Europa Nostra and ESACH officialise partnership and launch the European Heritage Youth Ambassadors Programme with EHT

A new year has brought a number of fresh and exciting commitments to heritage young professionals across Europe and beyond. On 28 January, Europa Nostra officially launched its ‘European Heritage Youth Ambassadors Programme’, in partnership with the European Students’ Association for Cultural Heritage (ESACH) and the European Heritage Tribune.

The evening began with an inspiring introduction by Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, who reminded us of the huge progress that has already been achieved to foster the engagement of young people with cultural heritage. She went on to communicate the idea that ‘young people are not the future, they are the present!’, a wonderful sentiment through which to introduce our new young ambassadors. The Secretary General hopes that this new and exciting generation of young people will be able to carry the torch forth and help promote the building of a peaceful and harmonious Europe. This sentiment was continued by Herbert-Jan Hiep of the European Heritage Tribune, who shared with us the common goal of building bridges to help people better understand the world around them, to apprehend our differences but also to realise what binds us together.

The engagement and promotion of Europe’s young people as agents of Cultural Heritage is a significant milestone in the organisation’s history and future. Momentum for this was gained swiftly during the 2018 ‘European Year of Cultural Heritage’, the year in which ESACH was born. It was here that voices of the younger generations were invited to share their message at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin organised in cooperation with DNK and SPK. As time progressed, Europa Nostra committed further to providing meaningful opportunities for young people and hence, in 2019, the new membership category was introduced. Now, young people between the ages of 18 and 33 can join and engage with the organisation for free. As of February 2021, there are now 220 young members coming from 36 different countries!

At the launch event, the 11 new Ambassadors from 13 different countries were revealed and introduced. The programme is an opportunity to empower youth to share their perspectives and to help promote the green and digital transformations taking place in our society. By giving a voice to the youth of Europe and beyond, the programme seeks to encourage intergenerational exchange and capacity building. Ambassadors are provided with a platform to promote themselves and their professional profiles, a great opportunity to be part of a vast European network. In return, the ambassadors will promote the ethos of all 3 organisations by acting as the voice of young people in their respective countries. Each of the ambassador profiles can be found in greater detail here.

The event was also significant in its official signing of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ between Europa Nostra and ESACH by Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović and ESACH President Marius Müller. The signing signifies a partnership through which Europa Nostra and ESACH agree to support each other to provide heritage students and young professionals with meaningful opportunities, such as the Ambassador Programme. Not only will this partnership assist in the development of a young European movement for heritage, but it will also allow youth across Europe and beyond to build their networks and capacities within the field.

The official agenda for the evening was followed by a ‘digital aperitivo’ during which each of the new Ambassadors could network, discuss their previous experiences and get to know those already involved with each of the organisations. Some ambassadors were lucky enough to be greeted by Uwe Koch, the German coordinator of the European Year of Cultural Heritage! It truly was an exciting evening with a lot of promise for the future of the programme and cultural heritage as a whole. As Europa Nostra’s Secretary General commented when speaking of our new ambassadors, ‘the future of heritage is bright and in good hands’.

Missed the event? A full recording can now be viewed!

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