ACP YPN at EYE2016 breakfast with EP Vice-President MEP McGuinness

On 8th November, Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN – EU Programme Manager and SDG5 Expert took part in the European Youth Event #EYE2016 breakfast meeting organised by the European Youth Forum and hosted by the EP Vice-presidents Mairead McGuinness MEP and Sylvie Guillaume, députée européenne, in presence of MEP Ulrike Lunacek and MEP Julie Ward. Celine explained the on-going work of ACP YPN to foster social inclusion and discussed formalising Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN’s Founder and President’s role as ambassador for diversity. Celine also pointed out that of the 7,500 EYE2016 participants, 3 of the 12 youth chosen to present their ideas at the European Parliament in Brussels, includes 3 ACP YPN youth:

  • Dana Schurmans on 9 November – Internal market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) 17:00-17:45 (see here);
  • Yentyl Williams on 28 November – International Trade (INTA) 15:30-16:15;
  • Barry Owino on 29 November – Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) 17:30-18:30.

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ACP YPN at Women in Media EU conference

On 26th October, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder and President spoke on social inclusion, gender equality and diversity at the Sofia Foundation’s Women in Media EU conference in Brussels, in partnership with France 24.

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Yentyl’s main message was that more women experts in media can be the vanguard of an evolution to unlock more inclusive societies AND alongside gender-mainstreaming, we need youth-mainstreaming and diversity mainstreaming. Annette Young, host of France 24’s 51% programme asked Yentyl how to counter being seen as a young woman and not a young woman expert by media. Yentyl responded by saying the answer is two-fold: on the one hand there is an issue with the individuals and the institutions, however media can become a space where we can break certain stereotypes, especially that related to ‘competence’ for getting top jobs. On the other hand, Yentyl talked about women’s empowerment and the importance to know your message regardless of who is behind the camera. Yentyl was also asked about cyber-bullying and explained the actions she took to protect the ACP YPN from sexist, racist and abusive cyber-attacks. Yentyl discussed the benefits of social media and the training that ACP YPN does, but warned, “I am more than the 160-character twitter message.”

Yentyl had the pleasure of speaking on Panel 1, ‘News room reality – How are women seen and how do women get to be seen?’ alongside Madi Sharma, EESC member and Entrepreneur, Alison Maitland, author, columnist and journalist, and Josephine Casserly, Governance and Rights Adviser at BBC Media Action. In an earlier article published with the Professionals Women’s Network, Yentyl also spells out the need for an inclusive approach to SDG5 on gender equality and women’s and girl’s empowerment here.

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ACP YPN partnered with Sofia Foundation on this initiative and ACP YPN participants were actively involved in the debate reinforcing the messages of social inclusion, gender equality and diversity. ACP YPN members included Christelle Pandanzyla, Co-Founder of Roots Events and Empower-Her, Marie Charlotte Tatepo, Founder of De la Luna media, Binta Sanga, Founder of La Sénégalouse media, Jason-Louise Graham, Advisor at EU Panel Watch and ACP YPN SDG5 Advisor, Madeleine Kamba, Joseph Business School, Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Policy and Advocacy Officer.

Get in touch with her: @yentyl_w or LinkedIn

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ACP YPN dialogue with World Solidarity Forum

On 24th October, Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Policy and Advocacy Officer presented “The role of diaspora – supporting development & empowerment” at the World Solidarity Forum’s conference on “Active citizens tackling EU and international crises.” This Press Café initiative is part of a Networking series where each participant has the opportunity to join a thematic discussion circle and rotate every 20minutes. This is the second such even that ACP has had the pleasure of taking part in.

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In his presentation Bora explained the ACP YPN mission, goals and achievements. Then, he introduced the challenges that young ACP diaspora face in the EU context, with particular reference to his own situation as a migrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bora highlighted four particular challenges:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

The Q&A session was particularly powerful as many participants, who recognised themselves as either a migrant or an expat, understood and also experienced similar challenges to youth of ACP diaspora. In Bora’s words, “I would like to thanks Neringa and her team because this was an enriching experience, the debates were fruitful and the people professional. I will firmly say that at the Networking Lunch, citizens of the world exchanged ideas on how to put the word ‘Humane’ back in ‘Humanity.’”

By Mr. Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Advocacy and Policy Officer

Get in touch with Bora: LinkedIn and @iKamwanya

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