Gozitan delegation attend ERY meeting in Bologna
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The 5th edition of the European Regions for Youth (ERY) meeting was this year held in Bologna, Italy between the 24th and 28th November 2009. Malta was represented by two delegations thanks to the initiative taken earlier this year by the Mayor of Victoria, Dr Samuel Azzopardi, who included the Island of Gozo in a network of European regions and which regularly organises youth conferences and other activities in different European cities.
Both students and educators, mostly teachers and school administrators, worked in workshops for three whole days. At the end of the 3-day sessions draft proposals were produced, which in turn were to be sent to the respective EU institutions. The topics debated upon dealt with Equality and Solidarity, Dignity and Freedom and Citizens’ Rights and Justice.
The close collaboration between the same Local Council of Victoria and Gozo’s leading Post-Secondary Institute, Sir Michelangelo Refalo Centre for Further Studies meant that for the first time ever Malta, through its Gozitan team, left its mark at this meeting when its proposal on Equality and Solidarity was chosen by popular vote from all students present.
The Gozitan delegation, led and coordinated by Assistant Head Daniel James Cassar, included students Josmar Saliba, Nicholas Vella, Mark Grech and Joseph Caruana. The latter, leader of his group, was also the chosen delegate from his section and was the person to ultimately deliver the final draft of the proposal on equality and solidarity in the Emilia Romagna Legislative Assembly’s Auditorium in the presence of well over 300 students and 60 educators from 27 European countries. Those present for the final assembly, which was televised, including prominent dignitaries from EU institutions and Italian members of parliament.
Apart from being a meeting and exchange opportunity, the European Youth Meeting is meant to foster active citizenship, student ability to debate on chosen topics, a sense of European identity and belonging to the EU, solidarity, mutual understanding and youth mobility through the strengthening of partnerships between further education institutes of the EU.