Do you want to know more about EYE Santander? We talked to Marta Fuentes, Director of ESN Spain, one of the 6 organisations co-organising the event.
The choice of Santander was not random. We chose it because we think it is in a great geographical location in Spain as it is near big cities but also rural areas, where we think people do not have the chance to meet with Europeans often.
How do you overcome the challenge of organising an event with six other youth organisations?
We are used to organise events together, we did one last 9th May in Madrid. On practical terms, we have a created a board composed by one delegate per organisation. We meet every 2 weeks to update the event. We have also created working groups, for example about social inclusion, sustainability, etc. so volunteers from all organisations take part in these working groups in order to guarantee that the event is on track in the event and cover the topics that are important for us.
Which will be the other topics?
The event will focus on the five most voted topics as per a consultation with young people: climate action and climate change, Youth participation, European values, Europe in the world, Mental health and wellbeing.
How will you ensure accessibility?
We will try to engage with people from disadvantaged background, we will also have a gender-balanced event, and of course we will guarantee that any person with disabilities can access the event easily.
And what about gender balance?
In Spain there is a campaign called “Dónde están ellas”(Where are the women?) which many organisations in the board are signed up for. This means that in every event we organise, at least half of the participants need to self-identify as women. This is because usually speakers are majority men, so we are trying to have this gender balance. This event is meant to be very participative event, not one-direction participation, so instead of having people giving speeches we want people to have debates with all the people present in the session.
Are you planning to put forward the Spanish culture?
Yes, definitely. The cultural programme of the EYE will be the perfect occasion for European participants to enjoy a bit of Spanish culture and traditions. We will have Spanish music in concerts and will also try to have some gastronomy routes, city tours, in order for our European guests to discover a bit more about Spain and Santander.
Which activity would you recommend us?
There will be many activities during the event including cultural activities, concerts, debates with policy makers, city tours, surfing lessons, but one of the best will definitely be the Flag Parade where all participants will join in one part of Santander with all our National and European flags and together we will walk around the city. It will be a true demonstration of European values.
What happens after the EYE Santander? How is this EYE connected to the EYE happening in Strasbourg in 2023?
This is very important and a huge challenge. Of course EYE Santander cannot finish the last day of the event and leave loose ends. So we will gather all the input and recommendations of the participants both online and offline and input into EYE Strasburg next year. The idea is to organise some sort of online event after EYE Santander so participants also have the opportunity to reconnect in an online setting and have a connection with EYE2023 in June. This way they can work on the ideas collected during EYE Santander and the proposals for the future of Europe and of young Europeans.
Want to know more? Check out the EYE Santander website.