What does a digital future look like? How do we empower the new generations of European citizens? We don’t know yet, but Gen Z might have an idea. Between 20 and 22 October 2021, the first Europeans Go Digital event took place in Rome. Organised by three associations EucA, Social Warning and MeOut, Europeans Go Digital! is a project co-founded by the Europe for Citizens Programme that intends to empower and support young people to dream, build and be the protagonist of the digitalisation of Europe.
69 students from 17 EU countries worked together on a revolutionary and innovative Hackathon, a problem-solving exercise to invent and test solutions for increasing Youth’s Digital Civic Participation.
During the Hackathon, led by expert facilitators, the participants worked in 15 teams under 3 thematic areas: Online Engagement in Social Media, Grassroots Initiatives and Top-down Consultation Tools. They drafted and built projects and presented to the jury new apps and platforms to make the EU more accessible to everyone, to be more protagonists in the decision-making, and strive for transparency and accurate information.
In the upcoming months, our 69 change-makers will start to implement the projects and solutions in their communities encouraging their peers and first-time voters to engage in EU democratic life. Some examples? Thanks to the Transparency Project proposal, young people will create a web page with information on how public money is spent at EU level; E-t’s never too late launched the idea of teaching senior citizens how to use technology mindfully.
Some representatives from the Italian Government attended the event: Dr. Francesco Tufarelli, Advisor of the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers, Hon. Assuntela Messina, Undersecretary of State to the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers for technological innovation and digital transition, and Hon. Paola Binetti, Senator of the Italian Republic. During their speeches, they all encouraged the younger generations to take on an active role in society and to build a better future through the digitalisation of Europe
Filippo Altea, head of the Social Media Challenge's winner group, shared what he thinks young people want the future EU to be like: "three points: first, a widespread presence: funds distribution should benefit every citizen. Second, visionary but traditional: the bolder investments to invert the negative trends without damaging and modifying regional economies. Last, for a new fraternal bond: a renewed sense of Europe should arise, funds should help to create a new European culture and community feeling”.
"The Rome Hackathon was my first ever. I was not sure what to expect but I hoped I would be able to come up with interesting solutions for the challenge, learn new things in the process, and get to meet new people. It's been 3 days since I got back and I still can't believe how great it was. It exceeded my hopes in all ways possible" said a participant at the end of the event.
For the three winning groups, one for each thematic area, there will be a spot for one of the next #EuropeansGoDigital events that will take place in 2022 in Hungary (20-23 March), Poland (4-6 May) and Belgium (26-28 October).
Next EGD stop: Szeged, Hungary!
Debate on a contentious issue regarding privacy in cyberspace and take part in an innovative idea challenge & debate to raise awareness campaigns and a prototype of action policy on cybersecurity. Get on board and come with us to the city of sunshine!
A special acknowledgement to the participants that came from all over Europe: 30 students were from Italy (12 locals from Rome, 2 from Catania, 1 from Padova, 2 from Pavia, 1 from Terni, 3 from Salerno, 1 from Perugia, 1 from Ploaghe and other cities), 7 of them were from Spain (all of them from Madrid) and other 7 from Budapest, Hungary. We had 4 participants from Lisboa, Portugal and 3 from Cluj-Napoca, Romania. We had 2 students from Finland (1 from Tempere and 1 from Jyväskylä), Belgium (Brussels and Liège), Poland (Warsaw), Slovenia (Ljubljana), Austria (Salzburg), and Greece (Thessaloniki), respectively. 1 Came from Slowakia, 1 from Denmark (Aalborg), 1 from the Netherlands, 1 from Germany (Dresden), 1 from France and another 1 from Ireland (Dublin).
SEE YOU VERY SOON!