April 6, 2023

International Session in Tromsø: Explore, Exchange, Experience: Sparking Young Curiosity

The 98th International Session of the European Youth Parliament (EYP) took place from March 4th to 12th in Tromsø, Norway.

The event

Close to 300 young Europeans from 34 countries gathered to discuss the future of the Arctic region and offer a European perspective on the matter and sparking young curiosity about sustainability, culture, and cooperation. Tromsø International Session was the largest international EYP event in close to 5 years!

From left to right: Embla Elde, Matthias Masini, Darya Skorokhod, Henning Undheim

The team

The initiative for the event was taken by the Norwegian project managers Embla Elde and Henning Undheim. Together with their European team of organisers from 13 countries and the Norwegian branch of the EYP network, they created a strong vision and found great partners and venues to bring together all these young people. The facilitation and work on the academic topics and methodology implementation in 15 committees. Each of them featured 13-15 young Europeans from different countries and was spearheaded by Matthias Masini and his academic team, who made sure that the complex topics were understandable for everyone. The media team, led by Darya Skorokhod, captured the essence of youth engagement in the Arctic Circle.

The programme

The programme started with Teambuilding, a vital part of the EYP Methodology, helping the young participants get to know each other and ensuring they are comfortable with each other to go towards important debates. During the traditional Eurovillage, young people from all the different parts of Europe shared their local cuisines, and enjoyed experiencing and exploring the local culture!

In the next few days, each of the groups of young people dove into their respective topics. They researched and defined the problems and difficulties of each topic in a European context and came up with possible solutions or remedies to these barriers. Examples include such diverse topics as the green energy transformation, preserving Cultural Heritage Sites, War in Ukraine, infectious diseases, and more

The attendees did not only engage with the academic content but also enjoyed the Opening Ceremony where they were spoken to by Marc Angel (Vice-President of the European Parliament), Anu Fredrikson (Executive Director of Arctic Frontiers and Patron of Tromsø 2023), Rasmus Emborg (President of the Nordic Youth Council and Patron of Tromsø), Enni Similä (Administrative Secretary of the Saami Council), Gunnar Wilhelmsen (Mayor of Tromsø), Paul King (NATO), Karolin Schriever (German Savings Banks Association), and Tomáš Sacher (Executive Director of the Schwarzkopf-Foundation Young Europe).

Furthermore, The Arctic is one of the areas on the planet seeing the effects of climate change the most. This is why the conference theme revolved around sustainability, with a focus on the preservation of indigenous culture, Sámi representation and participation in political discourse, and sustainable development. We were further delighted to welcome and hear the perspectives of a delegation of Sámi youth, a population of indigenous people from the northern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula.

Additionally, the programme included cultural elements where there was space for the youngsters to share their own culture, such as during Euroconcert. As well as elements that aimed to showcase Norwegian culture, such as the cultural day where participants could visit the Tromsø aquarium, watch a Sami movie, or enjoy winter wonders by sledding.

The hard work of the first days came together at the General Assembly, where the resolutions written by the young participants were constructively debated and voted on. These resolutions are sent to European policymakers, who can take valuable input from the young fresh perspectives of the participants.

After the second day of the General Assembly, it was time for everyone to go home, enriched by their experience at Tromsø. See below some quotes from participants about the impact this event had on them!

  • “The IS in Tromsø helped me to better understand my value and the value of people surrounding me. I stepped out of my comfort zone, got in touch with people from dozens countries and finally got it what it means to be effective in team-work.”

  • “It was one of the most impactful weeks of my life with the only downside I wasn’t able to do everything and meet everyone in one week.”

  • “EYP is an incredible experience both socially and academically. I feel as though I have a network of friends wherever my future travels will take me. The session really helped me grow in confidence within a safe yet adventurous environment.”

You can follow EYP Norway on Instagram and LinkedIn @eypnorway or look on the Tromsø 2023 website or the Facebook page, to have a look at the media output, and get more information on the event.

EYP International Session in Tromsø would not have been possible without the support from our partners. We would like to thank our sponsors, among them the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, Nordplus, U.S. Embassy in Norway, European Youth Foundation, WWF, Arktis 2030, Norwegian Government, City of Tromsø, University of Tromsø, German Savings Banks Association and European Savings Banks Association, Belgian and Armenian Embassies, Tom Wilhelmsens Foundation, ProTromsø, Guril, and many others.