ROUND TABLE: YOUTH CAPITALS OF EUROPE AND AFRICA
Network of European Youth Capitals Has Been Formalized
Upon the initiative of three youth capitals: Novi Sad, Maribor and Cluj, the Network of European Youth Capitals has been formalized after 11 years in Novi Sad, and the signatories were the mayors of the previous youth capitals. As of this moment, the Network of European Youth Capitals can mutually create projects and make applications for international funds, but also present itself formally.
“I think that we have raised the bar as a European youth capital to a higher level and it will not be easy for the future capitals to follow that dynamics. Novi Sad is the eleventh city which holds the title of the European Youth Capital and as such, it has managed to gather previous capitals, as well as the future capitals in a new organized whole, as the time will show”, Miloš Vučević, the Mayor of Novi Sad says.
Signing of the document is significant not only for the region, where the initiative comes from, but for other former and future European youth capitals, and primarily for young people themselves. “There will be more programs, more projects, different initiatives and cooperation between these cities. The formal framework will make the access the funds easier, as well as exchange ideas of young people and activities”, Vukašin Grozdanović, OPENS Coordinator says.
The idea is to enable the sustainability of these programs, and for cities to shine bright not only in the year when they hold the title, but to develop the programs continuously in the years to come.
“Cluj was European Youth Capital in 2015 and during that year, we managed to do amazing things. To become the centre of young people of the Eastern Europe, to establish new programs and centres for young people and to retain young people in Romania. That is what the title should essentially bring, and the formalization of this type of network can only help us when it comes to sustainability”, Emil Boc, the Mayor of Cluj explains.
Novi Sad welcomed the mayors from Braga (Portugal), Cluj (Romania), Maribor (Slovenia), Thessaloniki (Greece) and Ganja (Azerbaijan). They will get the chance to directly exchange experience, knowledge and to develop mutual programs which will be implemented throughout Europe. The Network of European Youth Capital will be able to mutually create projects and to apply before the international funds, as well as to present itself formally.
Novi Sad – Aswan Declaration
After the foundation of the Network of European Youth Capitals, the document by which the closer cooperation of European and African youth capitals in the future is initiated, starting from Novi Sad and Aswan, i.e. Serbia and Egypt, was signed today in Novi Sad. Novi Sad – Aswan Declaration will thereby pave the way to future cooperation of European and African youth capitals, but also enable the sustainability of the Network of European Youth Capitals.
“Here, we can see how Europe works with young people and we will be able to apply that in Africa. I would like to see many more meetings and gatherings like this, were we will have the chance to learn from each other and to exchange experience, which is most important”, the Governor of Aswan, the Minister Ahmed Ibrahim says. Global challenges impose the need for full cooperation of the entire humanity. Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and attempts to revise the history of the 20th century, very present today in certain parts of the world, can be won over only by the cooperation of the youth and that is why this gathering is very important, and the World Youth Forum is a piece of evidence that the decision-makers believe that today’s young generations are the most educated, digitally literate ones, that they understand the differences and that they deserve the opportunity to apply their potential for the common good – this is the message of the gathering.
“This is a significant event, not only for Novi Sad, but for the entire Serbia. This is a nice story which has been initiated in Novi Sad, and which can enable many concrete projects in the future”, Miloš Vučević, the Mayor of Novi Sad says. Africa and Serbia will have the chance to work on mutual activities and will open the field for cooperation between young people, by organising activities in the field of music, sports, culture…
“Today, we have attended two interesting events, both under the initiative of networking and bringing the cooperation closer. The purpose of all this is to enable the sustainability of all programs we have initiated in order to retain young people in the country”, Vukašin Grozdanović, OPENS Coordinator explains.
Novi Sad – Aswan Declaration will thereby initiate the future cooperation of European and African youth capitals. On the same day, the Network of European Youth Capitals has been founded, so in one day, Novi Sad stepped deeper in Europe, but also Africa.