Spotlight on Cluj, 2015 European Youth Capital
August 18, 2015 -
Over half way through its year as European Youth Capital (EYC), Cluj-Napoca, in Romania is well and truly on the map as the youthful destination in Europe.
The European Youth Forum, which awards the title of European Youth Capital to one city each year, has recently been on a monitoring trip to Cluj in order to report on its implementation of the programme. The Youth Forum concluded that Cluj’s programme of activities is going well; approximately 1000 of the 1500 planned activities have taken place – so the organsiers are ahead of schedule to implement the programme!
Whilst visiting CluJ, the Youth Forum met with the team of young people running the Cluj European Youth Capital programme, as well as the Municipality (including the Mayor & his cabinet), some volunteers, commercial partners/supporters, and attendees at some events. Whilst there, the Youth Forum representative had the chance to attend an event on social inclusion for Roma people, initiated and run by young Roma people. The event featured workshops, debates, and a march – for Roma rights – to the City centre.
In its assessment of the management of the EYC the Youth Forum is positive about the way the year is being run and the structures that are in place, such as: a full-time staff of young people with specific expertise who lead on implementation of the programme; they are lead by a voluntary, elected board which sets directions and makes key decisions. The members of the board are all young people from the 37 youth NGOs that form the ‘SHARE Federation’, in charge of the EYC year.
The Youth Forum was particularly impressed to note the openness to young people: any young person can apply online for funding for activities, run it themselves under the EYC banner, and the Share Federation and Municipality will help with organisation and support.
Looking forward, Cluj are focused on ensuring the rest of the programme goes ahead as planned, empowering young people to take the reins at every stage, and turning to longer-term goals beyond the EYC year: the big one is the establishment of a full-time, formal youth council.