MEU Symposium 2015
Start date: Jan 31, 2015,
End date: Aug 30, 2015
The popularity of MEUs has significantly increased the demand for expertise on how to best organise this type of event. In this regard, BETA has already obtained noteworthy knowledge and experience. Based on this, the purpose of the Symposium was to discuss the entire organising process of MEU events, share best practices, and train organisers on how to successfully manage this type of educational project about the EU. The event was a mixture of presentations from experts and workshops on the different aspects of an MEU event. The topics covered ranged from what MEU is as a conference type, how to set up a new conference, team management, volunteer leadership, all the way down to successful public relations and fundraising.
BETA wants to bring together active, diverse and determined Europeans to debate EU affairs in practice, while formalising fresh networks of MEU conferences which have appeared worldwide. Furthermore, for more fruitful knowledge sharing, less experienced participants or people keen on holding new MEUs had an invaluable opportunity to meet BETA’s staff in person and make contacts within other European associations. In addition, BETA’s team attempts to present the benefits of active European citizenship to young people through raising awareness of inter-cultural dialogue on the European level. What is more, one of the main targets continue to be skills development in effective volunteer management, leadership, time and team management, public speaking and analytical capabilities.
The Symposium gathered over 50 enthusiastic young people with a strong interest in European affairs, international project management, and European values and active citizenship promotion. We are persuaded that the uniqueness of the project attracted attendants from study areas such as political science, law, languages, international relations, business, history, media studies and interpreting.
In order to reach the project’s objectives, a combination of presentations and different workshops were used. BETA’s most experienced members were in charge of preparing and delivering informative and high-quality content to participants. Since less informed and skilled representatives of BETA’s current partners and guests attended the Symposium, basic information about BETA and its projects was presented first. Second, we covered what MEU as a conference type is and the participants’ feedback we received over the past 8 years about such highly educational events. Since the Symposium welcomed young people from many different countries, tolerance and inter-cultural dialogue was ensured thanks to open discussions, and by encouraging international cooperation between youth groups with similar objectives. This contributed to the development of professional relationships between Europeans. Face-to-face communication allowed partners to participate in live discussions, share their opinions and experience. Additionally, BETA believes that MEU simulations are the perfect and relevant educational means for learning about the EU as well as forming European identity and citizenship. This is why we promote such a method of learning, and why we believe MEU have a excellent added value.
The project has a very strong multiplier effect, as Symposium participants will pass on their experience and what they learnt during the event to their fellow co-organisers at home. This ensures a more thorough knowledge of the necessary skills to successfully organise an MEU conference, thus improving the organisation of Partner MEU conferences worldwide. In the long term, participants of local conferences can take advantage of a better organised MEU conference, hence enjoying a better learning effect. By being in contact with the Symposium organisers and participants, broad networking opportunities is one of the advantages. In the medium term, making use of this network will also increase and facilitate the exchange of international participants in local conferences. This, in turn, strengthens the unique European experience that MEUs provide for its participants and develops their overall educational value. These conferences are designed to develop their ability to engage with European issues, and encourage them to be ‘active citizens’. For this reason, there were useful presentations about MEU conferences, their objectives and organisation from scratch. Afterwards, participants had an opportunity to develop their personal skills related to MEU events organisation so that the general quality of MEUs as educational conferences will rise.
To sum up, MEU is a tool to bring the concepts and ideas of the EU directly to its citizens by providing a way to experience the diversity of Europe directly and through practice. The MEU Symposium is BETA's newest project which helps other Europeans organise MEUs for themselves, wherever they are from.
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