Once again, the European Youth Forum organises the YO!Fest, a festival mixing interactive workshops, high-level debates and concerts. It will take place tomorrow on the Esplanade of the European Parliament. This edition, whose theme is “grow together!”, will focus on growth and sustainable development in connection with the European Year for Development.
Cafébabel has asked a few questions to Johanna Nyman, President of the European Youth Forum since January 2015.
Cafébabel: Since its first edition in 2009, the YO!Fest has become a pan-European event gathering thousands of young people: around 8,000 participants attended last year's festival in Strasbourg. What do you expect from this day? What impact are you hoping to achieve?
Johanna Nyman: My expectations are high! I hope that this YO!Fest will gather young people from different backgrounds and countries, be a part of creating a feeling of belonging and a feeling that we can have an impact on our present and future. I also hope that decision makers in Brussels will see the strong presence of young people and understand that we need actions now to make sure that our generation is not left behind.
Cafébabel: What are the challenges and the possible benefits of this event for young participants as well as for the youth organizations that will be represented at the YO!Village?
Johanna Nyman: This is the moment to network, exchange ideas and build a spirit of cooperation. Europe needs hope and by having fun together, debating and experiencing, it is easier to relate and work together. The challenges lie in the interaction with the surrounding society and decision makers. The YO!Fest is not a bubble inside the bubble, but a way of bursting the bubble in a cascade of colours and sounds!
Cafébabel: The European year for development is the central focus of this 2015 edition. How is the Youth Forum working on the topics of growth, international cooperation and sustainable development? Which actions are specifically implemented regarding the development of young people in Europe?
Johanna Nyman: A positive and sustainable development is something that the world is longing for now more than ever. As the European Youth Forum, we cooperate with partners in other regions and we continuously work for the rights of young people in Europe and globally. For the development of young people in Europe, the Youth Forum works for more quality jobs, more participation possibilities, better conditions for youth organisations, to end discrimination of young people and for a a greater recognition of youth work and volunteering.