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Not Only Erasmus - Making Ourselves Heard in Europe

TDE event EUI
Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Sometimes, just talking or posting is not enough to be heard. Sometimes, someone has to give you a microphone, a stage or an opportunity. That’s why the European University Institute (located in Fiesole, Italy) wants to offer young people an opportunity to be heard, a platform where they can tell us in what kind of society they want to live. The initiatives connecting Europe with the new generations revolve around the Erasmus programme. But young people in Europe have much more to offer than just taking part in an exchange programme. They can tell us about dreams, innovation and progress, but also about hardships, violence and alternative pathways to pursue, which often the ‘technical and functional’ adult world cannot understand or does not want to listen. 

Hence, the Florentine segment of the CIVICA Public Lecture Series Tours d’Europe, entitled Not only Erasmus - Making Ourselves Heard in Europe, included in the alliance’s initiatives funded by the Erasmus+ programme, is designed to give voice to high school and university students. Three key themes are on the agenda: climate change, online gender-based violence and youth political participation. A completely digital event, in English and Italian, so not to leave anyone behind. Register now and let yourself be heard! 

The languages of the event are Italian and English (with simultaneous translation)

Follow the event: #CIVICAPublicLecture #NonSoloErasmus

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Institutional welcome 


Introduction to the CIVICA Public Lecture Tours d'Europe @ EUI

Event chair: Mario Pagano, PhD researcher, European University Institute

Europe not only has a problem of representation but also (and above all) one of "language." Europe and its citizens often speak different languages, which do not allow for easy understandings: the “technocratic” language for Brussels stakeholders, as opposed, for example, to the language of young people on social platforms. Language, however, like music, is also made of pauses, moments in which, in order for one to speak, the other shall remain silent. Therefore, the CIVICA Public Lecture Tours d’Europe organised by the EUI intends to send this message: Europe is listening while young people express themselves. In this way we will try to bring together different languages and ideas of the world, to make them talk to each other, and try to understand where we can work together. Thanks to CIVICA for this beautiful occasion. It will be a great challenge to moderate this event and I too, like the other researchers involved, will try to listen as much as possible. 

2.30-3.15pm - Panel 1: Listen to your earth 

(in English, with simultaneous Italian translation)  

Kate Yeo, Sustainability advocate from Singapore, Founder of BYO Bottle SG and Co-founder of Re-Earth Initiative 

In 2018 Kate entered the world of advocacy as a very clueless student, wanting to do something for the environment, but not quite knowing how. Kate thought “I’m too young,” “I don’t know enough,” “It’s too risky.” Those were the narratives holding her back. Today, she is the founder of BYO Bottle SG - a nation-wide campaign working to transform Singapore’s culture of disposables, and co-founder of Re-Earth Initiative, a youth-led international NGO. She invites anyone to join, as she shares about the wins - and failures! - of her advocacy journey, and gives a glimpse of what it’s like to be a youth advocate in a conservative society like Singapore.

Moderator: Anaëlle Vergonjeanne, PhD Student at CERI, Sciences-Po Paris, France

Anaëlle’s research focuses on international organisations, climate change governance and gender issues. Her PhD focuses on the inclusion of children’s political engagement for climate change in international organisations, with a focus on UN institutions. She is a specialist of children’s rights to participate and climate justice, and is currently examining as a case study the petition filed by 16 children to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2019. She is particularly interested in issues of human rights and vulnerability, and has done prior work on international cooperation on prostitution.

3.15-4.00pm - Panel 2: Online gender-based violence 

(in Italian, with simultaneous English translation

Silvia Semenzin, Researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Amsterdam 

At the end of 2018, Silvia became the promoter of the Italian campaign #intimitàviolata, which was launched on asking for the introduction of a law against image-based abuse. The campaign took to the approval of the law n.S. 1200 contained in the ddl. 'Codice Rosso' on 17/07/19, which today criminalises the non-consensual dissemination of intimate images (NCII) in Italy. Her political engagement goes together with research on inequalities in the digital space. Her latest article (written together with Lucia Bainotti) analyses the problem of cyberviolence against women and girls in male-populated digital environments, such as Telegram groups and channels.

Moderator: Roberto Occhiuzzi, Research Assistant at the AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality, Bocconi University 

“Violated intimacy” is the name of the social network campaign launched by Dr. Silvia Semenzin, in order to raise awareness of gender violence online. In 2019, non-consensual dissemination of intimate images (NCII) has finally become a criminal offence according to Italian law. It is commonly known as Revenge Porn, a mediatic term which is actually improper: pornography should presume consent, while the term “revenge” not only implies victim blaming, but also fails to consider all the possible reasons why NCII occurs, e.g., during a relationship and not only at its end. NCII is a practice far from being defeated, given the recent case of Telegram group chats, studied by Silvia Semenzin herself and Lucia Bainotti, whose work opens an important debate: do social media platforms have some responsibility when it comes to online gender violence?


Live music with Alis Mata 

Alis Mata is an economics researcher who writes sad songs for moderately cheerful people. She autoproduced her first single in June 2020 with Mèsa, spent months performing in immanent and transcendental realities (on zoom!), and exactly one year later it is time for her debut EP, Alice.

4.15-5.15pm - Panel 3: How to be heard in Europe – Youth participation in politics 

(in Italian, with simultaneous English translation)

Cristiana Marchitelli, co-founder of the European Youth Energy Network  

Being part of the European Youth Energy Network means supporting the creation of a space to connect youngsters interested in energy and empower them to share and elevate their ideas. Aligning different organisations’ voices to actually have a meaningful impact in the clean energy transition in the EU and beyond is an ambitious project. Everyday we are learning from each others’ best practices and we are creating a community. I hope you will get on board as well!

Jacopo Bencini, City Councillor for Agenda2030 and Civic Participation, Municipality of Pontassieve (Florence, Italy) and consultant on international, climate and youth policies 

Born to a mixed Italo-Polish family at a time when Europe was still divided by recent history, despite having been united by our culture and history for millennia. When Poland entered the EU in 2004, my family and I lived a true liberation: I cannot forget the happiness, the sensation of an incredible freedom and unity. This real feeling accompanied me over the years in every personal, political, professional context. I always tried to bring my Europeism beyond my roles and tasks, aiming at igniting others: when I organised youth exchanges for my city, when I participated in projects and fellowships, every time I have been speaking of Europe in a way I would have liked to do during my childhood. Politics and Europe might seem distant, abstract concepts: I cannot wait to tell you the opposite. 

Moderator: Marta Migliorati, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Jacques Delors Centre, Hertie School 

When I was 20, I thought the EU was awesome because I could access something like the Erasmus programme (I loved it!). When I was 23, I did a Master's in European public policy and my understanding of the EU completely changed. I discovered a complex machine, in need of a lot of study, a lot of research, and a lot of change. Ten years later, studying the EU, its flaws, its beauty, became my job. I believe I have benefitted immensely from being a EU citizen, and the idea that all generations to come can do the same makes me very happy. The Erasmus programme is just the first step opening our eyes wide open in front of the opportunities we have in this very special Union. That said, any involvement, any opportunity, in my view, comes through understanding and knowledge. If young generations grow with a solid understanding of the political reality they live in, this will empower them in the pursuit of the EU they want in the future. It is a complex machine, but not set in stone. And young citizens are the best resource to re-model that stone in the years to come.


Concluding remarks