Youth’s voice in Structured Dialogue consultations

loudspeaker-1459128_960_720The voice of YFU young people in Structured Dialogue consultations

In the frame of the Structured Dialogue with youth, EEE-YFU participates in the consultations launched by the European Institutions, by providing inputs there collected through a survey and through discussions with young people within the YFU network.

The Structured Dialogue is a process that connects young people to European decision makers, so to make sure that the voice of youth is heard when policies that affect them are being shaped.

Consultations with young people are carried out regularly, within the Structured Dialogue framework. This time consultations are aimed to receive inputs on the topic “Enabling all young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe – Ready for life, ready for society“.

Answers collected via the survey will help guide the discussion at the next European Youth Conference in the Fall and will be hopefully integrated in the final recommendations to European Institutions.

Discrimination and xenophobia are the major concerns 

Young people we consulted feel concerned in particular by: discrimination of certain groups in society (50.85%); extremism/ radicalisation of young people (45.76%); increasing xenophobia (44.07%); and the refugee crises (35.59%).

All these problems are seen as the base for social insecurity and conflicts.

In order to adapt to these changes, young people would need more opportunities to connect with other young people from different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds and more opportunities to develop critical thinking, so to be able to discern and analyse information and messages spread by the media.

Many young people in Europe feel unsatisfied and frustrated, because of the lack of actions taken by the governments to support them and unleash their potential.

Experiences abroad are the best way to connect diverse people and build trust

Experiences abroad like study, travels, internships, and volunteering are seen as the most effective way to connect diverse people (78.33%).

Other ways to promote mutual connection and trust are: intercultural education to break stereotypes (65%), projects (like training courses, seminars, exchanges, camps, etc.) that bring together different people (51.67%), and long-term exchanges in foreign countries (45%).

It is important that these opportunities are accessible by all young people, which seems not to be the case at the moment. Inclusive mobility and greater accessibility to projects, exchanges, and experiences abroad should be a priority.

More opportunities to develop communication in foreign languages, social and civic competences and critical thinking

Communication in foreign languages (84.75%), social and civic competences (76.27%), and sense of initiative and entrepreneurship (54.24%) are seen as the most helpful competences to deal with difficult situations and with the challenges of our today’s society.

These competences are very often developed outside the formal education system. For this reason, the role of non-forma education providers and collaboration between formal and non-formal education should be recognised and promoted.

The young people we consulted said that they need more opportunities to develop critical thinking (55.93%), in order to realize their full potential. Young people need to be empowered to observe, experience, analyse, and evaluate a certain issue in order to form their own judgment. Too often, the educational system and the “aggressive” media flow do not allow young people to create their own independent point of view. The fast-paced consumption of news (in a media-world that is difficult to navigate) makes young people vulnerable to propaganda, hate speeches, and mainstreamed stereotypes.