Model European Parliament is a conference for the European Union's youth, with a tradition all over the continent dating back 25 years. The delegates at the conference convene in different committees, where they discuss the problems EU is facing and try to find solutions. Delegates work on their English, presentation and diplomacy skills. They get to know engaged peers, as well as seasoned politicians on the national or European level. Civic engagement in public affairs is stressed throughout the conferences, as well as the idea of awareness of current affairs. This year, the conference will be held for the third time, with the first national round being in 2017. Since then, we have welcomed over 150 participants to our national sessions.
MEP was a special experience from the start. Seeing two hundred young Europeans in one place eager to make new friends, and not shying away from discussing difficult topics is something one doesn't experience every day. I realized that even though we Europeans all come from different cultures, there is more of what connects us, than what divides us.
When I first came to MEP, I was dumbstruck by the sheer fervor with which people dived into lengthy discussions on how to solve predicaments that the European Union struggles to cope with. Not too long after, I was not just an observer, but rather an active participant, accepted into a community of likewise people, who together look forward to a Better Europe.
I finally realized that I truly was a big fish in a small pond. The people I met showed me how much I don't know that I don't know, and that is a very valuable lesson, if you ask me. I got to know lots of new people, which is always a good thing; I shouldn't exclude that these conferences always help me feel more comfortable with public speaking and formulating my ideas clearly.
The event itself left me feeling more fullfilled and revealed to me more of who I truly am. I learned many things, including how to work with people, when to speak and what to say, and I also learned a great deal about standards and principles of other member states. I met several people I fully intent to keep in touch with and possibly work with one day, and I believe we all learned a thing or two from each other.
MEP motivated me to be active, to make a change, to engage and influence the world around me. That is also what I am taking from the conference. Not only all new international friendships, but also the will to stay ambitious, the knowledge that I am able to contribute, and the sense of unity among the European Union (and beyond).