Young people with EU experience communicate in person about Europe. A trainee at the European Commission for examples visits her former high school. These "EU Ambassadors" present (1) why the EU is there, (2) what it does on a local level in that city and (3) which opportunities it offers to young people. The information is tailored to the target group and delivered in person. EU Ambassadors can be participants of EU programs like the European Solidarity Corps, Erasmus, EU internships etc.
Europe, Germany, Belgium, etc.
Democracy requires informed citizens. Regarding democracy in the upcoming European elections, especially young people shall be aware of Europe and the role of the EU in their lives. EU Ambassadors can bring the EU closer to the people - the European citizens - enabling them to make informed choices.
EU Ambassadors moves from a pilot project with (former) EU trainees as ambassadors to a project for young people with EU experiences from structured EU programs like the European Solidarity Corps. More than the 400 students in the pilot phase will be reached.
Closely cooperate with e.g. the European Commission that aims to increase the work with Alumni of EU programs. Inform young participants of EU programs of the option to become ambassadors - train them - mentor them implementing a presentation or activity - let them report on it. Different to the pilot phase, an incentive should be offered to participants e.g. a certificate and/or travel cost reimbursements. Synergies with existing projects will be used as already practiced.
At an open situation room on Europe (Mercator Foundation) and at three youth conferences in Brussels, the idea to EU Ambassadors came up. With a group of four EU trainees we stated a pilot project (at the end of our traineeship in February 2016). Now the idea shall continue beyond this pilot phase!
Most high-school and university students feel that the EU/Brussels is far away and not very relevant to them. The EU institutions and national actors like the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs struggle to communicate Europe to young people. Young people with EU experiences can bridge this gap.
Thoughts on the required incentives for young people with EU experiences to become EU Ambassadors would be appreciated. Is a certificate and/or a travel subsidy enough?