Second International Forum of the European Youth Parliament on OSCE topics concluded

In 2016, the German Chairmanship of the OSCE has supported the implementation of two large-scale youth events through the network of the Schwarzkopf Foundation and its biggest project, the European Youth Parliament (EYP). The two so-called International Forums of the EYP centered on topics according to the priorities set forward by the chairmanship, and brought together 150 youngsters aged 15 to 26 from OSCE countries. Next to participants from the EYP network, youth from the USA, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Mongolia took part in the two Forums in Vienna and Belgrade.

The presentations attracted a great audience Enlarge image The presentations attracted a great audience (© Schwarzkopf-Stiftung)

The first International Forum was held in the Austrian capital from May 17 to 24, 2016. Participants formed ten committees lead by young peer facilitators, where they discussed e.g. the rights of Roma, combatting corruption, and the mass collection of data. Several experts from the OSCE headquarters joined the committees to talk about their daily work in the OSCE framework and to give the young debaters real-life context to their discussions. Based on the committee work, comprehensive resolutions were debated in a General Assembly format during the last two days of the Forum.

Small discussion groups were also part of the event Enlarge image Small discussion groups were also part of the event (© Schwarzkopf-Stiftung)

The second International Forum of the EYP took place in Serbia, another OSCE Troika country, from August 11 to 17, 2016. Similar to the Forum in Austria, a local organizing team, made up of young volunteers from the EYP network, helped prepare and implement the Forum, that brought together 130 participants in Belgrade. This time the focus of the topics shifted to solving the conflict in Nagorno-Karabach and water management in OSCE countries, among other current affairs. The OSCE Special Representatives for Youth and Security, Milena Stosic and Paul Steiner, were closely involved in training the committee work facilitators on the OSCE framework.

The two Youth Representatives of the Chairmanship Paul Steiner and Milena Stosic Enlarge image The two Youth Representatives of the Chairmanship Paul Steiner and Milena Stosic (© Schwarzkopf-Stiftung)

The two events presented a set of forward-looking ideas drafted by young people from a wide range of OSCE countries. The events were made possible especially through around 60 young EYP volunteers who worked in Vienna and Belgrade several months to prepare the Forums.

The Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe will, following the two International Forums of the EYP, implement this year also nine discussion events throughout Germany and one concluding seminar in Berlin, all aiming at involving youth and promoting a greater understanding of the OSCE among a younger target group.