Europa Nostra, ESACH and European Heritage Tribune launch 2nd edition of European Heritage Youth Ambassadors Programme

On 16 February, Europa Nostra, the European Students’ Association for Cultural Heritage (ESACH) and the European Heritage Tribune met online to launch the 2nd edition of the European Heritage Youth Ambassadors (EHYA) Programme and unveil the 20 new young heritage students/professionals selected to take part in this year’s edition. As 2022 coincides with the European Year of Youth, representatives of the European Commission participated in the online ceremony.

Launched in 2021, the EHYA Programme is an opportunity for the youth to make their voices heard on relevant topics for them and for the current state of affairs within society. This platform also allows young heritage students/professionals to connect with their peers, sustain intergenerational dialogue and discover all kinds of professional opportunities.

The ceremony was opened by Sorina Neacșu, Coordinator of the European Heritage Youth Ambassadors Programme and Vice-President of ESACH, who expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming collaborations with the new Ambassadors. On behalf of Europa Nostra, Manon Richard, EU Projects Officer, stressed that “young people are central to the future of Europe” and called for action: “Let us strive to ensure our voices are empowered, heard and integrated in discussions in a meaningful way”. She also passed on encouraging thoughts for the young Ambassadors on behalf of Europa Nostra’s Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović. In the same spirit, Herbert-Jan Hiep from the European Heritage Tribune emphasised that young people are the ones that “bring the energy, bring the future”.

The ceremony was attended by two special guests from the European Commission, who shared a few insights on the European Year of Youth. Karin Fehringer, Programme Manager at Youth Policy and Programmes of DG EAC, presented the European Year of Youth 2022 portal, where young people can upload their activities under thematic sections and literally make their voices heard with the help of a recording tool. ”Everything is possible under the European Year of Youth,” said Mrs Fehringer. Iris Margaritis, from the DG EAC European Year of Youth Team, added that it is important to support and enhance the cultural heritage sector and the youth involvement in the field.

Former EHYA Ambassadors Antigoni Michael, Héctor Aliaga and Hana Hokout briefly intervened to share their experiences as Ambassadors during the first year of the programme and encourage their new peers by stressing that the EHYA Programme is a great opportunity for meeting people and “work together for the future of Europe”.

The highlight of the event was the introduction of the 20 new Ambassadors of the 2022 edition of the programme. Coming from a wide range of countries – from Syria and Lebanon to Malta, Finland or Portugal – and with diverse backgrounds – from art history and law to architecture or archaeology, just to name a few -, the Ambassadors voiced their excitement for the coming year and shared their thoughts on the joint responsibility they now have. Giuliana Magro Conti from Malta said: “If not us, then who will stand up for heritage?” Aliki Gkana from Greece underlined the important mission young people have in the sector: “If we don’t see young people involved in cultural heritage, the process of transmission of traditions and legacies would be deprived of its very essence”.

The ceremony concluded with a short training on the tasks awaiting the Ambassadors throughout the year, such as news reporting, creating social media content, policy and advocacy outreach, to finish with customary digital cheers.

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