Faces behind the EYP International Session in Valencia

More than 500 EYP events take place every year across Europe. But who are the young people who run them? Meet Cecilia, Ali, Julia and Realdo who have been busy for the past few months preparing our flagship event – the EYP International Session in Valencia, Spain, coming up this summer. We asked what are their reasons to do this.

Organising an EYP event for almost 300 young people means taking up various roles and responsibilities. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your role during the EYP International Session in Valencia? 

Cecilia: My name is Ceci, I am 21 years old and I am currently studying my 4th year of Medicine in Bilbao, Spain. I am the Team Leader of Events & Participants’ Support at the Organising Team of Valencia 2019. I have had the chance of designing the programme of the session along with the Project Managers and the organisers assigned to this team and I can say it has been an amazing creative process. For us it’s like we have already lived the session a thousand times in our mind, trying to think of every special detail that will make a difference for all the participants. Besides creating the programme, I also have the great opportunity to work closely with the participants, since my team is in charge of providing them with the information and support they need to live the memorable experience that Valencia 2019 will be.

Ali: I’m Âli, I’m 21 years old and I come from Istanbul, Turkey. I am the Editor of Valencia 2019. I study Communication and Mass Media in Prague and work as a Communication Specialist in an international company, generally focusing on strategic communication and brand-building. As the Editor of Valencia, I bring forth a vision for the media output of the event and the media team, also in line with the vision of the session and the rest of the leadership. I have an Editorial Team and a team of Media Team Members, together making up a cohesive unit which will produce content that represents their own creative visions for Valencia, as well as the spirit of the session, while also fostering the values of EYP. 

Julia:  My name is Julia Fahy, and I’m from Ireland. I have been involved in EYP since 2010, and am currently living and working in Paris. I will be the President of Valencia 2019, which, on top of being a huge honour, is an amazing responsibility to shape how the session comes to life. As part of the leadership team, I coordinate with the Head Organisers, Editor, the EYP International office, and the Governing Body to ensure that all aspects of the session come together to achieve our shared vision. This role allows me to work with and learn from amazing EYPers, and do my best to give them the opportunity to make Valencia their session. Valencia will emphasise the process of developing opinions on important topics and working together to solve problems in democratic ways, and allow space for personal development – it is my role and responsibility at this session to create an environment where this is possible for all. 

Realdo: My name is Realdo Silaj from Albania and I am 21 years old. I am currently the President of EYP Albania and will be the chairperson of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) in Valencia. The role of the chairperson comes with the responsibility of facilitating the work of the committee by assisting the delegates to achieve their goals. Keeping in mind that Valencia 2019 is a flagship event in the EYP network, chairing in the session is an honour that brings along a series of challenges related to the management of intercultural team dynamics. With the session theme centred on the sailing towards new horizons, it is particularly important to embrace the mission of being a captain for the INTA ship; being a supportive reference for others in order to make their experience the most valuable and eventful.

What is your motivation to volunteer your time to this event?

Cecilia: Because I have been volunteering in this event for more than two years, I am lucky enough to say that the reasons that made me join this madness back in 2017 are not the same ones that make me still work in it. It began as another opportunity of organising a big event with people I really admire and new people I knew I would end up loving, a chance of challenging myself to organise an outstanding session where everyone would have the time of their lives. However, now my motivation has developed into something else. I don’t want to just organise a very nice session (which obviously I am still happy to do) – I also want to give something else to the people I have worked with when it is over. I see this whole project as an opportunity to share the knowledge I have about EYP, organising and life in general to a new generation that will continue doing this many years after I stop.

Ali: EYP takes increasing amounts of time and energy with the larger projects one does, in larger roles. However, it’s the kind of work in which our investment of time and energy is directly rewarded with personal growth and incredible connections. As a student of Communication who also works in the industry, EYP gives me an open field of creative freedom to try new things and discover in a space in which failure is met with open arms and feedback to do better. Working around remarkably unique individuals from all across Europe in doing things I love and trying hard to fail in the best ways is what motivates me to put hours, weeks and months into a project. Seeing the people I work with returning to do larger projects, seeing our vision being implemented by other sessions in their own creative versions, is what really shows me that the more and better work we put into what we do, the larger impact we can have in the future of this organisation.

Julia: My motivation to volunteer my time to EYP is always the people. I am motivated by the energy and drive in teams, in learning from others and contributing to a shared goal. I am always amazed by what we can create together and the impact EYP has. These positive experiences push me to volunteer my time over and over again. It is for exactly this reason, the people of Valencia 2019, that I am volunteering my time to this event. I am very lucky to be surrounded by motivated and passionate people, with a strong vision and amazing drive to create an impactful and unforgettable session. It is working with and for the benefit of these amazing people in EYP that keeps me motivated.

Realdo: Volunteering in EYP has proved to be a rewarding choice that has shaped the person I am today. Valencia 2019 is the culmination of a lengthy process of learning and serving to the European societies in Albania and Europe. Facilitating a committee focused on a certain topic pushes me to become a young expert in that particular issue. It supports my personal expertise in a more vivid form through the involvement in the thought process of resolving the issue under analysis rather than a strictly focused academic research of any kind.

What do you value most about your learning experience in EYP?

Cecilia: What I will never forget about the EYP is how it made me feel each time it gave me the opportunity to meet someone I would have never had the chance to meet if it weren’t through the EYP. Not only did I learn how things are done in other countries and how is the daily life of someone living thousands of kilometers away from me, but it also made me ask myself why I do the things I do and why I think the way I think. I realised that in my life there are many things I take for granted, things that I do because I have never asked myself if they are the best thing to do. I don’t know if now, thanks to the EYP, I behave in a better way or contribute more to society than before, but I am surely more aware of my decisions and the world that surrounds me.

Ali: Besides the unique space for personal growth & development which EYP provides, I think the vast diversity of people we consist of and the open, safe space we create with these people is what really allows us to learn through shared experiences. Having so many different perspectives and approaches in a team makes way for an incredible learning environment that one could not get anywhere else, combined with unique, fun and long-lasting connections!

Julia: The variety of my learning experience in EYP is something I have valued since my first session as a delegate. The opportunity to think outside the classroom and conversations you are used to, and to take what you need from every experience. Without exaggeration, EYP has shaped who I am today – the friends, cities, connections, insights, skills, and so much more that I have accumulated along the way form so much of my identity, and I am so grateful for all of it! EYP gives new perspectives and opens our eyes to the world around us while making it a more reachable and friendlier place. I value the learning experience in EYP for being one that never ceases to give – I am always learning, and now, as ever, appreciate those around me who are guiding and supporting me in this role, and who allow me to learn from their experiences and insight.

Realdo: I take particular interest in the empowerment value of the EYP network in the safe growth of its participants as active citizens. The EYP learning experience offers a safe place to challenge the social and practical skills of its participants. To me, this is the real impact and value of the EYP community. Thanks to EYP, I’m a better citizen of my own country and take a more active role in the communities I am part of. 

We wish them, and all the participants of Valencia 2019 a successful event!

For more information on this event, you can follow our Facebook page or reach us at info@eyp.org