July 21, 2023

National Committee Spotlight – EYP Austria

We are happy to bring you a new spotlight on a National Committee (NC), this time focusing on EYP Austria.

We asked volunteers Emily, Lisa, and Nico to let us know about their experiences with EYP Austria, and everything that makes their NC, events, and members unique!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Do you remember how you got involved in EYP? If you have a specific role in the National Committee, what is it and what do you like most about it?

  • Emily: Hey, my name is Emily, I was born in Salzburg in the west of Austria and I now live and study in Vienna. My fields of study are International Relations and Management with an emphasis on International Business and I will be finishing both of these with a Bachelor’s Degree this year.

    My EYP journey began in 2017 when my High School Professor for History and Politics pitched the concept in class one day and invited us to apply to a Regional Session happening in Salzburg that February. This led to my first EYP experience at the Regional Session Salzburg 2017.
    It’s been over six years since then and now I am the President of EYP Austria and in my third term as a Board Member. Throughout my time in the organisation, I have had the joy of experiencing many different parts of it, including nearly every possible position as well as different positions within my NC and the network at large. Being the President of my NC has felt like an accumulation of all of these experiences because it combines all the knowledge I have managed to gather into one job. Personally, I really enjoy being in a leadership role, helping my team develop their skills and working on the strategic development of my NC. And while it naturally comes with a lot of responsibility it also offers many opportunities to really make an impact not only within EYP but also in the world at large.

  • Lisa: Hello everyone, my name is Lisa, I am 20 years old and am currently studying for two degrees, law and business, in Vienna. I started my EYP journey at a Regional Session in Vienna back in 2019. One thing that I distinctly remember about this particular event is that they started General Teambuilding off with Alele. At first, I was obviously very confused, but also very intrigued, and I guess the excitement and passion of everyone involved got me first hooked on EYP.

    Later on, when I jumped in to take over head organising one of the digital Regional Sessions of EYP Austria together with a friend in 2021, I also became more involved in the community of EYP Austria. I will forever be grateful for the circumstances that led me there because they subsequently got me involved in the Board of EYP Austria, where I met people that have become very important to me also outside of EYP.
    I currently have the pleasure of being the Board Member for National Coordination as well as one of the two Vice Presidents in our NC. In the portfolio of National Coordination, I am responsible for the acquisition of Delegates and their subsequent integration into the community of EYP AT. Additionally, communication with teachers and schools and the organisation of socialising and one-day events are also part of my area of responsibility.

    What I love most about this portfolio is the direct contact you have with young people joining EYP for the first time. You get to see their development from their first event in Austria to becoming an active member of the community. This gives me incredible joy because I get to see that even when my friends and I will stop doing EYP sometime in the future, the organisation we love will live on and will be fuelled by a new generation.

  • Nico: Hey, my name is Nico, and I was born and raised in Vienna. I have always been interested in technology and how it can be used to solve problems. This interest led me to pursue studies at a Higher Technical College in Vienna.

    It was through my friends that I first heard about EYP and was immediately drawn to its mission of promoting European values and fostering intercultural dialogue. In 2022, I joined EYP Austria and was quickly given the opportunity to combine my IT expertise and my political passion as the IT & Data Coordinator. I also took on the role of Community Manager at the Member Platform at the International Office, which allowed me to connect with EYPers from all over Europe and learn about the different cultures and perspectives within our network, together with a fantastic team! As someone who values teamwork and collaboration, I have enjoyed working with my fellow EYPers to organise events and promote EYP’s mission and spread the word about the incredible work of everyone in our organisation.

What challenges and/or potentials do you foresee for EYP Austria in the future?

  • Emily: EYP Austria has been considered a very stable and active NC for a long-time now. We are proud of our high standards in areas such as Welfare and Safety, our involvement in the International Network and the overall quality of our events especially since we are a relatively small NC compared to others. Throughout the past years, we have invested a lot of time and energy into improving our internal knowledge retention system, creating new opportunities for members to get involved in the NC and integrating our National Strategy 2021-2025 more firmly into the work of the Board and the NC as a whole. Although we have already made great progress in these and several other areas that might otherwise get overlooked I still believe that there is a lot more potential there.

    As for challenges, the primary one is fundraising. EYP Austria is not supported by the Austrian state in any way meaning we have to apply for funding every year in addition to private fundraising. While we always have enough means in our bank account to cover a National Session there is still an everpresent underlying instability for all other events. It will be on future Boards and active members to hopefully come up with a comprehensive strategy to ensure financial stability for the organisation especially given the current inflation. This will have to include long-term partnerships with companies as well as state grants that last for several years not only individual projects. But I am certain that this is a challenge we will be able to face and until we do we will keep putting in the time to make sure we will always be able to create events that are fulfilling, inspiring and safe for all their participants, regardless of finances.

