The REBUILD International Youth Summit, hosted by OTB, took place on May 3rd-5th, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. This three-day event aimed to bring together young people from different countries to share their experiences and initiatives, with a focus on youth engagement and its role in rebuilding society. The summit provided a platform for networking, learning, and collaboration, allowing participants to connect, exchange ideas, and create partnerships for sustainable projects.
The first day of the summit began with a morning city tour through the heart of Brussels where participants had the opportunity to explore the city’s iconic landmarks.
In the afternoon, a networking session was organized to create relationships and a positive and productive work environment. Moreover, non-formal interactive sessions were conducted, focusing on underrepresented youth civic engagement. Youth ambassadors and teams presented their experiences, highlighting the importance of youth participation in shaping society.
The second day started with guest speakers from various European youth stakeholders who shared their insights and expertise. Concretely, Jelena Spasovic, General Manager of Connect International, discussed youth policies in the digital era. Judit Lantai, Secretary General of JEF EUROPE, spoke about young people’s participation in the upcoming European Elections in 2024. Gabriella Civico, Director of the Centre for European Volunteering, shed light on European volunteering policies and their impact on youth. Brikena Xhomaqi, Director of the Life Long Learning Platform, advocated for lifelong learning opportunities for young people. These engaging sessions provided valuable knowledge and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing European youth.
In the afternoon, the REBUILD Youth Fair took place at Mundo-b, where each organization presented their own youth initiative. Participants had the opportunity to interact with the organizations through Q&A sessions following the presentations. This fair allowed attendees to learn from each other, exchange best practices, and gain inspiration for their future projects. The atmosphere was vibrant and energetic, with participants showcasing their innovative ideas and solutions.
On the third and final day, the summit continued with an early visit to the House of European History, offering participants a chance to delve into the rich heritage and shared history of Europe. The summit concluded in the European Parliament, where winning participants from each country presented their local initiatives. Additionally, the Out of the Box Award 2023, recognizing youth initiatives in Belgium, was given to StamMedia for its outstanding work. The event culminated with the presentation of the Policy Paper and the European Panel. Guest speakers: Alice Valenza from CESIE, Lana Pasic from EU-CoE Youth Partnership, Ismael Páez Cívico from the European Youth Forum, and Charalampos Papaioannou, Policy Officer at the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, shared their insights and expertise.
The REBUILD International Youth Summit was a resounding success, bringing together young people from diverse backgrounds to share their local initiatives and inspire each other. The summit fostered collaboration, networking and knowledge exchange, emphasizing the pivotal role of youth engagement in rebuilding society. The participants left a positive impact on their communities, and the summit provided them with the motivation to dream big and continue making a difference. The REBUILD project was financed by the European Youth Together Action of the Erasmus+ Programme, underscoring the commitment to empowering young people and promoting youth-led initiatives.