European Youth Meeting 2021

18/06/2021

This year, the European Youth Meeting took place online from the 14th of May until the 16th. The event provided an opportunity for 40 young activists from Amnesty's European sections to take part in interactive workshops, share their experiences, and discuss what activism means to them, what motivates them to take action. Amnesty Hungary was represented by 3 young activists; in this post, you can read about their experiences and thoughts about the EYM.

Borbála Bozsó

"Hey everyone! My name is Borcsi and I use the pronouns she/her. I am seventeen years old. I live in Budapest. I'm a youth activist at Amnesty Hungary's youth club and also a member of the international Youth Power Action Network. In my free time, I love to read and travel as much as I can. Fun fact about me: I actually speak 4 languages, Hungarian, English, Spanish and German.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in this year's European Youth Meeting and I absolutely loved it. I got to know so many amazing people from all around Europe and extended my knowledge in Human Rights.

I would say I am a mental health advocate. I think you can never talk enough about this topic. So, it's not a surprise that my favourite session of this long weekend was the one where we talked about our well-being. We created a safe place for everyone to share their experience. Actually, the concept of burnout is very common when it comes to activism. We learned about this and different mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, stress as well. It is important not to shy away from this "tabu topic" and talking about your struggles actually helps. I loved that we had a time and place to do so. I want to thank the organizing team for making this event and the whole weekend happen!"

Shaha Maiteh

"Hey, I am Shaha, I am Jordanian studying Architectural engineering in Hungary. I live in Pécs, an amazing city in southern Hungary. I have been with Pécs Freedom club since 2018, and I have also been a coordinator for the club. I joined FC to be more informed on all that's happening around the world, and because I believe that the youth holds the future in their hands, and with knowledge, we can create a better world for coming generations.

Two weeks of excitement waiting to meet great amazing activists, well I cannot deny that I was nervous and a bit scared, meeting activists from all over Europe just had a different heartbeat. I just knew that I would be meeting with the most thoughtful, caring and genuine group of people. That was exactly what happened, the first introduction session was filled with so much love and joy. Even though it was sad not to be able to meet all these stunning people in person you could see them radiating with fantastic big smiles and an amazing sense of humour. After 10 minutes with them, I was able to throw all my nervousness down the sea. In the course of two and a half days, diverse topics were discussed and brought to light, global warming, climate challenges, radicalism, extremism, third culture kids, and many day-to-day concerns regarding the work and struggles of youth and young activists in Europe. In addition to discussing the wellbeing and mental health of activists, we also covered the current political conflicts and their effect on human rights. Receiving and understanding the current situation of human rights all over the region was quite heavy and difficult, but It was clear to me that the challenges we face as activists are so similar, sharing the rooting reasons and their consequences.

At the end of many discussion and focus groups during the EYM, it was obvious that a lot more work needs to be done not on a national level but also in relation to the whole region. Connecting to other activists' groups and individuals who have valuable experience, we could build a strong connection between young activists around Europe forming a moving force towards a change in the future of standing for human rights. Empowering the youth is now more important than ever because of the complexity of our challenges, we need the youth to be actively involved, educated and aware of the effect of their voices and actions on the future of our generation."

Csenge Lipovits

"Hi! My name is Csenge, I use the pronouns she/her. I'm a second-year university student in London, but I'm back in Hungary for the summer and I'm currently the Youth Activism Intern for Amnesty International Hungary.

When I was offered the opportunity to attend this year's European Youth Meeting, I accepted right away, which was definitely the right choice: I had an amazing time. After first getting to know each other through fun ice-breaker games, us participants had the chance to take part in various interactive workshops about topics connected to human rights. One session that I found particularly interesting explored the ways in which climate change and human rights are linked. We discussed how the phenomenon affects people and different aspects of their lives in distinct ways all around the world, and we defined terms such as climate justice and climate migration. We all agreed that climate change is a multifaceted phenomenon closely interconnected with numerous social issues and we brainstormed about what steps we can take as individuals, as members of groups, and as a society to tackle the problem. I also really enjoyed the skillshare session, the participating activists had the opportunity to give a presentation about their youth groups, how they work and what actions and events they have been organising. I found it really inspiring to see that young people all around Europe are actively standing up for the protection of human rights."