PERSONAL REPORT FROM RIO. First of all it was both an incredible opportunity and a privilege to represent EMAJ at the Alliance of Civilizations Forum as a delegate of the European Youth Forum (EYF) in Brazil. I was not alone regarding EMAJ, since Letizia Gambini was there also as a delegate of EYF, so as Pawel Krzysiek who was invited to attend the Marketplace of Ideas. Thus EMAJ was the most represented organization in this cross-cultural environment.
The conference itself was the third of its kind after Madrid (2008) and Istanbul (2009), now it was Rio’s turn to host the event. The initiative was inspired by the Turkish and Spanish prime ministers six years ago at the UN General Assembly. As of the youth perspective, it was the biggest gathering in the history of the Forum, since it had over 140 youth from more than 65 countries.
I think it was a perfect way of team-building in the first day when we went to the diverse neighborhood of the city, the so called SAARA where immigrants from all over the place are living in peace and harmony in Rio de Janeiro. As we walked on the streets in international groups we could really start feeling the atmosphere of the place and why it was chosen to host the event.
The Forum itself began with the Youth Event, a forum for youth on a smaller scale. The discussions went on the same form as it would be in the Forum with all the politicians and diplomats on the next days. With Letizia we tried to split our work in different sessions so we can give updates to all those who followed us on twitter (@EMAJMagazine) and other social media tools. It was a strong commitment from our side as well to speak up on behalf of EMAJ and EYP and to spread the news among those who were not presented but very interested in the outcome of the Forum.
The Youth Event finished with a text of “Youth Recommendations at the Forum”. The recommendations involved thoughts, comments and other contributions from youth on topics that were discussed during the day. Such as the role of media, new social media tools, human rights, empowering women, intercultural coexistence. (The recommendations were read by young participants at the closing ceremony.)
The days after (27-28 May) began the “official” forum including political leaders, activists, foundations, journalists from all over the world. “Young people constitute one of the groups most vulnerable to fanaticism and intolerance, in addition to being the main victims of violence. But, they are also best bet for the future, as long as they are well oriented towards the knowledge of others and respecting differences.” – said Lula de Silva President of Brazil in his welcoming speech.
As a representative of EMAJ myself was interviewed by the UN Production team who would make a documentary on the Forum that would be distributed on several international channels. I was chosen to be interviewed every day to talk about the experience I gained, the programs we attended where I come from and to talk more about EMAJ.
Furthermore Pawel was representing the idea of EMAJ at the Marketplace of Ideas: „We build on diversity. As you see, we are different. Sometimes very different. Thus make news, not stereotypes.” – told the audience. And the concept of EMAJ won the support of Vivendi, the French telecommunications company.
The whole conference could not have taken place without a great alliance of civilizations and it was great to be part of it.