ACP YPN on SDG5 at ‘AIESEC Talk’

On the 16th November 2016, Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Program Manager and SDG5 Expert, presented ACP YPN contributions to ‘making the Sustainable Development Goal5 (SDG5) on ‘gender equality and women’s and girl’s empowerment’ a reality at the ‘University Libre de Bruxelles’ (ULB).

 AIESEC, the largest youth-run international organization, believes that one way these SDGs can be achieved is through activating youth leadership; forming the future leaders who will help accomplish these goals. ‘AIESEC Talk’ is part of the Youth for Global Goals initiative to raise awareness of the SDG Global Goals among young people with the aim to provide them with the opportunity to make a difference. Alongside Celine, Angèle Perignon presented the work that “les Ailles du Phoenix ASBL” on making SDG1 on ‘poverty eradication’ a reality in Brussels.

 

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During the discussion many topics were discussed: involvement of men in gender debates, feminism, women in leadership positions, quotas, role models, which cumulated in a series of recommendations. The audience came to the agreement that:

  1. Education can be used as a tools to reach gender equality, for example: by facilitating and providing opportunity to young girls, by enabling them to participate and explore different activities such as coding or scientific fairs aimed toward girls’ empowerment, diversity and inclusion. Another recommendation was:
  2. Less gender biased representations in the media and therefore more gender neutral voices are needed, especially when speaking about women in leadership positions.

The audience commended the work that has already been done toward reaching the SDG5, and agreed that action must be both bottom-up, as well as top-down from a policy perspective. Celine concluded the session by reminding the audience that: “big changes and big movements come from little actions done by each and every one.”

Want to know more about SDG5 on gender equality? Get in touch with Celine: LinkedIn & @fesira

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ACP YPN Training: How to build the perfect CV

On the 15th of November 2016, Diana Cocoru, Director of Policy and Research at Open Forum Europe (OFE) delivered a training session co-designed with Masala Boly, Human Rights and International Relations Expert, to help young job seekers to perfect their CVs.

Diana has more than 5 years of professional experience in several professional environments: EU institutions, private sector, international development and NGOs, both in Europe and Africa. She has been recruiting team members and inducted many new comers in several teams. Moreover she has also mentored various graduates during the most difficult years: the entry into the “real” professional life. Her extensive knowledge about how to personalise a CV depending on the job you target or whether it is a spontaneous application, has enabled her to address the multiples questions our trainees had and get direct feedback and advice for improvement.

Masala has several years of professional experience working with International, European and Non-Governmental Organisations, both in Europe and Africa. She particularly developed an expertise in supporting the capacity-building of Civil Society Organisations and in supporting their advocacy strategies. Masala was also a United Nation Volunteer seconded by the Belgian Foreign Ministry to UNICEF in Africa and also, a Blue book Trainee at the European Commission. She provided specific practical and useful insight to boost job applications and catch the attention of recruiters, when the applicant doesn’t have specific and personal contact inside the organisation.

If you wish to benefit from a CV training session, do not hesitate to send us an email at: acpypn@gmail.com

Want to know more about ACP YPN mission and goals?

Have you got some questions? Write to us: acpypn@gmail.com or via @acpYPN

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ACP YPN on EU-China Security Cooperation in Africa with Friends of Europe

On 9th November, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder and President discussed EU-China security cooperation in Africa with the Friends of Europe (FoE). This marked the launch of the FoE discussion paper, ‘EU, China and Africa: new thinking for a secure century’. The debate was moderated by Shada Islam, Director of Policy at FoE and included José Fernando Costa Pereira, Policy Adviser at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Directorate for Africa and Xumin Zhang, Political Counsellor at the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the EU.

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Yentyl’s main message was that 1) African solutions are needed for African problems and 2) ‘Africa is not a country’ but this new era of South-South and triangular cooperation does offer many opportunities for a secure century – however this must be based in trade and not merely security. Xumin Zhang explained, “We support peaceful resolutions to security issues on the continent and are encouraging countries, regional organisations, and the African Union to solve regional issues through African means.” José Fernando Costa Pereira said, “Chinese and European interests in Africa are converging (…) particularly in the areas of peace and security. We believe that these common interests provide us with a broader scope for trilateral cooperation between China, the EU, and African partners.

Find out more about Friends of Europe.

Contact Yentyl Williams via LinkedIn or Twitter: @yentyl_w

Want to know more about ACP YPN mission and goals?

Have you got some questions? Write to us: acpypn@gmail.com or via @acpYPN

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ACP YPN at European Parliament Internal Market Committee

On 9th November 2016, Dana Schurmans, ACP YPN Digital Inclusion Expert and PhD researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain/Vrije Universiteit Brussel, shared her ideas on entrepreneurship and cybersecurity with Members of the Internal Market Committee at the European Parliament (MEPs) and the European Commission in Brussels. These European Youth Hearings are follow-up to the European Youth Event (EYE2016) in Strasbourg in May, where ACP YPN led the first ever ACP youth delegation to EYE2016. More than 7,500 young people came together to discuss, debate and exchange ideas and perspectives on youth-related issues, and just 12 were chosen to present their ideas. Dana is one of three ACP YPN EYE2016 delegation member’s that was chosen, as well as a fourth ACP YPN Ambassador. Dana said: “I felt really privileged to have people in the European Parliament considering in my ideas for improving online platforms and collaborative economy, and protecting online consumers against cyber risks”. See her interventions in French and Dutch here.

