Discussing the role of experts in the EYP network: two interviews

What is the future of renewable energy in Europe? How to make health services more accessible to citizens? These questions are among the topics that young people will debate during the EYP International Session in Rotterdam, starting on the 13th of October. Engaging with current topics and entering into a dialogue with decision makers lies at the heart of the EYP experience. Participants convene in international working groups and discuss their topics with the aim of proposing fresh perspectives and offering solutions. Ali Amjad from the United Kingdom and Vicky Formicola from Italy will be chairing two working groups in Rotterdam. We have asked them about their motivation and about the role that experts take during committee work. Here is what they shared with us.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

Ali: Laid back, former physics student who spends too much time cooking or at gigs.

Vicky: If I am not working on some new project or out in the streets playing music, probably I am sleeping.

What will be your role during the session?

Ali: I will be the chairperson of the committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). The committee will feature delegates across 16 different countries involved with EYP and discuss a topic regarding the financing of renewable energies in the forthcoming years.

Vicky: I will be chairing the committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI II). We will focus on the challenges of medical tourism in the EU.

What is your motivation to do that? Why have you decided to volunteer your time to do that?

Ali: Chairing a committee is one of the most enjoyable elements in EYP for me because of the opportunity to work first hand in creating something. The written resolution at the end of the session has the handprint of over a dozen people from all over Europe, and it is not often you get such an opportunity.

Vicky: I was always keen on academics, however socialising and discovering the world in all its peculiarities were also two aspects I could not live without. When I discovered EYP, I found everything I was looking for: meaningful conversations with people full of motivation and knowledge worldwide, who enriched my vision and understanding of the world itself. Every time I decide to “volunteer my time” to EYP, I always know that the experience I get back from it is priceless.

What is the most challenging part of chairing a committee on energy (Ali, ITRE) and on medical tourism (Vicky, ENVI II)?

Ali: Normally the technical aspects of some things can be quite complicated, however in this topic, it’s more understanding the financial nuances, e.g. how does state support impact innovation in the field of renewable energies.

VickyDiscussing medical rights can be challenging because the topic does not only tackle medical tourism in EU Member States, but also cross-border healthcare outside of the EU. Therefore, patients’ rights vary consistently according to the country in which the medical treatment is provided.

What is the role of experts during committee work? 

Ali: The expert offers two things for delegates. Firstly, the invaluable opportunity to ask a real stakeholder and expert questions, in order to gain a fuller understanding of the real-life consequences of what their resolution would offer. Secondly, the Topic Expert will offer their own advice on things such as the likelihood of certain measures being adopted and can offer up ways to improve these suggested measures.

VickyExperts are crucial for delegates to learn about the topic from the perspective of the stakeholders involved. Thanks to the expert delegates can have a detailed understanding of the current legislative framework and of the potential loopholes involved.

How can young people offer a fresh perspective on how to shape the future of energy (Ali, ITRE) and health services (Vicky, ENVI II) in Europe?

Ali: Young people who come through the working group discussions, will have more knowledge of different technologies, and will come with a clear mind, meaning developing new ideas with the newer technologies at hand will offer better alternatives than that which we already have.

Vicky: Young Europeans are beneficiaries of health services and are conscious of the healthcare systems’ limits and inconsistencies, however, differently from national governments and medical clinics young Europeans set the safeguard of patients as their ultimate priority. The youth can introduce consistent innovations in healthcare services also thanks to their technological skills, with the aim of making healthcare more accessible and intuitive.

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During the EYP’s International Session in Rotterdam, delegates will have the opportunity to discuss 15 important topics. The future of energy will be debated in the frame of the Power Shifts project together with an expert from innogy Stiftung für Energie und Gesellschaft (innogy foundation), who will be joining the Session’s ITRE committee. Through its work, innogy foundation for Energy and Society aims to foster debate and understanding of energy topics, and contributes to making the energy supply system of the future sustainable. Delegates in the ENVI II committee will be able to gain an in-depth understanding of their topic during discussions with an expert from EIT Health – a network of health innovators who deliver solutions to enable European citizens to live longer, healthier lives by promoting innovation.