On 11th November 2016, Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN’s Advocacy and Policy Officer was a panellist at the 3rd International Students Conference at the University of Ghent. This year’s theme was “What Next? The Contribution of International Students to the Development of Their Home Countries and Study Environment.” The conference covered topics from migration and climate change to innovative entrepreneurial development, radicalism and terrorism. ACP YPN partnered in this initiative, with the aim to brainstorm innovative responses to contemporary challenges and to see how the students contribute both in their home countries/regions and the study abroad environment.
In his presentation Bora outlined ACP YPN’s mission, goals and achievements. Then, he introduced the challenges that young ACP diaspora face in the EU context, with particular references to his own situation as a migrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bora highlighted four particular challenges:
- Social inclusion in the EU. ACP YPN actively advances social inclusion in the EU through our landmark initiatives to take the first delegation of ACP youth to the European Youth Event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and to include ACP youth at European Development Days with the European Commission, speaking alongside the UN.
- Recognition of ACP diplomas and certificates in the EU. This is why at ACP YPN we are working on contributing to European Parliament legislation on Erasmus+, working actively with the European Youth Forum and the European Economic and Social Committee to encourage true exchange for international students.
- Recognition of the colonial heritage in the EU, and the shared history between European states and ACP states. That is why we partner with the diaspora organisations in universities across the European Union and with ACP regional youth networks to ensure coherence in our actions.
- Implementation of Article 26 of the Cotonou Agreement. Youth must not be forgotten in ACP relations and that is why we remind the EU and the ACP to implement Article 26 on youth issues. Indeed, this informs everything we do, from sharing our experiences as diaspora in Europe at the African Union Heads of States summit to giving recommendations to the European Parliament committees.
In Bora’s words, “The conference was a chance for me to share my thoughts on the role of the diaspora in rebuilding itselves while rebuilding its home states. I was very glad to address a diverse audience and to exchange ideas with them. I believe that together we are stronger, we are the present, here to shape the future”.
By Mr. Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Advocacy and Policy Officer.