The European Federation for Intercultural Learning was represented by Stefan Ubiparipović (AFS Serbia), Member of the European Pool of Representatives, at the Symposium on Youth Participation in a Digitalized World in September 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. More than 150 Youth representatives, government officials and important decision-makers gathered between 14th and 16th of September at the European Youth Center for this event organized by the Partnership between the European Union and the Council of Europe in the field of youth.

The agenda focused on the use of digital technology by young people and more closely on the positive and negative trends and effects which arise. Throughout the discussions, young people were encouraged to contribute to the debate and to try and give positive incentives towards future successful policies. Besides the Symposium, this was also the occasion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the European Youth Center in Budapest.

As one of the main promoters of intercultural learning, EFIL had the opportunity to give input on intercultural learning and dialogue during the workshop on Education. EFIL’s representative presented EFIL and AFS’s mission and work, specifically linked to intercultural learning through digital means. In fact EFIL held a seminar in 2013 on E-ntercultural learning – virtual tools and their impact on youth exchange and in the same year Fondazione Intercultura held the Conference ‘The Body and the Web’. In addition, more and more within the AFS network online tools are used for trainings on intercultural learning.

Input by Stefan

Nevertheless, the use of digital technology by young people offers different advantages as well potentially negative consequences. There is a strong need to promote intercultural exchange of values, which can help to build safer, more tolerant and equal environments and fight against Hate Speech online. The present and current events happening throughout Europe also make us wonder and inspire on how we can be more active in spreading a positive message about diversity not only through in-person exchanges but also digitally.

Furthermore, EFIL had a great opportunity to discuss current issues in youth policy with very important representatives such as Ms Snežana Samardžić-Marković, the Director General of Democracy of the Council of Europe and with Mr. Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

Stefan with Commissioner Navracsics
with Director Snežana Samardžić Marković
 Stefan with Ms Snežana Samardžić-Marković and other youth representatives from Serbia and FYROM.

The Symposium concluded with the thought that digital technologies offer great opportunities, but they are still not able to replace face to face communication. EFIL will continue to promote and advocate for more understanding about the importance of intercultural learning and try and help build a stronger intercultural dialogue both through exchanges and digital technologies.

by Stefan Ubiparipovic (AFS Serbia)


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