Supporting cooperation between France and Italy: My experience at ALCOTRA
I am Chiara, I am Italian and I moved to Lyon, France, in October 2021 to begin this amazing six-months experience as an Interreg Volunteer Youth in ALCOTRA, the Interreg Programme for cooperation between Italy and France. Just a few weeks have passed, but I’ve already learned a lot about the Programme and I’m already feeling a part of the ALCOTRA family.
ALCOTRA is an Interreg Programme that finances projects in French departments and Italian provinces along the Alpine border. More specifically, every project is required to have at least one partner in each of the two countries and has to act within at least one of the four objectives of the Programme : applied innovation, better-managed environment, attractiveness of the territory and social inclusion and European citizenship.
As an INTERREG Reporter, my role in the Programme is mainly related to communication tasks. Starting in October, I was lucky enough to take part in the first in-presence event after the long period of restrictions due to the pandemic. Indeed, I was soon involved in the organization of the closing event of a storytelling competition for young people living in the regional territories of the Programme. This competition, a big communication action launched by the Programme in 2020 to raise awareness about ALCOTRA, was focused on climate change in relation to the Alpine region, one of the four axes which the programme acts upon.
On the day of the event, the Programme invited the young winners from Italian and French secondary schools to Annecy and awarded them with an exciting paragliding atelier. This was held by Nicolas Plain, a scientist who has made his paraglide a laboratory to study and disseminate information about the effects of climate change on the Alps, as well as Ambassador of EUSALP (the European Union Strategy for the Alpine region).
From a personal standpoint, taking part to the event was like hitting the jackpot! First of all, I had the chance to see what it is like to organize an event of this size and importance and to give my small contribution to its success. Secondly, as a young adult who speaks both Italian and French, I think I had a privileged position which allowed me to act as a « bridge » between French and Italian students, but also between students and the ALCOTRA staff. Last but not least, it was nice to take advantage of the paragliding atelier and to meet the professional figures invited to the event. The whole afternoon was a concrete example of transnational cooperation and a very nice exchange opportunity.
Finally, the following day I was also invited to attend the reunion of the Programme’s Monitoring Committee, which was a great chance to acknowledge first hand the life cycle of the projects.
Thanks to IVY, in just a few weeks I have learned so many new things that I can’t help being excited to see what’s next.
Chiara Ferri - IVY Reporter at Interreg programme ALCOTRA