formative years. People mistake depression for something extraordinary and that won’t affect them, but statistics show that it is actually becoming more common and affecting people
from all walks of life. The help given to people diagnosed with the condition ranges from counselling to prescription medication, but those who are afflicted with depression often feel they are undertreated. That is why charities and youth projects such as “Students Against Depression”, a project specifically targeted at depressed or vulnerable youths, are set up; as many of the treatments and therapies are designed for adults rather than the younger generation. One defining feature and advantage of Students Against Depression is that it uses an online network rather than forming a clinic or forum in which patients would have to attend in person. It means that you can gain free and easy access to people that can understand a teen’s issues and give advice from one teenager to another. It greatly alleviates the social pressure and stigma of dealing with depression, something which is known to make the condition worse. The Students Against Depression project started in the United Kingdom due to the tragic loss of two young men,
Charlie Waller and Matthew Wood, to suicide. In response, their families and friends invested in the project to reach out to other young men and women suffering from the effects of depression and suicidal thinking. The project that formed has now had an impact on countless lives, as their website provides vital information on the causes, symptoms and treatment of depression. The program has helped people such as Martha [last name withheld], a university student who faced the daunting task of coping with depression and a suicide attempt after a severe accident and years of bullying and family problems. With the help of Students Against Depression she managed to overcome these issues and is thoroughly on the mend with the careful guidance of the charity. These developments are aided by the community of students on the website who share their feelings about their course and life at school or university, like Martha who ended up sharing her story. This helps create a sense of solidarity and togetherness that has been proven to help reduce depression.
Students Against Depression is also now starting to branch out; they are now looking for youths at schools and universities to set up action groups around the United Kingdom but also around Europe. You can also get in touch with them if you’re worried that someone you care about may be suffering from depression. They not only give advice to the person you are anxious about but also to you. As dealing with a loved one or friend who has depression can be very difficult and can even lead to you developing the condition, there is a huge importance in being active about dealing with depression.
“One in four of us will experience some kind of mental health problem in our lifetime. One in 10 will experience depression or anxiety with depression in any one year. This statistic holds true for students and young people. Depression is one of the biggest dangers facing young people today – suicide is the biggest killer of young men under 35 in the UK.” - Students Against Depression
“But we are initiated…
Khalid El Ghoul Gh (NL) Lately, the European Union has been having some trouble with soaring rates of youth unemployment in many of its Member States. The problem is, however, not limited to unsettling unemployment rates. The problem includes scarce chances for entrepreneurship, development and growth. In a capitalist world, where all depends on continuous growth, this could be a catastrophe – be it now, or when we, already dubbed a “lost generation”, head out into society to start a life of our own. In tough times young people are often the first to lose out. They are relatively inexperienced and low-skilled, and in many countries they are easier to lay off than their elders. This makes them obvious targets for employers seeking to cut back on spending. With poor growth and measures that fail to increase job prospects, the situation is unlikely to improve. The young jobless, however, tend to bounce back in
such situations. Just as they are to first to be dropped, they are often the first to get back in. Due to slow or inexistent recoveries we missed out on that bounce though. Fortunately, as is usual when a problem rises, solutions arise as well. Throughout Europe, many decided to take action against these depressive prospects and consequently a number of initiatives were born. These initiatives focus on practice, education and leadership. They present high school students with the opportunity to participate in events, consisting of training in debating, public speaking, entrepreneurship and creativity. Put this in a competitive context and what you get is a motivational, possibly inspiring, experience for its participants. Besides all this, they gain a hands-on experience, sought after by many employers. One such initiative is Jet-Net, a Dutch-based network of cooperating businesses, schools, and governmental institutions. Among other aims, it promotes the pursuit of higher education after high school, due to a relatively low num-
ber of students compared to the job vacancies in technological areas, and its network incorporates 171 schools, 84 businesses, and 26 other institutions. The premise for the measures is that many youths have a distorted perspective of the job prospect in these areas and a lack in exposure to practical situations. Jet-Net aims to change this by developing a number of content-rich activities, on a yearly basis, which expose the students to relevant challenges. These activities carry practical implications in the business world and education. This gives the students a sense and awareness of the social implications of pursuing a career in technology. This is reflected in the organisationâ€™s objectives, one being the enrichment of educational content and the other hosting activities that give an honest and clear perspective of a job in this area. Made possible by Jet-Net: Several schools participating in a debate with corporate CEOs about the future outlook concerning employment and entrepreneurship opportu-
nities, and a competition in which several groups designed and developed a robot with a social implication. These are just two examples of the activities organized by Jet-Net in cooperation with schools. They do not go unnoticed by society as they form an area of interest for the media, with numerous articles and news items published about their activities. Jet-Net is just one of many initiatives that have arisen in Europe and it is not clear whether they will be effective in reaching their aims. More importantly, one could say that we have yet to wait whether this will be enough to ease youth unemployment rates and increase opportunities to save the â€œlost generationâ€?. The measures mentioned earlier have yet to prove themselves to be actual solutions. Whether they do or not is in the end less relevant than the fact that they show that it is not necessary for us to wait for policy makers to come up with solutions. It is in truth up to us to create a sustainable and favourable future.
