Just a month ago, YASI 2012 ended. In those 10 days, we had heated debates, held simulations, visited the European Institutions, learned a lot about other cultures, our European identity and above all, had much fun!!
Looking back at it, we can definitely say that YASI 2012 was a huge success and brought a two year circle of organizing this kind of ten-days summer seminars to a conclusion. It was a wonderful trip that was made so great thanks to all of our amazing participants and the people we met in those two years. Also, a big thank you goes out to all of the people who contacted us about the seminar, those who applied for it or helped us in any way to organize this huge project. Special regards go to our sponsors and host organizations for both years:
- Youth in Action Program
- U.S. Embassies
- Baerum Community
- Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Institute (BFTF)
We also want to once again express how proud we are of YASI alumni who successfully set up their own follow-up projects: “Our Voice 2012” ( http://www.ourvoice2012.eu ) and “Young European Peers” ( http://www.youpeers.eu ). It is extremely satisfying and rewarding to see our alumni go on and make such great and successful new projects and we really hope and believe that YASI alumni will keep on creating initiatives likes these.
As for what lies in the future, the YASI organizing team is determined to continue the organization of conferences and seminars for young people. Therefore, we are currently working on new projects, about which you will be informed through this website and our facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/yasinstitute
So stay tuned and we hope to see you again in the near future!
The YASI team – 26th August 2012
Are you interested in learning more about YASI 2012?
Here is a video prepared by JAVI TV , which explains in detail what YASI is and includes footage from the second day of our program.
On Saturday, the participants got a much needed longer sleep and then they enjoyed a day full of Brussels.Firstly they walked through the city with a guided tour and then they enjoyed many hours of free time. They finally got the time to go shopping, sightseeing, eating at a nice restaurant or doing anything they want. The fact that it was the National Holiday of Belgium made the whole experience even more interesting and entertaining. The day concluded with the participants watching the fireworks and returning at the youth hostel extremely tired.
After 2 days of hard and continuous negotiations, the NEWS game has been completed. The finale was full of surprising moves from the governments , such as the overthrow of the president of the North and its replacement by the Military Commander and the Minister of Defence, with the support of the South,West and East. As you can understand, there were a lot of backdoor negotiations and manipulation. The majority of the problems the countries faced were resolved, with endless agreements and treaties being signed. Overall, the participants got a unique hands-on experience on diplomatic procedures and the decision-making process inside governments. They also had a great time with a lot of amazing moments, like the kidnapping of the West president by the North.
After lunch, the YASI group met up with representatives from the US Embassy to Belgium, the US Mission to the European Union and the US Mission to NATO. The diplomats started with introducing the role of their respective diplomatic corps and then with focusing on their own tasks as diplomats. At the subsequent Q&A session, the participants were able to get more information on difficulties in the lives of diplomats: the impact of the diplomatic “lifestyle” on personal life, the importance of being aware of representing a country’s interests and image at all times. The diplomats were also ready to provide their professional opinion on certain topics relevant to transatlantic relations (for instance the euro-crisis). The parting words of the diplomats matched the YASI philosophy. Be open, they said, be curious, and work on the three essentials to become good ambassadors: knowledge, competence and likability.
In this simulation, four nations – the North, East, South and West – each having specific economic, social, political, cultural and structural characteristics, aim to form unions while protecting their own interests and getting the greatest benefit for their own country. The participants are part of one of the nations and occupy a certain position (for instance, Prime Minister or religious leader), which enables them to explore the possibilities of influencing the discussions within their own team and in the context of the negotiations with the other nations. This simulation is also a team work activity, because a country can only be successful by following a common strategy. The insight into what diplomatic work is all about could not be more immediate.
The highlights of the day definitely were the Karl-Popper debates in the afternoon and the pantomime game in the evening. During the debates the participants had the opportunity to dive into the art of argumentation and persuasion. They gained practical experience in speaking in front of an audience and in constructing a logical and convincing statement – skills to be developped in the upcoming discussions and simulations. The debaters had to win their audience over on topics ranging from “Should Britney Spears get the Nobel Prize” to “Should drugs be legalized”. A team of 3 mentors acted as judges in order to point out each participant’s strongest features and to indicate ways how to improve their debating technique.
The day ended with a pantomime game, in which laughter and fun replaced the concentrated atmosphere of the day.