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Sixty students from all over the world gathered in Berlin for a week last month to discuss Europe and boost a sense of solidarity throughout the continent. Their first meeting included a focus on the current situation in Ukraine and on how it should be addressed in an European context. We are pleased to host a report by Igor Ryabinin, the German-Ukranian student who moderated a panel discussion during that meeting.
I was born in Charkov in eastern Ukraine, grew up in Germany and currently study in Moscow. This biography might seem unusual for encounters in everyday life, but it certainly was not in the context of the first meeting of the new College of Europe in Berlin-Wannsee in October 2014.
In 1994, I emigrated from Ukraine to Germany with my parents. Their main motivation in moving away was the unstable situation and the lack of prospects in Ukraine back then. Unfortunately, even at the 20th anniversary of our emigration this year, Ukraine still remains unstable, with an unpredictable future. It was against this backdrop and in light of broad public concern about current events in Ukraine that a panel discussion was organised by the College.
Visitors can find such engravings in many areas of Berlin: they mark where
the Wall used to be.
With the gaze of all European media outlets focusing on the Berlin Wall and its historical importance, E&M wants to talk about the 25th anniversary of its fall from a personal perspective. This year, as an exclusive for our magazine, we are pleased to host the experiences of three young Italian women who spent two months in Berlin on a volunteering project at the Berlin Wall Memorial. Alice Baruffato, Eugenia Pennacchio and Veronica Pozzi, one of our Sixth Sense editors, share with us their feelings and their thoughts, developed over the course of their work at such an important place for the Europe in which we live.
Eugenia – The choice of building an historical memory by giving prominence to real life people
Behind the great history of nations and heads of state, there are the little, local stories and, behind these stories, there are real people, their lives, their emotions, their everyday experiences. As an historian I often forget that. I have been studying and analysing epochal events: wars, peace, their causes, the big protagonists of contemporary history and their actions, which seem to be solely responsible for the geopolitical context of the world where we live.
My decision to join a volunteering project at the Chapel of Reconciliation in Berlin, after having done academic research on the pacifist movements of East Berlin, was a good opportunity to re-live and to explain to visitors some of the pivotal events in the history of Germany and of the whole world. But I didn't imagine this two-month project would give me an approach to history and memory that was slightly different from the one I knew and had taken for granted before.
Photo courtesy of Young European Leadership
As part of E&M's coverage of Young European Council 2014, Petya Yankova attended the Education to Employment panel and gained an insight to future policy plans.
How to achieve the Europe 2020 benchmarks and even go beyond them was the ambitious topic of the Education to Employment panel at the Young European Council, which took place at the end of last month. With jobs, growth and investment being top priorities for the brand new Juncker College of Commissioners, the young delegates had the substantial task of solving real-life problems.
When even the average unpaid or at best underpaid internship offer seems to ask for bachelor students with five years' professional experience and fluency in six languages, many young people have little to hope for after graduation. Hordes of brilliant graduates are faced with the dilemma of either accepting a temporary low-paid position in hospitality or – well, not much else. At the same time, employers complain they have numerous positions open but no one qualified enough to take these. What does this drastic mismatch stem from and what can we as young people do about it? YEC participants in the Education to Employment panel agreed that this is a question of major importance and attempted to give it a clear and concrete answer during the four days of the Council.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so we've set out to discover what photography might be able to tell us about today's Europe.
Here at E&M, we don't just want to know what young Europeans think about Europe, we also want to find out how they see and feel the continent. As part of the newly-revamped Sixth Sense, we have introduced a photo competition called Europe Through a Lens and are publishing a selection of our readers' photographic work on a regular basis. All you have to do is submit images that you think best represent our European theme of the month.
Now that the clocks have gone back and the days are getting shorter, we've selected the theme of "Europe at night". So think maybe moonlit skies or street lamps casting shadows onto deserted pavements, perhaps even a club dancefloor or the queue for the last bus home... In the end though, it's up to you and your powers of imagination: feel free to interpret the theme however you wish!