A SPARK OF HOPE FOR THEM, BUT ALSO FOR
Elisa Martinelli Martine (IT) Careless, selfish and spoiled; this is how the older generations often see us youngsters, growing up in the richest areas of the planet with an incommensurable comforts and high living conditions. However, this quick judgement towards the youth in the 21st century is proven wrong by some humanitarian programmes and activities involving a great number of young people all over Europe. Fortunately, not every young European is as careless towards the world as some assume, and the amount of volunteers who devote their time to helping populations in areas of crisis, struck by civil wars or corruption, is currently increasing. One of the most active Italian non-profit organisations is the â€œAssociazione Zaatarâ€?, founded in Genoa in 2008 with the aim of giving financial and medical support to the population living in the area of the Gaza Strip, as well as Syria and Lebanon in the last few years. Its name is rooted in some ancient traditions of this area, according to which the mixture of mountain herbs called Zaatar and the olive tree are the symbols of Palestine, its culture and people. When the association was founded, its members were just a few volunteers who had lived in Palestine for some years with the intent to help a population that had been struck by war for decades. Unexpectedly it soon grew with the membership of new young students driven by the will to engage themselves in such a profound and life-changing experience, ready to set aside their comforts and habits to help people whose only reality is conflict and deprivation. The most recent generation of young volunteers brought a new stream of ideas and opinions to the association, a wind of renewal and change, allowing more prominent donations and developing the sensibility towards humanitarian activities in a society otherwise too busy to care about what is going on in the world. The benefits gained from the cooperation of different generations are even more explicit when it comes to the wide variety of events organised by Associazione Zaatar. At the very beginning of its activity, the majority of humanitarian aid consisted in online donations mainly made by private
persons, while nowadays its projects range from charity concerts of local bands to first-hand volunteer camps in the area of Gaza. The most important initiative is the establishment of a work camp for volunteers in Hebron, a city in the West Bank. Its purpose is not just bringing medical aid and delivering food to the Palestinian population, but also helping the economic growth of the area. In these camps, built up with the help of other international humanitarian organisations, young volunteers work side by side with Palestinians in order to rebuild houses where war left just ruins, to produce goods, and to organise activities for those children who have never known what real childhood is. Moreover, an olive tree harvest is organised every year, allowing the Palestinian population to have a quicker production of olive oil, which is often brought back to Italy and sold in ethnic fairs and shops. While braver youngsters leave all their lives behind temporarily to dedicate their perseverance and time to people in need by going directly to Palestine, others stay in Italy and help the association in collecting donations for the camps. Among the wide variety of events there are fascinating exhibitions of pictures taken in Palestine by volunteers who have lived and worked in the camps for months, as well as dinners where people can taste the food of this region. Especially during spring and in summer Associazione Zaatar organises charity concerts and fairs where everyone can purchase Palestinian food and listen to typical music of the region. The work of this association, as well as any other humanitarian organisation, is massive and it never stops. The efforts of each and every volunteer, the sacrifices, the devotion, and the determination are the reasons why this kind of project is possible. These very inspiring young people give hope not only to the Palestinians, but also to our society; as long as there is someone willing to sacrifice their comforts to help their fellow humans, we are not completely lost in our dull routine and numb towards the world abroad and its sorrows.
