Over two weekends in February, a group of students from the Lower Sixth participated in the regional rounds of the European Youth Parliament (EYP) competition. Students were each assigned a committee to work with, made up of students from across the South East.  The committees created and then presented resolutions on prevalent real-world issues in front of fellow delegates and the jury team during a General Assembly debate. This was the first year that EYP has been hosted virtually, but the camaraderie and academic pursuit of typical EYP events was still in abundance. Some of our students recount their experiences and memories of the competition below.

“EYP provided me with a fantastic opportunity to make some amazing friends from other schools, and to bond over a topic area which we all cared so deeply about. Whilst all of the committees were tasked to submit resolutions on key issues in Europe, I really felt that working on the committee of Women’s Rights and Gender Equality would make a real and lasting impact. Our hard work was rewarded during General Assembly where our resolution passed with a large majority and I was fortunate enough to be able the summation speaker to close the final debate. This was such an incredible experience which has allowed me to develop my debating and communication skills, but also to become more aware of how to help solve the real-world issues that we are facing outside of the ‘Habs Bubble’. ” Tilly Weston Lower 6

“I had never taken part in the European Youth Parliament competition before so I was very excited that I could still take part in the two-day online session even during a national lockdown. The first day was spent meeting our team, playing team-building games followed by writing our resolutions and preparing our speeches for General Assembly. This was so much fun as everyone brought many interesting ideas to the table. On the Sunday, each committee’s resolution was debated and then voted on; sadly my committee’s resolution didn’t pass but it was still an extremely enjoyable experience and I would recommend it taking part. It was easy to make new friends, and Tilly’s final speech really made the event special.” Temi Elesin Lower 6

“I was allocated to FEMM where our central topic of discussion was cyber violence against women and girls (VAWG). Planning and writing the resolution on Saturday was a lot of fun as we were able to discuss a multitude of ideas and hear everyone’s opinions on the topic. Our committee was fiercely competitive, and I was grateful to be given the task of responding to the open debate during the 4th round of General Assembly which proved to be extremely exhilarating. The weekend ended on a high, with the majority of votes in favour of our resolution, enabling it to be passed. It was an amazing experience where I was able to interact with a diverse range of people who are extremely passionate about creating change. I am fortunate to still be in contact with the other members of FEMM, all of whom I am certain will be dedicated to invoking change in the future and will be pushing for societal development.” Kiara Jayalath Lower 6

“I was fortunate to be in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee where we explored the impacts of the pandemic, including severe unemployment and uncertainty in labour markets across Europe. We examined the economic and social challenges, which have specifically disadvantaged youths, hospitality industries and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to target policies and overcome these challenges. We spent the first day meticulously researching and discussing ideas ranging from investing in PPE, greater information to the public, sector-specific grants and drew from successful schemes that are currently being used worldwide. The following day, we participated in debates where most of our committee delivered proposals and rebuttals to advocate our ideas which focused on boosting EU economies. Fortunately, our resolution passed with a clear majority as we listened to responses from our fellow committees. Overall, I really enjoyed learning more about such a relevant issue, developing a clear argument and enjoying fruitful debates. We thrived by working collaboratively and networking with our peers and other schools, such as QE Boys.” Priya Mahan Lower 6

“Before EYP, I didn’t really have much of an idea of what it was about, so was quite apprehensive to take part. As soon as the event started, I felt completely calm about it because the environment was so welcoming. As well as learning a lot about my committee and the issues we were discussing, I learnt so much about a lot of prominent issues facing Europe and realised that there were many possible solutions. I came out of the event having learnt how to draft a successful resolution and feeling a lot more comfortable with public speaking. Although this is normally a live event, it was done so well that the online element didn’t really take away from the experience. I would really recommend EYP to absolutely anyone, regardless of the subjects you choose, because it is so relevant in our world today, and so important for everyone who has the opportunity to be educated on what is going on around us.” Victoria Pellerani Concha Lower 6