Where do we want Europe to go in the next decades? What is important to us as young people? How does our democracy and society need to change to appropriately face challenges of the present and the future? These and many more questions made up the core of the European Students Assembly on the 3rd to 4th of March 2022 in Strasbourg.
The event was organized by the European Universities Community to make our voices heard in the Conference on the Future of Europe. In ten panels dedicated to different thematic areas such as health, migration, climate change and education, we developed policy recommendations for European policymakers. During the preparatory period in the weeks before the panel, we engaged in online discussions and got the chance to hear expert opinions on the questions we were dealing with. In Strasbourg, we finalized these recommendations in working sessions with our panels before presenting them to the Assembly and approving them together. The program was accompanied by contributions from members of the French and European political and higher education sphere, providing important first-hand insights into current issues.
Apart from the goal of developing policy recommendations, the event also created a platform for exchanging experiences with student representatives from the different European university alliances. As an ERUA representative, it was inspiring to learn more about the work of other alliances and provided many new ideas and motivation to be involved in building a European university.
Connecting with students from all over Europe felt particularly impactful in the light of the war against Ukraine that had just started shortly before the event. The issue was very present and was addressed throughout the program as well as in conversations with other participants. This conflict once again demonstrates the importance of the very idea of the European Union as a peace project which we need to actively advocate for.