Arrival of Participants from each partner delegation. Welcome dinner.
The session was held in the conference room of the Ibis Hotel, where the participants were accommodated. The session started with a welcome speech by the president of the Impressum Association, Mihai Valeriu, in the framework of the FuturEU project, but also provided information about the role of the association and a summary of the situation in Romania regarding the active participation of young people at local and European level. The president focused on the role of the country in European approaches and how European directives, values and perspectives are integrated. Ms Valeria Paraschiva then took over the session. Participants introduced themselves and the association they represent. An energizer and icebreaker session was opened: using unrealistic and figurative images, participants had to choose an image that represents them and how they position themselves on the path of active community participation. The common insights from the debriefing process were: the need to act in the present moment, the need to reduce the barriers that both communities and organisations feel in terms of active participation, and the presence of potential and opportunities offered by young people themselves in our community environments.
Then the «From Local to Global» presentation session began. Each partner presented their expertise on the evolution of the countries, ways and best practices of engagement and development of the Union and how citizens could contribute to the development of European citizenship. In this way, participants could learn about other participation mechanisms, especially for young people, in which they can play a leading role in the European framework.
In the afternoon, Miss Valeria Paraschiva opened the session – Europe for You. Young people, most of them volunteers in student associations or volunteers from different national NGOs participated and exemplified and supported the need to involve young people, but, more importantly, what are the barriers they encounter that stop or reduce their willingness to participate. It included discussions about experiences in civic projects, the influence young people had on local and national policies, barriers to involvement, the use of technology and social media, successful local initiatives, essential skills for civic engagement, motivation for youth participation, and how to balance civic involvement with other responsibilities. Additionally, it considered the role of educational institutions in promoting and facilitating civic engagement among students.
The partners stressed the need to identify ways in which volunteering can be better presented to the community: the direct and indirect, personal and community benefits, the need to identify a means of communication that appeals to young people, and the possibility of better including volunteering in school or university.
The first day session ended with the start of the role play activity – Gamification. In this session, we explored how participants made a difference in EU policy through local initiatives by engaging in educational games. The role-play game assigned participants roles representing different EU stakeholders, including EU Commissioners, MEPs, lobbyists, NGO representatives, and citizens. Teams were formed based on these roles, creating a mix of stakeholders to simulate real-world dynamics. The participants were divided into two large groups, and each received a scenario that identified a dilemma to be solved. Resolving it required each role to analyze their perspective and bring it as authentically as possible into the role-play.
The day began with a visit to the City Hall of Sector Three in Bucharest, as this local administration was chosen due to Impressum’s activities in Sector Three, offering clear insights into the relationship with the municipality. Mayor of Sector Three, Robert Negoita, engaged the participants in an open discussion, sharing the roles held as a member in the European Committee of the Regions, former President of the Association of Municipalities in Romania, and describing the ongoing efforts to maintain community relations and support youth projects and initiatives within Sector Three’s municipality. The participants learned about the digitization process and how it has enabled the City Hall to be closer to the citizens and their needs. Until lunchtime, participants had free time in Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park, a point of attraction and pride for Sector Three.
The second part of the day began with a debrief and discussion regarding the role-play game: problem-solving, how participants felt in their assigned roles, and what they would take away from the activity. Participants expressed that it is relatively impossible to solve such a dilemma when all involved roles are rigid, fail to understand other perspectives, and are not willing to identify solutions that satisfy all parties involved. They emphasized the need to thoroughly understand the roles of all social and political institutions to seek their assistance, the importance of young people/community having genuine, accurate, and valid knowledge about institutional processes to participate in joint actions, and the importance of being flexible and adaptable in response to changes in the surroundings.
The day continued with a feedback session, planning for future activities (both personal and those of the represented partner or the project, dissemination), and the distribution of participation certificates.
Departure of participants.