Discussing persons on a panel

NextGen goes Europe

A great exchance of the European Youth Parliament with young Europeans of more than 40 different countries in Baku from 5th to 8th August 2023.


Young people meet to discuss European challenges and solutions in Baku, Azerbaijan

Jessica Gerke from the NextGen team "Young People and Society" discusses with other experts and participants the exciting work of the European Youth Parliament, which organizes an International Session twice a year under the auspices of the Schwarzkopf Foundation.

At an evening panel under the open sky and a temperature of 35°Celsius, the young participants gather to get urgent questions about the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) answered.

Together with the Executive Director of the Schwarzkopf Foundation, Tomáš Sacher, and Nigar Nasrullayeva from UNICEF, Jessica Gerke discusses the role of (digital) education as a key to achieving the SDGs and necessary changes in the education system:

We still have 7 years to achieve the SDGs. To focus only on school education and to say to young people in formal education settings 'Here are the SDGs, please learn this diligently so that the goals are achieved' is simply too little.

Young people do not need to learn how to recycle. At this point, they should learn and be empowered how to organize, make their voices heard, and remind decision-makers of their commitments.

And, we have to face this challenge as a whole society, leave filter bubbles and comfort zones. Then we still have a chance to achieve the goals.

Jessica Gerke

The conference has become a transformative setting

It is inspiring to see how many young people travel, sometimes long distances, to take part in this event. The success of formats like this can be seen in the many volunteers who organize and run the event: They are all under 30 and started out as participants themselves. This is not the first time this event has been described as "transformative." The EYP is a good example of how non-formal educational settings complement formal educational venues, such as schools or universities. The more young people have these transformative, empowering learning experiences, the better they can actively shape our society and contribute to a sustainable future.