Thematic Conference Programme

Panel Discussion:

Building Bridges: Uniting Cultures and Empowering Youth in Europe

10:00 – 11:00

The panel discussion at the conference “Building Bridges: Uniting Cultures and Empowering Youth in Europe” serves as a vital platform for speakers and participants to delve into the crucial intersections of culture, youth empowerment, and unity within the European context. Grounded in the shared vision of a democratic, diverse, and borderless Europe, the overarching goal of this panel discussion is to ignite a dynamic conversation that not only recognizes the challenges faced by diverse cultures and youth in Europe but also propels innovative solutions and collaborative strategies.

The panel discussion will dedicate its focus to reflecting on these critical issues, fostering connections between various cultures, backgrounds, and regions of Europe. It aims to equip young Europeans with valuable information, best-case practices, and practical tools that the youth can employ to raise awareness and actively contribute to the unification of cultures across borders.

After the panel discussion, we hope young people reflect more on the question of how they and other institutions can:

  • Create a meaningful exchange;
  • Understand cultural diversity;
  • Promote inclusivity and unity;
  • Collaborate across borders; and
  • Actively contribute to a socially integrated and inclusive Europe

Hosted by:


Charlie Raiser
Wellbeing Policy Officer at Eindhoven University of Technology


Lara Hofstra
Diversity Officer at Eindhoven University of Technology


Anna Lena Seidel
Social Equity Interest Group of AEGEE-Europe

Track 1: Societal Impact

Discovering the transformative potential of unity and empowerment in Europe. This track focuses on the profound influence of cultural collaboration and youth engagement. Delve into discussions on cultural integration, youth leadership or innovative solutions to social challenges. AEGEEans will have a chance to explore actionable strategies, share success stories, and foster a network committed to shaping a more inclusive and impactful future for European society.

The Power of Participation: Citizens in Dialogue


Session hosted by:
Jacques Giesberts
Europe Direct Eindhoven

11:15 – 12:45

How can we connect citizens in an understandable way with the policies and actions of the governments (EU, national and local level) and vice versa? That is not always so easy. After all, many citizens are already active in society in many ways. What are the opportunities to connect this citizen participation with what is happening in society and in government systems? And vice versa.

In this workshop, we focus on: 

  • Citizen participation. A gadget, nice to do or a new way of working?
  • Several scales: local, regional, national, and EU level.
  • An overview of the participation model and a tangible toolkit.
  • The power of dialogue, as an attitude and also a method.
  • A clash of generations or how generations can support each other?

Bridging Divides: Transformative Dialogues on Polarisation in Europe


Session hosted by:
Maria Afroditi Deilogkou, Wietse Mesman & Aimar Vega
Y Vote

13:45 – 15:15

Over the last decade, we have witnessed in Europe how our societies have become more and more polarised. Different actors, from politicians to media and civil society representatives, use values, norms and symbols as a discursive weapon, leading to polarisation and discrimination. The 2024 European Elections will be yet another opportunity for different actors to advance their political agenda and attract media attention with their radicalised position. In this context, culture has the power to unite, but it can also divide communities.

Join this session organised by the Y Vote Project to discuss the rise of polarisation in Europe, as a threat to democracy and our common European values. Join us to debate how youth can tackle it, in the context of the upcoming European elections, and how young people can respond to existing challenges in Europe.

Living Narratives: Building Bridges through Human Libraries


Session hosted by:
Alerk Ablikim, Mariia Stroich & Lisa Tkach

15:30 – 17:00

In the dynamic landscape of Europe, where diversity is both a source of strength and a challenge, the “Living Narratives” Human Library aims to create a unique platform for understanding, unity, and empowerment. The “Living Narratives” Human Library’s focus is to contribute to the creation of a more cohesive and empowered European society by bridging cultural gaps, fostering societal awareness, and inspiring positive action among youth. 

Track 2: Cultural Awareness and Exchange

Immersing yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Europe’s diverse cultures. This track celebrates the richness of cultural diversity and explores avenues for meaningful exchange. Engage in discussions on preserving cultural heritage, fostering cross-cultural understanding and promoting artistic expression as a bridge between communities. AEGEEans will be able to share insights, showcase successful models of cultural exchange, and contribute to building a more interconnected and culturally enriched European landscape.

Culture, Citizenship and Identity


Session hosted by:
Xenia Ebenhöh
Bridges of Dialogue Working Group of AEGEE-Europe

11:15 – 12:45

Culture and Citizenship are important factors when it comes to a person’s identity. In this session, we want to provide some insight on what these two Cs are. 

Most importantly, this workshop gives space for you to think about what these things mean to your identity. Understanding one’s position and the differences to others is important when talking with other people and creating bridges of understanding and inclusion. That is why there will also be a space for you to discover what others think about this topic. 

Bridging the Cultural Gap - Connecting & Building Trust


Session hosted by:
Kirtika van Hunen

13:45 – 15:15

In this highly interactive and energetic session you will not only be interculturally aware but also explore the keys strategies to building bridges effectively across cultures for global success and leadership.

