My journey into building youth participatory paths

Two months ago, I started my IVY experience, a journey that brought me from London (UK) to Bolzano (Italy), at the Institute of Comparative Federalism of Eurac Research, to work as Interreg Project Partner on the Alpine Space Project “Governance and Youth in the Alps” (GaYA). During these months, I had the privilege to work as a part of a very friendly and stimulating team, and to engage in a project which has allowed me to learn and, more importantly, to actively contribute in the implementation of youth interregional projects.

The project GaYA involves numerous partners from five different countries of the Alpine Region, who work together to overcome the crisis of representative democracy in the Alpine region, by enhancing the involvement of youth in the political decisions affecting their local community through the collection of new participatory democratic methods. In order to achieve this goal, the project is divided in different phases, which extend from a comparative legal and empirical research, to the effective implementation of specific action plans within twelve pilot areas.

My IVY volunteering coincided with the conclusion of the first part of the project, the comparative analysis of the legal framework and of the innovative practice of participatory democracy in the Alpine Area lead by Eurac Research. In particular, I provided administrative and organizational support to the project team. During the first month, I helped in the organization of internal and external meetings, and especially of the final report presentation conference “Youth Participation in Political Decisions in the Alpine Region”, which took place on 29th June 2017, and involved policy/decision-makers, NGOs officers, researchers, and youth experts. In the last month, I contributed to the translation of the final report and of the other deliveries, to the reporting, and to the proposal of the following project work-package outcomes.

At the end of this path, I find myself very satisfied and concretely enhanced by the experience as IVY volunteer, which has revealed to be a structured and complete training in the implementation of an interregional project. Indeed, I was able to learn and understand how a project needs to be structured in all its parts, and, more generally, its focus on the Alpine region enhanced my awareness of the profound similarities existing within the 48 regions of the area, and hence of the benefits arising from the sharing of good practices among them.

To conclude this journey, I would like to thank AEBR for having offered me the possibility to undertake this experience, and the Institute of Comparative Federalism of Eurac Research for the welcoming and stimulating environment provided. A particular thank to Greta, Paulina, Alice, and Lucia, the GaYA team of Eurac Research, for their constant support, precious teaching, trust and appreciation of my work.

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