lights from the south Gonzalo Sola Rodriguez Rodrig (ES) It is impossible to talk about the current economic and social situation of Spain without focusing our attention on the real estate crisis and its effects. Especially if we want to concern ourselves with the situation of Spanish youth, it is difficult to avoid the mentioned fact above. Moreover, some people maintain the idea that the Spanish economic crisis and its consequences on the Spanish youth are also related to educational issues like the high scholar failure rate and the poor investments in research and development. We cannot deny that there is a logical interrelation among all these facts and it is obvious that the crisis and its lasting effects are results of this combination. Nevertheless, in the following lines I want to call attention especially to the historic lack of investments in research and development caused by the Spanish State. This point is the main reason behind the creation of the Federación de Jóvenes Investigadores, or Federation of Young Researchers, in short: FJI. This association of young
scientists and researchers was created in 2000 with the goals of fighting against the continuous reductions in research and development budgets as well as to improve the labour conditions for young Spanish scientists and researchers like them. Notably, the establishment of this organisation dates back years before the crisis, which clearly indicates these insufficient investments are not a new issue in Spanish social and political spheres. It is essential to mention that the association was created by young people themselves for the purpose of improving the situation of the Spanish youth. The articulation of the association’s aims is mainly centred on two specific aspects. On the one hand, the flight of human capital or, as it is commonly called, the ‘brain drain’ of the Spanish youth. This phenomenon is manifests itself as the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. In Spain this fact specially affects young people who have just finished their studies in scientific and technical degrees and find themselves lacking chances to get a job. The Federación de Jóvenes Investigadores tries to solve this problem or, at least reduces its negative impact, by looking for private
financing. They also have elaborated several bills that included measures to prevent the ‘brain drain’ among the Spanish youth, but we must acknowledge that those legal proposals never were taken into account by the Spanish legislative institutions. On the other hand, this organisation has always looked for a completely different development of the State budgets in research and development. As the representative of the association Ester Artells affirms, the lacking job opportunities mainly caused by the insufficiency of money that the Spanish State assigns for science forces large numbers of Spanish youngsters to look for a new life outside its borders. Consequently, the Federación de Jóvenes Investigadores identifies the ‘brain drain’ and the low priority of research and development in Spanish politics as a singularly crucial problem with two parts, which makes it even more burdensome for the Spanish youth and their goals. Worries and restlessness of Spanish youngsters aside, it is time to say that associations like the FJI are the ray of hope for all of European youth. Young people who break with the limitations and stereotypes of the youth throughout
Europe and look for a better future that lets them build their lives in order to fulfil their personal goals. There is only one concept that can properly express this achievement: progress. Keeping in mind the difficulties that Spanish young people particularly, and the European youth in general, have, we should go over the concept of progress and remake it. We need to consider progress and youth as two sides of the same concept. We, the young people, are the conditio sine qua non that makes progress a successful concept. Nobody is coming to solve the problems of the European young people. We, the youth, have realised that it many cases we are not part of political agendas around Europe. The FJI is just an example of thousands that we can find around all the European countries. This fact demonstrates how big the human potential from young people is. It is also means that it is difficult to stop our convictions if we consider ourselves as one part of progress’ equation. Let’s believe in us.
Your session journal Editors’ Note: We’re leaving these pages blank for you to use the space to write down your very own best moments from the last week as a whole or even better, to let your fellow delegates write down their favourite common memories here to take home with you and look back at some time.
What was your favourite moment of the session? “The UK delegates’ performance at Euroconcert.” “The Hipster Party.” “Khalid [journalist] spilling water all over CULT II’s committee room and then refusing to clear it up.” “Every time walking by Jan [Vice-President] and hearing his ridiculously intellectual voice.” “The Time Machine video.” “Losing our voices in General Assembly.” “A UK delegate getting kissed by 40 people at once.” “Someone bleeding because of an intense game of Ninja.” “A two-truths-and-a-lie story, which involved bunnies being burned, leading to the committee chant ‘burning bunnies’.” By Christian Browne and Khalid El Ghoul