Getting youth to the polls:A summary of the YEUF Berlin Conference & Workshops

Philip Duzdabanian

Philip Duzdabanian

Ecogenias Cohort Member Dorida 2022

Philip Duzdabanian is an Ecogenia alumnus, who participated in the organization’s first-ever ecotourism pilot project in Dorida in 2022. With a BSc in Environmental Studies, Philip is currently earning his postgraduate degree in sustainable development, specializing in ecosystems and climate change.

Philip is also one of four Ecogenia Changemakers to participate in the Youth Empowerment Universal Franchise (YEUF) project, which aims to raise awareness of the upcoming European elections and encourage more youth participation. In this blog, he reflects on the YEUF conference held in Berlin in November 2023.  

The YEUF meeting that took place in Berlin from the 6th to the 9th of November was a great opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge while also acting as the YEUF Ambassador for Ecogenia. YEUF, the Youth Empowerment Universal Franchise is a European project funded by the European Parliament that started in May 2023, when all participants from 20 EU Member States met in Aachen, Germany to establish the objectives of the project and discuss the values of the European Union. The goal is to raise awareness amongst youth about the European Union and more specifically, about the upcoming European elections in 2024 to help drive election participation.
During the workshops in the Berliner Landeszentrale für politische Bildung (Berlin State Center for Political Education), we were taught about the importance of engaging the European youth to vote in the coming EU elections and relaying to the youth the necessary information for how and when to vote, but most importantly to convey the value of their opinion and their vote in these elections. Furthermore, during the workshops, we were taught how to manage an organization, set up innovative projects of socio-cultural and environmental importance; how to apply for funding, including the various steps, qualifications, and project deliverables required to secure funding. In other words, the budget rules and how to properly justify the project.
Most importantly, throughout the duration of the conference which was held at the Allianz Forum over the course of two days, we had the privilege to attend fascinating guest lectures from YEUF program members such as Alexandros Apostolidis, Benjamin Sibille, Thi-Sen Fontenay, Daniel Enrique Butler and Madeleina Kay. Other key-note speeches from various high-profile public figures in the EU, including Wolf Plesmann, Head of Federal and European Affairs and International Affairs in the Senate Chancellery; and Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament.