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Becoming the Head of the European Parliament, Council of Europe, High Representative of the EU, or party leader at the European Parliament – in real life it needs years of experience and hard work. However, for students it has become possible just through an application and interview process. On 7-9 October Armenian and international students gathered in Yerevan to take part in the “Armenia Model European Union (AMEU)” youth conference financed by the EU Delegation to Armenia. During this unique, political simulation conference, participants undertook the roles of Heads of EU member states, EU leaders, and many other officials.
More than 100 Armenian students from various regions, as well as 30 international participants took part in the project, after being selected through a competitive two-phased procedure through which 500 applicants applied. International selected participants came from Finland, Estonia, United Kingdom, Latvia, Germany, and many other countries.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, attended the event, where he talked about current developments in the EU and answered participants’ questions: ‘The future of the EU will not be easy; however, my main message to you is to be positive and optimistic. It’s true that the EU faces very serious challenges, existential challenges and risks, this is admitted by top officials. You know the kind of challenges to which I refer: firstly political, for example, the results of the referendum in Britain and its impact on the future of the EU. As you know, the reflection process is ongoing and it is too early to judge the impact on the EU’s future. There are two current tendencies which were clearly manifested during the recent summit in Bratislava. The first is to deepen the integration and make a closer step towards the federation project. The second is take a step back and take stock, to strengthen the national foundations of the common project and to rethink the idea, as well as the prerogatives delegated to Brussels. I believe that the European project will continue to develop, even without the United Kingdom we will be powerful enough to attract the attention and the interest of other countries. The European project will also produce tangible benefits for stability across the globe. Our newly adopted global strategy contains a number of very important indications of where and how the EU is going to project its values to the wider world, including in this region to countries like Armenia’.
Luis Antonio Cervera Bojorquez, a student from Mexico now studying at the UWC Dilijan international school in Armenia, had the opportunity to attend the conference and valued his participation: ‘Living in Armenia is an amazing experience and I would not change it for anything. The conference gave me an opportunity to meet a lot of new people. It was the kind of experience you would not get anywhere else, it was very exciting. It showed me how the EU works and experience what it means to be in diplomat’s shoes for a day or two’.
14650348_1125630454157549_334085314560057312_nViktorya Muradyan from Armenia participated in AMEU years ago, but is now one of the head organisers of the event: ‘This conference gave me a lot – firstly the willingness and motivation to change something, as well as a new life vision. It gave me friends who will stay with me forever. Organising a model conference in Armenia even after six years in a row is hard but, as you can see, it’s possible’.
During the conference, participants simulated the EU legislative procedure of adopting decisions. They addressed recent migration processes and the refugee crisis in Europe. The aim of the event was to simulate civic activism and improve EU-related knowledge and the level of European awareness among the Armenian youth. The organiser of the event was “AEGEE-Yerevan/Yerevan European Students’ Forum” Youth NGO. On the closing day of the conference, Ambassador Świtalski presented participants with Certificates of Appreciation.