The Europe Forum, organized in Turku on the 25th to 27th of August 2021, inspires the young to join in the discussion on Europe and the European cooperation. The Forum has taken along young people as speakers, event organisers, and volunteers. Young audience is invited to engage also via the Europe Forum virtual platform.
The Europe Forum 2021 discussions will focus on the changes in the EU and in Finland and on influencing through information. The participation of young people is important, because they are the future of Europe.
“The voices of young people and students need to be heard more than ever. Forward-looking Europe is built together, by listening to different stakeholders, but young opinions are often overlooked. The younger generation may feel that their knowledge is not sufficient for a discussion on Europe. But the fact is that joining in does not mean you need to offer ready-made solutions or have a long expertise. Visions, discussions, and active participation are already a big step forward. Therefore, it is very important that the young people and students are inspired and bold enough to take part and make their thoughts known to the decision makers. The Europe Forum offers the opportunity and an open platform to learn more about interesting themes, to engage in a civil dialogue, and to increase the dialogue between the young and the decision makers”, says Jenna Rautionaho, Member of the Executive Board of the Student Union of the University of Turku.
“This year, as the Europe Forum is organized as a hybrid event, the virtual platform offers an excellent opportunity for young people to participate from all over Finland, even from your own living room. It also enables a more flexible participation that suits your own schedule, and a chance to leave questions and comments”, Rautionaho reminds.
On Wednesday, the Europe Forum offers a Science Day with discussions on, for instance, AI, vaccinations and information or filter bubbles. The meetings will be chaired by the University of Turku and the Åbo Akademi University. One of the speakers is Doctoral Student Kristiina Makkonen, who encourages young people to actively participate, since decisions that affect even the Finnish youth are also made on the European level.
“It is important to include the young in the decision making. Taking part in discussions is an easy, but very important way to make a difference. The European and international discussion teaches you to appreciate differences and increases broad-mindedness”, Makkonen emphasizes.
Makkonen attends the Vaccines and Information Bubbles event where she wants specifically to express her concerns as a young physician about the anti-vaccine attitude and its effect on the future generations.
“Vaccine hesitancy is defined as a global health threat. Among other things, it accelerates antibiotic resistance. The biggest reasons behind vaccine hesitancy lie on information, culture, and ideologies. I hope that during the discussion we can come up with new ideas to increase positive attitudes towards vaccines.”
Organized together with the Timeout Foundation and aimed at a younger audience, the My Europe lecture talks about Europe and European cooperation on Friday, Aug 27th. The lecture is an introduction to Timeout discussions to which school classes are challenged to participate during the fall of 2021. As part of the challenge, teachers can receive training in the Timeout dialogue method. Participation is free of charge.
The goal of the Timeout dialogue is to increase understanding of the mutual topic, of other participants and of oneself through constructive dialogue. Read more about the method at the Timeout dialogue website.
EU, youth and social media discussion event, organized by Turun Eurooppanuoret, the local branch of Young European Federalists (JEF), on Wednesday, Aug 25th is open for public. It is especially aimed at young people who are interested in promoting awareness on Europe on their own social media channels. The event has invited experts to discuss the different ways to influence on social media, and how especially the young people could weed out disinformation from social media.
The event features speakers like public governance expert and consult Silva Mertsola, Public Policy Director and Head of EU Affairs on Facebook Aura Salla, and diversity consultant and influencer Fatima Verwijnen, who educates companies on equality and minority issues. Verwijnen is known as an active social media conversationalist who has over 20 000 followers for her Fatimointi account on Instagram. She wants to influence the social debate through her social media channels.
“During the discussion, I particularly want to bring up the point of view of the minority groups. I’m also interested in how antiracism can be seen in this context”, Verwijnen says.
The discussion is moderated by Anni Taavila, the chairperson of Turun Eurooppanuoret.
The National Union of University Students in Finland, the Student Union of the University of Turku, the Student Union of Åbo Akademi University, and the European Parliament Information Office Finland host an event on the future of Europe on Friday, Aug 27th. The event has three 15-minute speed debates on different topics. The speakers include MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP Elsi Katainen, MEP Nils Torvalds, MEP Alviina Alametsä and MP Eveliina Heinäluoma.
Young European Federalists (JEF) organize a panel discussion on Friday, Aug 27th on EU as a protector of basic values and human rights. The speakers include the chairperson of JEF Risto Rajala, MEP Alviina Alametsä, and Legal Advisor of Amnesty International Kaisa Korhonen. The topic of the discussion is how EU could defend the human rights and promote its most important values more effectively in Europe.
Europe Forum has several young volunteers making sure that the practical side of the event runs smoothly. If you are interested in seeing what happens behind the scenes and want to have interesting and useful experiences and contacts, sign up as a volunteer by clicking the link below.
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Facts about Europe Forum Turku:
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