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Young people beyond boundaries

Apr 16, 2014 / alpMedia
The Youth Parliament of the Alpine Convention (YPAC), held in Chamonix, sought to find solutions for creating an open society. Political education and more information were uppermost on the wish list of the participants, who came from all of the Alpine countries.
Image caption:
YPAC promotes dialogue: young people exchange views with representatives from the worlds of politics and civil society.

Under the motto “My Alps beyond boundaries” some 90 young people aged between 14 and 19 years met in the first week of April 2014 in Chamonix, France, to develop solutions for the challenges facing the Alpine regions. The participants in the ninth Youth Parliament of the Alpine Convention came from countries with different cultures and political systems. They all had one thing in common, however: the will to take joint responsibility for their habitat and their future.

Dialogue with politicians

Many of the demands that were ultimately adopted concerned political education and participation. More discussion and better access to information will allow young people to form their own opinions at an early age: Among other things, they therefore, suggested promoting political awareness at school through courses and debates. Similarly, some of the demands aim at the creation of more youth parliaments in cities and a news platform for information concerning the Alps as a whole. One group of young people, with the support of coaches, performed communications tasks, produced video clips and considered the long-term impact of their parliament.

An important experience for the young people at the YPAC was provided by the exchanges with representatives from the worlds of politics and civil society who had travelled there from various Alpine countries. The young people’s demands found a receptive audience: the president of “Environn'Mont Blanc”, Anne Lassman-Trappier, agreed that as much attention as possible should be given to the environment, civic commitment and youth training. As she said: “Schools should not simply limit themselves to conventional subjects.”

Important experiences for both sides

The exchanges also proved a rewarding experience for adults, as emphasised by Cassiano Luminati, President of the Swiss region of Valposchiavo: “This was a great opportunity for me to discuss with the delegates what us politicians can do and how we can take account of the needs of our young people.”

The 2014 Youth Parliament of the Alpine Convention was organised by the Frison-Roche High School in Chamonix with the participation of nine further high schools and the technical support of CIPRA, the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps. The Youth Parliament was made possible thanks to the financial support of the EU’s “Youth in Action” programme, the town of Chamonix, the department of Haute-Savoie and the Rhône-Alpes region.

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