  • Lisa: The biggest challenge that EYP Austria is currently facing is most definitely the fundraising situation. We’ve been struggling for some time now to find companies that are open to forming more long-term partnerships instead of only supporting individual events. The lack of general recognition of the organisation in Austria has often played a part in that, which is why we’ve been reaching out more to local media in the past year and fortunately already were able to make a few connections with newspapers and the national broadcaster. Furthermore, our FR Board Member Paula was able to reactivate the business relationship with a former partner of ours and brought in a few more companies that have the promise of a more long-term partnership. Our goal will now be to have working groups both internally and with our partners, where we will try to work out new and improved services we could offer our (potential) partners.

    EYP Austria’s biggest potential, on the other hand, is definitely its growing member base. Since lockdowns and the resulting Human Resources deficiencies, our NC now once again has a strong community that is highly motivated and eager to invest in the organisation and its events. It makes me more than happy to see that amongst them are already promising candidates for the organisation of next year’s Sessions. The Human Resources situation has been one of our biggest challenges in the past Board term, which is why it’s great to see that this year has brought some new perspectives on that matter.

  • Nico: Given my IT and data coordination expertise, I see potential in improving the digital infrastructure and processes of EYP Austria, such as the implementation of more efficient data management systems and online tools for communication and coordination. This can help enhance the overall member experience and engagement, as well as streamline organisational processes. Additionally, as EYP Austria is a relatively small NC, there is potential for further growth and expansion of our network and outreach to other organisations, institutions and potential partners in order to increase our impact and visibility. As a country located in the heart of Europe, Austria plays a central role in the continent’s political and economic landscape. When I look at EYP Austria I see a huge potential for improving visibility across Europe and providing a hub for a wide range of session topics.

What impact do you think EYP initiatives hold on young people and on your community?

  • Emily: I think EYP has an incredible impact on young people and especially in my country. While Austria is literally and geographically at the centre of the European Union, has been an EU member for a long time, adopted the Euro and is very much integrated into the organisation there is still a certain distance between us and the EU. This is in part because of an existing distrust towards any political system that is ingrained into the population. But it is also because today’s generation has grown, in my opinion, to be comfortable with the fact that they can live, work, study and travel anywhere in the European Union. Instead of seeing it as a privilege, we see it as completely natural.

  • Lisa: I think EYP has both an impact on young people on a very personal level, as well as on their general stance and worldview. As for the personal level, EYP is a place where you can find yourself. I have seen many people, including myself, go into EYP as one person and come out again as a somewhat different one. EYP not only accepts but embraces diversity, it lets you feel uplifted in your differences, it’s a place where you can experiment with how you want to express yourself. Ultimately, this has often helped people grow and gain confidence in themselves. Trying out new roles and going to events where you know no one forces you to get out of your comfort zone, which in my opinion is the best thing that can happen to a young person.

    As for how EYP impacts the young community and their worldview, I would like to highlight how EYP serves as an accelerator for active citizenship. Being able to voice one’s opinion in the safe space that EYP is, often encourages young people to do the same and speak out against injustice in their everyday lives. Furthermore, I believe that EYP as an organisation also has the responsibility to promote possibilities to engage in active citizenship. We, in the Austrian NC, for one promote possibilities to shape local politics such as petitions for referendums, we organise groups to go to events such as climate strikes and pride parades and invite our members to join discussions with politicians and other important figures. I would also like to point out that EYP shows people of our generation, many of whom don’t know life without a European Union, what great possibilities the EU has to offer. EYP lets young people actively think about European values and why it is important that we have them. This is especially important in times of Euroscepticism and even more so in light of next year’s EU Parliamentary elections.

  • Nico: I believe that EYP has a significant impact on young people and the community. Through EYP, young people can develop their skills and gain experiences that are not always available to them in other settings. EYP provides a platform for young people to engage in meaningful dialogue, discuss issues that personally matter to them, and work together to find solutions. This process helps to build confidence, develop leadership skills, and foster a sense of community and belonging. Moreover, the EYP community itself is a valuable asset. It is a network of open-minded individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the world. In this way, EYP initiatives help to build a sense of solidarity and belonging among young people across Europe, promoting greater cooperation and understanding.

Find out more about EYP AT!