Your takeaways

  • Effectively navigating cultures
  • Enhance your leadership skills
  • Work with competence and confidence across cultures
  • Effectively manage cultural expectations and build trust
  • Thrive as a global leader/professional
  • Live Q&A session

For whom?
Your challenges are:

  • Struggling to fit into a multicultural team/ workspace
  • Understanding your multicultural colleagues/students
  • Feeling frustrated and insecure due to the constant conflict of interest or understanding
  • Feeling stressed, fearful and questioning your own ability in leading your multicultural team

Diversity and Connections in Community Gardens


Session hosted by:
Ankit Mazumdar
Eco-Responsible Society Working Group of AEGEE-Europe

15:30 – 17:00

Explore the transformative power of community gardens in our engaging session, where we delve into the vibrant world of shared green spaces. We unravel the essence of community gardens, envisioning them not just as patches of soil but as dynamic hubs fostering neighbourly connections, shared learning, and collective organisation. In this session, participants will discover the profound impact of community gardens as more than just a physical space for plants but as catalysts for social change. We delve into the art of gardening as a communal activity, where individuals engage with neighbours, cultivate diversity and inclusivity,  have intercultural connections, acquire new skills, and collaboratively organise initiatives. Come, and be a part of an enlightening discourse on the transformative potential of community gardens, transcending the soil to cultivate a sense of community.

Track 3: Education and Youth Empowerment

Unlocking the potential of the next generation in shaping the future of Europe. This track focuses on the pivotal role of education in empowering youth as catalysts for positive change. Delve into discussions on innovative educational approaches, strategies for nurturing leadership skills through different types of education, and the intersection of education with global citizenship. AEGEEans can explore inspiring success stories, collaborate on effective educational practices and contribute to a vision of Europe where empowered youth lead the way towards a brighter future.

Creating more Engagement, Empowerment and Inclusion in the Classroom through Innovative Educational Approaches


Session hosted by:
Vincent Merk

11:15 – 12:45

The classroom is the place where diversity shows most on campus. Diversity is often a fact, but on the contrary, inclusion is an act. So you need to make choices and take actions to create inclusion in this classroom. There are many ways to do that, ranging from the physical and social environment, the attitude of the students and the key role of the lecturer in this process. Main aspects here are developing engagement, motivation and hence empowering the learners by creating a sense of belonging and ultimately also wellbeing.

There are various new innovative educational methods to also reach more engagement and inclusion in the classroom. One of them is called Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) that is largely implemented now at TU/e. CBL offers a framework for an innovative and creative approach based on the diversity of the group of students involved. They develop their intrinsic motivation, learn and pull all their diverse forces and talents together to solve societal challenges that match their interests and engagement. By doing so, they not only gain theoretical knowledge, but also develop many professional skills: Working together, dealing with insecurities, problem-solving thinking and designing, brainstorming, organizing, planning, and communicating – thus all kinds of inclusive skills that they will need in their future careers.

In this workshop I will use examples from my own practice and experiences as a professional coach in the graduate school at TU/e to showcase that CBL can prove to be a great collective process instrument to create more inclusion in a project group, an international classroom or an innovation space. I will show there is a strong convergence between CBL and D&I processes, a chance for educators and their students to develop a true diverse and inclusive community on campus and beyond.

EducateEU 2024-2027: Your Voice, Our Agenda

Kirsten Broekema

Session hosted by:
Kirsten Broekema
President of AEGEE-Europe

13:45 – 15:15

In this interactive workshop, we invite young Europeans to the forefront of envisioning the future of education in Europe for the period 2024-2027. As we navigate the complexities of EU policies in education, we will focus on critical areas such as the Erasmus programme and the recognition of non-formal education considering its implications on our roles as students and volunteers and our aspirations for the future.

This session is not just a discussion; it is a call to empowerment. By engaging participants directly in drafting opinions, we aim to renew our advocacy efforts within AEGEE with regard to Education in Europe. Participants will have the opportunity to voice their thoughts on education topics, ensuring a diverse range of perspectives and together we will be shaping our vision on the future of education which will be discussed, after the EPM in March, in the European Parliament with among others MEP Victor Negrescu, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education.  

Your voice matters, and together, let’s make an impact on the future of Education in Europe!

Cities of Learning: Learning Together


Session hosted by:
Mark Vlak
Cities of Learning

15:30 – 17:00

Learning does not just happen at school but continuously and everywhere, why do we not record that?

Cities of Learning was founded to support young people with a more difficult start in recognizing and gaining insight into  their skills and talents. They can demonstrate their acquired skills through open badges. By offering future-oriented learning opportunities that match their interests, young people can enjoy learning and better prepare for their future. Young people have been involved in all phases of the initiative’s development: from ideation and co-management to developing learning opportunities.

The Cities of Learning initiative has now grown to include various Cities of Learning and associated online platforms in the Netherlands and more than 40 cities and regions worldwide.

In the latest developments of Cities of Learning, extra attention has been paid to valuing and validating non-formal and formal skills for a better connection to the labor market. 

Zoomers, Boomers and a Self-Man-Filling Prophecy


Session hosted by:
Ralph van Ierland
Social Safety Officer at Eindhoven University of Technology

15:30 – 17:00

Over the past 70 years, as our European Union was formed, we have continuously strengthened the collaboration between different countries and cultures. And since a few years, also online collaboration was boosted and became a regular way of meeting each other for a quick interaction on longer distances.

Although this contributed to making some important steps with regards to diversity in our education and collaboration, we still have change towards a real inclusive and socially safe environment.

Over the past decades, the ‘boomer’ generation managed to open Europe for intercultural collaboration. Now it is time for you, the ‘zoomer’ generation, to strive further for emancipation.

In this session, we will together shape the inclusive and socially safe education of tomorrow.

How do we ensure that students from different backgrounds have the same chances for proper education? How can we emphasize the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in our classroom? And how can we close the gender gap, and do we prevent transgressive behavior towards certain groups of people?

We all have our biases and blind spots; In this session, we will discuss on how we can better be aware of those and how we ensure they are of less influence in decision making. For this session, all there’s needed is an open mindset!