October 25, 2019

Interview with Catarina and Teresa from EYP Portugal

The EYP network is active in 40 countries across Europe. This is possible thanks to young volunteers who dedicate their free time to developing the organisation in their respective countries. Our National Committee spotlight series continues with Catalina and Teresa from Portugal.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Do you remember how you got involved in EYP?

Catarina: My name is Catarina Costa Cardoso, I am 18 years old and have been involved in EYP for about two years. My first session was Abrantes 2018 – Regional Selection Conference, in which I participated as an individual delegate. I first heard about EYP because my brother had been involved in the network and was always telling me amazing stories so when my time came, I couldn’t be more excited. However, my experience as a delegate exceeded all my expectations and I found EYP to be a place where I could develop myself and meet new incredible people from all over Europe. After my National Selection Conference, I became a member of EYP Portugal and have been participating in sessions as a delegate and an official since then.

Teresa: My name is Teresa, I’m 19, and I study Film and Photograph in Porto, in a university from which I’m graduating this year. I’ve been in EYP for almost three years now, and I got started in Maia 2016, a National Selection Conference held in November 2016. I got into EYP because of my sister, Carolina – she joined in 2014 and talked it up a lot, so when my time came, due to her encouragement, I decided to also apply. After my first session, I instantly signed up to be an Organiser at an upcoming Interregional Forum, where I met some of my current best friends, and the rest is history!

What is your role in National Committee and what do you like most about it?

Catalina: I am currently an active member of EYP Portugal and I try to be as involved as I can in the National Committee. I was a member of the Fundraising Working Group last year and I try to attend as many
Portuguese sessions as possible. I am also the Head – Organiser of one of the Regional Selection Conferences of EYP Portugal for this school year – Portalegre 2020. One of my favourite things about my National Committee is the family-like feeling I get in each event, from sessions to Member’s Weekends. It is amazing to see how committed people are to further develop the NC and its events and I think the members’ passion for EYP PT is truly remarkable.

Teresa: I am currently one of the Vice Presidents of the Board of EYP Portugal, and I lead the Image & PR department for our NC. It’s a huge honour to feel that the Members trust me to have an active part in making EYP Portugal better and to adequately take their voices into account when making decisions to further progress our NC. Secondly, I find a lot of joy in the actual work – being the coordinator of the Image & PR Working Group, it’s an inspiring and extremely fun experience to work with a group of creative and passionate individuals, working towards the common goal of creating appealing and consistent output for EYP PT. Finally, not only working with the other members of the Board but also seeing the proactiveness of our members in participating in our development is something that I find very inspiring, and makes me happy to call EYP Portugal my home.

Tell us about one activity/event/outreach of your National Committee that you are proud of.

Catarina: Although I’ve only been a member of EYP Portugal for a bit more than a year, I have seen a lot of evolution in EYP Portugal as a National Committee. On one hand, following the increased concern of the International Office in assuring every participant’s welfare, I believe EYP PT has made a lot of progress in this area, making active efforts to guarantee everyone’s physical and mental well-being throughout its sessions. Furthermore, the recent efforts in finding ways to promote sustainability in its events show the National Committee’s awareness and will to inspire youngsters to take on better practices. A particular event that I think showcases EYP Portugal’s evolution in these matters, as well as its ability to host larger scale events, is Coimbra 2019 – International Forum. Throughout the session, participants had the change to discuss sustainable energy options for the future and to have different cultural activities outside the academic programme of the session. I believe this and the academic and logistic quality of the session made it an amazing example of the quality of EYP Portugal’s events.

Teresa: The event I must mention is the Presidents’ Summit – in collaboration with the International Office, EYP Portugal will host this event soon, at the end of October. EYP Portugal flew under the radar within the network for a while, so having been selected to host the Presidents’ Summit was a big feat for us, and I’m extremely proud to know that the people who keep EYP running will be coming to my country and experiencing not only the best of Portugal but also of what our NC has to offer.

Why do you think it is important to have EYP in Portugal? / What impact do you think EYP initiatives hold on the young people?

Catarina: EYP is a unique organisation that gives young people the platform to voice their opinions and discuss the pressing European matters that affect them daily. However, I believe EYP is much more than just a platform for political debate, it is a network that supports young people and gives them the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from all around Europe and experience cultural differences that allow them to grow and expand their horizons. I think it is extremely important to keep cultivating EYP culture in Portugal in order to keep on spreading EYP’s mission of peer-to-peer education and youth empowerment. From inspiring schools and teachers to take a more active approach to education and providing students with multiple challenges and opportunities to become active members in their communities to helping youngsters develop themselves and leave their comfort zone I believe the impact of EYP is exceptional and will be carried on by the dedicated individuals who will continue to build up our network.

Teresa: Although I risk sounding cliche, the first thing that came to mind when I read this question was development. To me, there has been no better tool that forced me to look at myself, improve and self-develop as much as EYP, and I believe that this project does just that for anyone who comes in contact with it. EYP offers a sort of honesty and bareness that pushes its participants to try, step way out of their comfort zone and experience things that would be difficult to find anywhere else, which is why I believe it is so important. In Portugal, specifically, it seems to me that it takes the culturally common feeling of latency and pushes it further, to a point of motion and development.

The EYP Spotlight series collects the stories of young people from different backgrounds who run the European Youth Parliament in their countries. Would you like to share your story with us? Get in touch with communications[at]eyp.org, #EYPNCSpotlight.