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Dana outlined two initiatives:

  1. A European Investment Bank-led EU Crowdfunding Programme with dedicated funds for young entrepreneurs. In her opinion, this could facilitate creative, innovative and sustainable ideas to pressing societal challenges (poverty, health, education, mobility, housing, malnutrition, climate change…). Dana highlighted that the Juncker Investment Plan offers high hopes in creating a significant number of good quality jobs for young people. She adds: “We certainly agree that the Investment plan should have a lasting impact, therefore, the project must invest in social enterprises which use online platforms.”
  2. She also advocated for the establishment of a Cybersecurity Helpdesk to raise awareness on digital risks. Dana said: “From the lessons learned of my research on digital exclusion, I know that for a successful Digital Single Market strategy, European policies need to ensure that consumers; including those with low digital skills, understand their rights over their data and how to manage these rights in relation to businesses and governments”. This unique EU website would be promoted by a European video campaign.

Dana has already received positive feedback from the European Parliament and the European Commission, and shall be following up on both issues with several different European political parties that have shown interest to develop them further.

Ms. Dana Schurmans is researcher at the University Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is also pursuing a joint doctoral thesis between UCL and VUB in communication science entitled ‘New narrative for digital inequalities from the perspective of disadvantaged youth communities’. Dana is Digital inclusion expert for ACP YPN.

Contact her by mail Dana.schurmansATgmail.com or follow her on TWITTER: @DanaSchurmans

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ACP YPN at European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee

On 8th November 2016, Seyi Akiwowo, ACP YPN’s Ambassador at European Development Days 2016 and the UK’s youngest black female Councillor for the London Borough of Newham shared her ideas to improve youth inclusion at the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee. At age 22, Seyi Akiwowo was Councillor for Newham London Council. Having developed a keen interest in active citizenship while studying at the London School of Economics, Seyi became an activist for encouraging marginalised young people in democracy. Seyi is a Fellow at Royal Society of the Arts and currently is an International Facilitator and Speaker for Social Integration and Sustainable Development.

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Seyi presented two ideas: 1) She recommended the introduction of youth quotas at all elections from local to the European level. In her opinion, the European Parliament election should already have this in place by the next election in 2019. 2) She also championed “youth proofing” in the EU via an online platform whereby young people can analyse, identify and respond to key developments in EU policy.

Seyi said, “I felt really honoured to have people in the European Parliament believe in my ideas for improving youth active citizenship and to believe in it so much that I should present them to MEPs in their Committee meeting is gobsmacking. (…) It would be good to have a similar initiative in the UK.” See the article here. Her ideas received very positive feedback by both the European Commission and the European Parliament, and she has already been contacted by two political parties to discuss these issues further.

Follow Councillor Seyi Akiwowo via Facebook or  Twitter: @SeyiAkiwowo

Want to know more about ACP YPN mission and goals?

Have you got some questions? Write to us: acpypn@gmail.com or via @acpYPN

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ACP YPN at 3rd International Students Conference, Belgium

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.

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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:

  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. 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.
  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. 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.

Get in touch with Bora: LinkedIn and @iKamwanya

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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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Want to know more about ACP YPN mission and goals?

Have you got some questions? Write to us: acpypn@gmail.com or via @acpYPN

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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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ACP YPN on Women in Conflict at Press Café

On 19th October, Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Programme Manager and SDG5 Expert presented a Press café on ‘women in conflict’ at the Thon Hotel EU in Brussels. Celine animated the discussion with Angelika Hild (Founder of European Young Feminists) and was joined by other high-level speakers, including Olga Frańczak (European Women’s Lobby); Nada de Murashkin (UN mission in Darfur); Isabella Eisenberg (Formerly with Relief and Reconciliation for Syria). This was part of a Networking series organised by ISC Paris and World Solidarity Forum where each participant had the opportunity to join a discussion circle, which covered the topics of women’s treatment; women disabled by war; women taking a stand (in which Celine intervened) and women in refuge.

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Celine’s intervention focused on how communication tools are enabling women in the global South to take a stand in conflict and non-conflict zones by enhancing and fostering political participation and activism. To illustrate this, Celine used the example of #StopRacismatPretoriaGirlshigh movement and the role played by women in Colombia in the elaboration of a peace agreement.  Celine underlined that social media, especially when well-used, has transformative power i.e. social media can foster international solidarity and the fight against discrimination, not only at the political level but throughout the world by changing lives. She also recognised that young women are now leading many movements, and in her opinion this confirms that youth want to be more involved in political dialogues and the social development of their countries.

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The discussion also recognised the limits of social media, which do not always guarantee political and positive actions toward equality. For example, the movement #blacklivesmatter raised the question of the limits of the communication tools in creating political pressure and dialogue at the political level. The audience believed that to counter such negative effects more efforst were needed to continuously empower women and young people to enable them to take part in political debate and negotiation in order to improve their rights in a long term. Celine concluded the session by quoting Aung San Suu Kyi “Please use your liberty to promote ours.”

By Ms. Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Programme Manager on EU relations and SDG5 Expert.

Want to know more about Women in conflict and the use of mediaGet in touch with CelineLinkedIn & @fesira

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