The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is an educational platform for independent thinking and initiative in young people and facilitates the learning of social and professional skills, like teamwork, tolerance and problem-solving, as well as communication and leadership skills. In the form of simulations of the European Parliament, participants aged between 16-27 come together to try and solve key societal issues, whilst exchanging their opinions and cultures. The EYP is organised by Stichting Europees Jeugdparlement Nederland in the Netherlands since 1998, whilst the programme has existed since 1987 internationally.
As the Secretary of the Board for the mandate of 2019-2020, I was responsible for a wide array of domains. One of my main domains was outreach, where I nurtured and maintained contact with high schools all across the country to increase our participant-base, which resulted in 350 new young people in The Netherlands being able to join our activities in 2019. Furthermore, I helped to develop long-term partnerships with national and local organisations with in-kind support and knowledge to aid the future growth of the organisation.
Another major activity was coordinating the organisation of four medium-based regional conferences. In this process, it was of paramount importance that all communication and leadership was delegated well within the organisation. Coordinating these events in close proximity of each other meant that all volunteers had to be aligned across these conferences and that resources were divided efficiently. In the end, these conferences facilitated around 30 volunteers and 100 participants total each. During one of these conferences, MEP Tom Berendsen talked to all participants, applauding the foundation’s efforts and stimulating them to stay active citizens that make an impact.
I also provided auxiliary support for our largest event of the year; the National Conference happening in The Hague. The Hague 2020 provided to its participants an open forum for discussing the Sustainable Development Goals and work together to develop ways to implement them on a European level. The plenary debates took place in the prestigious location of the Oude Zaal at the Binnenhof in Den Haag, where first-deputy speaker of the House Ockje Tellegen voiced her admiration of the effort of active citizenship by all participants.
To further stimulate development and growth of the organisation, we started the groundwork for the National Strategy for the period of 2021-2025, where we collectively as a board reflected on the previous National Strategy and converting aspirations into long-term measurable goals. The development of this strategy continued in my second board term, which I reflect upon here.