Throwback to #PowerShifts Digital Events in 2020

Power Shifts shifted into the digital dimension with great success! The “Power Shifts – Reflecting Europe’s Energy” Project encourages young people from across Europe to explore and discuss European energy policy during events organised by the European Youth Parliament. By taking part in the project’s activities, participants learn ways of engaging and fostering the debate on energy in their communities, from a local up to the European level. 2020 saw the European Youth Parliament organise eight digital conferences in the framework of the Power Shifts project run by EYP Belarus, Portugal, Greece, Lithuania, Azerbaijan and the International Office of EYP. Over 450 participants joined these digital discussions from all corners of Europe!

With each digital event, organising teams had the freedom to think outside of the box and create an event that was truly unique. Take the 1st Digital Session of the EYP (April 2020), the first event that translated the traditional format into the digital dimension. Traditionally, conference participants take part in four different programme elements: Teambuilding, Committee Work, General Assembly, and a Cultural Programme. The 1st Digital Session team organised all these activities digitally, using online cooperation tools like Miro and Discord. The 1st Digital Session also gave participants the chance to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and digitalisation with no less than four Members of the European Parliament. The Digital Energy Forum (July 2020), which was centred fully around Europe’s shift to cleaner energy, which was centred fully around Europe’s shift to cleaner energy, also worked outside of the box: it brought together youth activists with the forum’s participants in the Youth Activism Lab. brought together youth activists with the forum’s participants in the Youth Activism Lab.  brought together youth activists with the forum’s participants in the Youth Activism Lab.

Never before the 1st Digital Session of EYP, I had organised or participated in anything like this. […] There are hundreds of ways to organise everything, ideas for evening or morning events, applications and services to use. A lot of space for an organising team to explore and do things how we wanted to. – Hleb Liapeika (BY), Head-Organiser of Curiosity – 1st Digital Session of EYP Belarus

Organising a digital session is truly unique, with so much of the session developing so quickly; it is an amazing project to work on. It’s also incredible how the barriers of culture, country and even time zones melt away when you bring people together when they have the EYP spirit in common. – Lauren Cheetham-Birmingham (UK) and Kanan Guliyev (AZ), Head-Organisers of RESTART – Digital Session of EYP Azerbaijan

Although participants were not in the same physical room, that did not stop them from diving deep into the most pressing issues of our time. During RESTART (Digital Session of EYP Azerbaijan) that took place in July 2020 a group of participants discussed how the EU can encourage retail and manufacturing sectors to decrease their energy consumption and become more sustainable. Participants of Curiosity (1st Digital Session of EYP Belarus), which happened in July 2020, discussed how the EU can achieve energy autonomy and carbon neutrality whilst remaining economically competitive. Participants came up with several steps to take, one of which was to connect the energy grids of all Member States by using the Regional Development Fund to replace current national power grids with a centralised smart grid. They showed that distance does not deter young people from tackling important issues!

Most importantly, organising #Synergy was an opportunity to leave our own unique mark on EYP Greece and its events, as this was not only the first ever digital session of our National Committee, but also the first bilingual session that engaged many new participants. […] We hope to continue bringing new participants into EYP and acquainting them with our processes through exciting initiatives such as this one! – Raphael Tsiamis and Eleni Petsa-Tsiami, Head-Organisers of #Synergy 2020 – 1st Digital Session of EYP Greece

Not only did Power Shifts event participants hold important discussions remotely, they engaged a wide diversity of volunteers in the process! Digital events such as Solar (2nd Digital Session of EYP Belarus) gave opportunities to those that might not be able to come to a physical EYP event. What is more, #Synergy 2020 (1st Digital Session of EYP Greece) was even held in two languages, so that many more participants could comfortably discuss Europe’s energy policies in their mother tongue. Power Shifts events in 2020 engaged their participants in a highly academic and inclusive manner!

Organising this session was something neither of us thought we would be doing this year. It definitely was a challenge, and there were so many ups and downs. But overall, it was unquestionably the highlight of this year. – Vaiva Zaleckaitė and Greta Kudzmanaitė, Head-Organisers of the 1st Digital Session of EYP Lithuania

Yes, 2020 was a challenging yearand Power Shifts project faced the challenges head-on with a positive attitude. We are looking forward to the new year with renewed energy!