Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Day 6: General Assembly Day 1 at Mémorial de Caen

What a long day!! Today was day 1 of general assembly (GA) at Mémorial de Caen and the following committees presented their resolutions: AFET II, ECON, ITRE, LIBE II, AFET III, LIBE I, and ENVI. Each committee was given about one hour to present their resolution, give a defense speech, three rounds of debate followed, a conclusion speech was given, and finally the resolution was put to a vote. Click here to view the resolutions.

This being my first GA, I was quite excited to see what would transpire after talking to many delegates who have taken part in EYP in the past. Much like American university and high school students, I was very happy to see that European university and high school students were likewise passionate about politics, past and current events, and the roles their respective governments and leaders take in issues. Although some comments directed at certain committees/persons were disrespectful, what took place is a perfect example of what happens when actual government officials/representatives get together and talk it out. Differing opinions will always stir emotions and cause even the best of us to occasionally say something that we immediately want to take back (or if not immediately then eventually). I would have been very surprised if no fueled and emotional comments were said because a lot of topics discussed just cannot be brought to the table if you yourself don't have a strong position on the matter at hand. For example, LIBE II's resolution (about the measures that should be taken to ensure that discrimination against ethnic, religious and sexual minorities is ostracised equally, and diversity embraced across Europe) sparked, in my opinion, the most engaging debate I have seen among students in a long time.

It would be amazing if something very similar to EYP is started in the US. I feel that a good portion of young people in the US are not informed enough (or choose not to be informed) about pressing national issues and an organization like EYP in the US I believe would more than adequately inform students, and in consequence these students will hopefully be more informed and active voters. Furthermore, students from France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Poland, Sweden, etc. could come to the states and learn about our current politics and offer their opinions on how the US can move forward and improve relations across the world.

Tomorrow, my committee (AFET I) will be presenting. So far, all resolutions have been passed and three more will be presented tomorrow. Hopefully, our resolution will pass, but we will have to wait and see :) À bientôt!

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