My Europe My Say: Make Love Not Walls

Since its foundation in February 1989, the general intent of AEGEE-Salerno volunteers has always been to promote and develop an active European citizenship among young people by also facilitating their  mobility in Europe. AEGEE-Salerno is one of the oldest local branches of AEGEE-Europe and the fields of action have always been cultural exchange, active citizenship, higher education, peace and stability. To celebrate the carry out of such goals, in the year 2019, AEGEE-Salerno hosted the Autumn Agora Salerno 2019.

Talking about “Agora” nowadays might be confusing. The European Parliament lately released the news expressing the willingness to organize an “Agora” open to all European citizens and youngsters. A series of thematic agorae with the aim to discuss, with an inclusive and transparent approach, and engage citizens participation.

Such a term and practice has been introduced and openly used by AEGEE among its members for 35 years now. Agora is a general assembly of all local branches of AEGEE-Europe gathered to discuss, learn and share objectives and opinions. Agorae are important not only to learn about European values such as respect for human dignity and rights but also to put into practice the idea of equality and democracy. Through Agorae, AEGEE promotes peace and citizens’ wellbeing as defined in the Treaty of Lisbon. In fact, “Autumn Agora Salerno 2019 – Another Brick Off The Wall” has aimed at achieving integration and student cooperation, as well as social inclusion, in full respect of European cultures and diversity. The aim of Agora Salerno 2019 was not only to demolish the cultural borders but help the flourishing and development of new contacts with other foreign countries by offering the possibility to foreign students to stay, visit and enjoy the beauties of Salerno area. “Autumn Agora Salerno 2019 – Another Brick Off The Wall” has been designed, organized and administered by 9 young active students and European citizens of Salerno. This 9-members Core Team had been supported by small subteams composed by members of AEGEE-Salerno and 70 members of other European branches of AEGEE-Europe.


The objectives of the “Autumn Agora Salerno 2019 – Another Brick Off The Wall” focused on themes dear to the ongrowing European generation. Goals such as freedom of choice, displacement and expression – widely defended by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone has the right to freely express an opinion, a conscience, a religion and an identity. As well as the right to freely move elsewhere whether it is for work, study or residence reasons: the right to freely choose studies and/or employment with better working conditions. Hence, from 23rd to 27th October 2019, AEGEE-Salerno hosted 800 students from more than 160 European university cities, coming from 40 European Countries, gathered in one of the oldest Antennae in Italy and in Europe. The goals achieved through thematic workshops, conferences and events, were:
Self Expression: to offer a space for young people to discuss and exchange different points of view on European perspectives in order to find common ground. This exchange of ideas took place during the workshop “Hands on Creativity” with a focus on introducing the concept of self-expression and the flashmob Don’t stop me now” seen as an opportunity for participants, organizers, university students and all interested, to express themselves freely and feel part of a cohesive group. The main aim was to express the strength and determination of young Europeans grappling with their future by singing together “Don’t stop us now!”
Mobility: From one side the event raised awareness on the borders created by visa issues, on the other side the event aimed at encouraging educational and professional mobility all over Europe as a key factor in achieving a more united and cohesive Europe. The workshops “EUpportunities” and “Stop These Visa Walls -Mobility as a future of a united Europe” encouraged encounters and dialogues between people of different cultures, creating relationships and solidarity bonds between youngsters. For instance, some people had to fight to be able to come to Agora. Some participants had been excluded due to mobility barriers at EU borders. These workshops had been extremely important to raise awareness on the situation experienced by EaP+ country members.
Professional Growth: to guarantee a serene approach to the job market. Deadlines, brainstorming, teamwork, team building, problem-solving, co-working are just some of the aspects that characterize cross-training. The acquisition of these responsibilities in an associative context made it easier to recognize and overcome one’s limits without them detracting from the university and/or work career. Job in Campus” fair, aiming at promoting and accompanying students in the labour market, had been organized in collaboration with the Placement Office of UniSa. The workshop “Another Brick Off The Wall” held by Virvelle Salerno played a fundamental role in connecting labour supply and demand through effective training plans, multidisciplinary didactic interventions and coaching.
Education: raising awareness on non-formal education and informal learning as an opportunity to acquire fundamental transversal skills for future work environments. Skills such as leadership, communication skills and project management which are useful for working, personal and academic purposes. The workshop “Risk Management For A Flawless Project” aimed at committing and addressing risk management proactively and consistently throughout every project in and out AEGEE. The conference “Entrepreneurship: Businessdevelopment in Europe” wanted to offer a space for youngsters, policymakers and stakeholders to communicate their views towards a more inclusive business development in Europe.


Based on the outcome of a conference on “Employment and Entrepreneurship” held in the framework of AEGEE’s YVote project in Cluj-Napoca, the goals of the conference “Entrepreneurship: Businessdevelopment in Europe” were:
– Defining emerging professional figures by informing and forming the new generations towards professions required by the digital market. This goal has been achieved by giving glances of the transversal skills necessary to the digital market;- Pushing, on the European political agenda, for the establishment of economic support to future entrepreneurs with strategic, legal and financial advice from experts.The conference, with the guidance and support of the speaker guests, Antonio Prigiobbo, NAStartUP ideator; Susanna Sanseverino, NAStartUp coordinator and Driver; Roberto Parente, Professor of Economics and Business Management of the University of Salerno, explored the depths of the digital world. The raising professional figures related to the digital environment, the competencies needed for future professions and what are the procedures to run a Small Medium Enterprise.The target of the conference, as well for all the above-mentioned activities, was not only participants of the Agora, but also young people from Salerno, Youth Forums and university students.

To give continuity to the past hardworking years of AEGEE-Salerno and the great achievements made with Autumn Agora Salerno 2019, our association aims at keeping the four thematics under the spotlight of the public attention. Through a radio broadcast, AEGEE-Salerno will keep discussing such thematics in pills with Erasmus and International students in mobility to the University of Salerno. Different points of view for a whole greater picture.

 

Sonia Della Sala – President of AEGEE-Salerno & Content Director of Autumn Agora Salerno 2019