Mr Hill Talks About the European Youth Parliament
(Image: Team IEG and Mr Hill, right)
Last weekend students from IEGS took part in the EU Youth Parliament (EYP) National Session in Sweden. IEG News talked to Mr Hill who attended the event along with Mr Johanson.
IEG News: Who represented the school?
Mr Hill: Our delegation consisted of Alexander Wyckoff Mähler, Simon Kendall, Tiffany Påhlsson, Edward Krook and Doruk Köse. Myself and Dr Johansson also participated in the teachers’ program of events. In addition we took along our own press team of Risha and Durgham from the 3rd year who documented the event.
IEG: How were IEG chosen?
Mr Hill: The students entered a nationwide essay writing contest. The organizers received 700 essays in total and we were selected as one of 25 schools chosen to participate. This was the first time our school has entered this competition so to simply reach the national session was quite an achievement.
IEG: What actually took place at the parliament?
Mr Hill: The students were given the opportunity to experience life as a European parliamentarian over the course of the weekend. This involved working in committees and culminated in a simulation of a session of the European Parliament on Sunday.
On Friday we attended the opening ceremony which included a panel debate and key note speaker. The students had the opportunity to ask questions of former EU parliamentarian Jens Holm and Center Party politician Fredrick Federley. In the evening the students put together a creative presentation of our school and were interviewed by the EYP’s panel of judges. On Saturday the students were put into committee groups where they worked on compiling their resolutions. This meant working until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning for most of the delegates! Finally, on Sunday the students assembled in the County Hall (Landstingshuset) where they role-played a session of the European Parliament. Here they had the chance to present, attack and defend a variety of resolutions before voting on them.
IEG News: What were your own impressions of the event?
I thought it was extremely well organized and offered the students a unique opportunity to experience democracy in action close-up. Anyone who took part couldn’t help but gain an appetite for more debate and an increased interest in European affairs. I would certainly hope that our school becomes a regular participant at this event in the future.
IEG: Do you remember any other schools that participated?
Mr Hill: Kungsholmen Gymnasium had a particularly strong team, as did Franska Skolan, Malmö Borgarskola, Umeå Internationella Gymnasium and S:t Petri Skola. There were also students from Finland and Greece present.
IEG: Is this the end of the road or do they go on to the next stage?
Mr Hill: Just four schools will have the opportunity to represent Sweden at the international sessions in Tromsö (Norway) and Lviv (Ukraine) later this year. We should find out soon if we are one of the lucky ones.
IEG: What do you think the students have learnt from this?
Mr Hill: I think they have gained a unique insight into how the European Parliament works as well as having learnt a great deal about the current issues being discussed in European politics today. Besides the obvious academic knowledge I think they have learnt how to debate more effectively and what it means to be part of a team. I also believe that they have got a taste for discussing important issues with like-minded individuals and hope that they have established some contacts with students they would otherwise not have met.