Project “Success” is co-funded by the EU and the Conseil regional Île-de-France. It brings together young people from different cultural, social and national backgrounds from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Birmingham, Montreuil (France), Palermo (Italy) and Oeiras (Portugal). Young participants discuss and debate issues such as citizenship, integration, multiculturalism among themselves, with other residents and professionals. Once every year, all of them meet in one of the cities to share their experiences and achievements.
This year’s project “Success” conference brought the participants from all four countries to Birmingham. They all convened at the Council House last Saturday (21 June 2014). It was not only a great opportunity for the young people to exchange news and ideas, but also to discuss various issues that were brought to the table by invited speakers.
The young people showed great engagement and interests in the topics raised and the presentations by the speakers were often followed by lively discussions which had to be cut short due to timely restrictions. For example, Sion Simon, MEP for the West Midlands, urged the young people to use the institutions of democracy at City and European level to make their concerns heard and to make an impact. Mariam Khan, Councillor for Washwood Heath, talked about her personal background and career which made her become a councillor in 2012 at the age of just 21. Later on, Yvonne Mosquito talked about changes and developments in the training of police officers and their rights and obligations when in duty. An insight into the situation of young migrants in France was then given by Randianina Peccoud, who works at the American Embassy in France. An introduction to CITISPYCE, an EU funded project which includes institutions from 10 European countries, was finally presented by Ajmal Hussain, research fellow at Aston University. The project works with young people and aims to find out how they are affected by issues such as racism and gender discrimination.
The conference was rounded up by a recap of all participants on their work and achievements so far. Next year’s final conference will be held in the French city of Montreuil.