European Youth Lead the Way in Strasbourg

Strasbourg, France, is a city used to the periodic influx of politicians from across Europe for sessions of the European Parliament. On May 10, however, Parliament buzzed with a different energy, generated this time by the 5000 young people who had flocked to the charming Alsatian capital for the European Youth Event to discuss youth programs and to exchange ideas.

Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues Zeenat Rahman at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, May 2014. Photo: USEU
Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues Zeenat Rahman at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, May 2014. Photo: USEU

USEU supported the participation of Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues Zeenat Rahman, who met with young people from across the European Union to discuss how the State Department supports innovation and entrepreneurship around the world. The ambiance was upbeat, and so was the message she delivered in a room packed with participants and television cameras:

“You all have unique talents: use those talents because only you can build the future of your country, Europe and the world.” Her message clearly resonated with the audience, triggering questions from Cypriot, Bulgarian, Dutch, Austrian, Irish, German and Italian participants.

Special Adviser Rahman provided a global context to the debate and indicated that the U.S. is looking for answers to global youth unemployment and for ways to increase innovation. The other panelists included Jan Reichelt, entrepreneur; Romain Lacombe, entrepreneur and innovation adviser to the French government; and Bror Samelin, Special Adviser on Innovation Systems at the European Commission, each shedding light on ‘youth’ and ‘innovation’ from their perspective. The discussion covered the education system, the culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking, the role of government, expectations from parents and practical advice on how to start a public-private partnership.

The panel debate was organized by the European Young Innovators Forum and served as a unique opportunity for USEU to engage young people on transatlantic priorities at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

By Dion Wierts, Cultural Affairs Specialist

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