European Youth Forum
Projects Switzerland

What should Europe look like in the future?

At the European Youth Forum Trogen (EYFT), 100 young people from ten different countries have an unforgettable experience together in the Pestalozzi Children's Village: for a good week they deal intensively with the topic "Future Of Europe".

The European Youth Forum Trogen is a joint project of the Pestalozzi Children's Foundation and the Trogen Cantonal School (KST). Pupils from Turkey, Latvia, Italy, Germany, France, Croatia, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland receive inputs in various workshops in order to be able to develop concrete action plans at the end of the EYFT. These were led by our educators and interns as well as teachers from KST. In the meantime, the accompanying teachers of the delegations attended a workshop on the topic of "democratic learning" in addition to various exchange rounds and shadowing. In addition, the KST provides the Swiss delegation, the other delegations are made up of students from our partner schools.

In the "Break The Silence" workshop, Pascal Haltiner, educator for exchange projects, and Aida Brülisauer, intern in the exchange projects, ask their group about identity characteristics. The young people then have to assign these “labels” to different roles: who is privileged, who is oppressed? They also have to classify themselves - and realize how much they belong to privileged society. With this knowledge in mind, Pascal's group can work very precisely towards their goal and find solutions on how to fight injustice in their own countries or across Europe.

Julian Friedrich, also a pedagogue for exchange projects, and intern Timo Haeggberg focus strongly on the feelings of young people in “From Resignation And Anger To Change”. In personal stories that the young people tell each other, strengths are recognized, from which they ultimately develop superpowers. However, Julian's group is not only concerned with one's own identity, but also with the world. For example, the young people have their answers to the question "What makes you angry in this world?" creatively exhibited in a self-designed «Museum Of Failure». In addition, the view was also turned to the good and dream speeches were written - from these concrete solutions emerged in the end.

For Pascal and Julian, who are otherwise involved in "ordinary" exchange projects, the EYFT is an exciting, varied project. "Because we work in smaller groups, the young people develop a completely different dynamic and there is automatically more space for each individual voice," explains Pascal. Julian agrees – “the young people are very motivated and also engaged in the tasks with one another, some of which require them to be very honest. It's really nice to be a part of this."

Another group is headed by Lillemor Spadin, a teacher at the Trogen cantonal school, and Samira Spörri, an intern at the children's village. They are dedicated to «The Climate Crisis». Let's take a seat in the group of young people and read the description of the role-playing game that they will be dealing with in a moment:

"Greenland is an independent territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. However, since large oil resources were discovered on and around Greenland, the US has repeatedly proposed to buy Greenland from Denmark. The las such offer was made by US President Donald Trump in 2019, saying that the US could subsidize Greenland with a lot more money than Denmark can. The question in this role play is: Should Greenland be sold to the US or not?»

The role play should help the young people to take as many different perspectives as possible - in order to be able to convince them with concrete, tangible measures for the future of Europe in relation to the climate crisis.

Cinzia Hänsenberger, educator for radio projects, will lead the "Truth And Media" workshop. Together with intern Luca Lätsch and her group, she searches for the truth: "How do you recognize false information and where can you find honest answers to the really big questions?" Fake news also makes up a large part of her workshop – which the young people spread themselves, among other things, by word of mouth or via the internal Whatsapp group chats. The young adults experienced the effects of fake news within a short period of time as part of this experiment and in the form of strong emotions, which is why the resolution and apology took place the day after by radio bus.

The fifth and final workshop revolves around the topic "The Way Europe Sounds And Appears". The young people, together with Sebastian Wehrfritz and Lea Rechsteiner, both teachers at the cantonal school, and Marco Ehrbar, who is doing his civilian service in the radio projects, are designing a large, alternative European flag. At the same time, they exchange ideas about traditional music in their respective countries, collect different rhythms and tones and finally combine everything into a single, common song.