The Charlemagne Youth Prize is one of the most prestigious European Prizes. It has been awarded annually since 1950 by the city οf Aachen, Germany, to people who contributed to the ideals upon which it has been founded. It commemorates Charlemagne, ruler of the Frankish Empire, who resided and is buried in Aachen. Traditionally the award is given to the recipient on Ascension Day in a ceremony in the town hall of Aachen. In April 2008, the organisers of the Charlemagne Prize and the European Parliament jointly created a new European Charlemagne Youth Prize, which recognises contributions by young people towards the process of European integration.
This year AEGEE has the honour to have not one, but two projects that won the national round in Romania and Slovakia, respectively: “Faces of Europe” and “Summer University”.
Faces of Europe is a photo blog launched by Your Vision for EUrope, a project of AEGEE-Europe. Inspired by the famous Humans of New York, the photoblog aims at making Europe more personal and exploring the human diversity of our continent. They want to collect and spread the faces and voices of people from different social, cultural and national backgrounds.
The first edition of Faces of Europe, running from January until June 2016, was already a success. In the first edition, the team consisted of 16 committed reporters from seven different nationalities. As a result of their works, they published more than 100 stories of many Europeans on Facebook, collected more than 2,500 likes and many messages of support and positive feedbacks from readers. The second edition is currently ongoing.
Summer University, one of the most successful, if not the most successful, project of AEGEE, has proven its value to all of us through the years. The Summer University is an event that takes place in the summer between two to four weeks. Usually, 20 to 50 participants are hosted in different parts of Europe, and they have the chance to learn by travelling, meeting new people, integrating with the culture of their hosting country and as a result they broaden horizons.
Specifically, in 2016 it gave the opportunity to over 4000 Europeans to see different parts of the continent, meet other youngsters and learn new skills and abilities together. Since 1988 more than 100,000 people participated in Summer Universities, which took place in over 260 cities in more than 40 European countries, making it the biggest volunteer-based mobility project in Europe.
In 2013, Europe On Track, another project, which was inspired by the current president of AEGEE-Europe, Reka Salamon, was awarded with the Charlemagne Youth Prize.
This month, from the 22nd to the 24th of May, the Charlemagne Youth Prize Winners’ ceremony will be held in Aachen. AEGEE will participate with these two nominations that were received from Romania and Slovakia. Due to the fact that AEGEE has already been a laureate in the past, apart from the winner projects, the CD also received some invitations. So our association will have represantitives who will attend several events, including the Youth Prize Award Ceremony, which always takes place two days before the Ascension Day, the day on which the prestigious International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen is awarded.
Written by Vasiliki Andrioti, AEGEE-Ioannina