Opening panel of the Conference on Youth on 12 March 2009.
The main objective of this meeting was to support voluntary work and non-formal education of young people.
The European Conference on Youth was launched on 12 March 2009 in the Prague Congress Centre. The meeting was attended by 115 delegates from 28 EU Member States, candidate countries and EFTA countries. Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Ondřej Liška and representatives of the European Commission, Director-General for Education and Culture Odile Quintin and Director-General for Youth, Sports and Relations with the Citizens Pierre Mairesse spoke at the opening panel. Apart from representatives of state administration and non-profit organisations, a number of experts and youth representatives took part in the conference.
At a press conference Minister Liška stated that voluntary work should be a topic for the European Year: “The Czech Presidency very much appreciates that the European Commission has responded to numerous initiatives of European youth associations, and began to work on declaring year 2011 the European Year of Volunteering. This move will help raise awareness about volunteering both on the part of those who would like to get involved in voluntary work, as well as those who make use of this type of work. The European Year of Volunteering will be a remarkable opportunity to provide opportunities for the volunteers’ self-education and personal development.”
The main objective of the two-day conference was to raise awareness of voluntary work among those who participate in voluntary work as well as those who make use of this type of work. Therefore, the participants of this conference attempted to map the existing youth volunteer programmes on an international level and considered the efficiency of various tools that could motivate young people to become engaged in trans-national voluntary work. This concerns also young people with limited opportunities. This group was the focal point of a discussion on adaptation of the existing voluntary work opportunities and creating new ones. Last but not least, the issue of recognising the value of non-formal education was addressed.
At the press conference, Odile Quintin addressed the significance of voluntary work for society: “Voluntary work is the foundation of our society. It brings people together, allows them to work on common projects and form society. Voluntary work gives rise to strong social networks that function on the basis of the principle of solidarity.”
The main part of the meeting was divided into five working groups, which the participants applied for in accordance with their personal preferences. A best practice fair, which enabled the participants to present their involvement in voluntary work and non-formal education or, as the case may be, to create new contacts, was also a part of the conference.
When formulating their proposals the participants in the conference followed current initiatives in the relevant areas at European level (the Council Resolution on the recognition of the value of non-formal and informal learning within the European youth field, Youthpass, the European Portfolio for Youth Leaders and Youth Workers and the preparations of the European Year of Volunteering in 2011). The main rapporteur of the conference will prepare the conclusions of the meetings of the individual groups in the form of final reports to be published on the websites of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, The National Institute of Children and Youth and possibly other partners in early May 2009. Later the reports will be handed over to the Ministers responsible for youth at the informal meeting of Ministers of Education, Youth and Culture in May.
The European Conference on Youth is one of the three official events of the Czech Presidency in the area of youth policy. The two others are the Meeting of directors responsible for youth and the Youth Meeting Event.
Photos from the event to be found here.
Speech of Odile Quintin, Director-General for Education and Culture: Speech_Quintin.doc (43,00 KB)
Speech of minister O. Liška: Speech_Liska.pdf (118,09 KB)
Mgr. Tomáš Bouška
Spokesperson of the MEYES for CZ PRES
tel.: +420 257 193 426
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