On 26 June the trainees of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) awarded the winners of the [Y]Factor photo competition "Capturing [Y]our Europe". The goal of the competition was to promote young artistic talents from across Europe and to empower young people to present their unique perspective. The winning pictures by Pavla Vaňková (CZ) and Stefano Scagliarini (IT) were exhibited in the European Parliament in Brussels from 26 to 28 June.
As part of the
[Y]factor project the CoR's trainees asked young Europeans between the ages of 18 and 30 to answer the question "How do you feel the presence of the EU where you live?" in the form of two pictures together with a title and a short description – one photograph representing the EU's impact on their region, and one representing their hope for the future or what/how the EU could do better.
The winner of the public vote was 18-year-old Pavla Vaňková, from Čistá in the Central Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. She gave her winning photos the names 'Crossing Borders of Adulthood' and 'You are the answer'.
"Thanks to the Interrail pass",
Ms Vaňková said, "my friends and I are finally able to not only to cross the borders of our tiny region but also the borders of our adulthood. Travelling abroad helps to broaden your horizon and it brings people closer together while using different languages. In my opinion, every youngster should travel abroad for a period of at least a couple of weeks or months in order to become more independent and to enhance her or his understanding of the world".
On her second picture, she added: "The world and the European Union are constantly evolving. Therefore, the biggest hope for the future is YOU. It is up to you in determining what kind of a future you want and what you are willing to do for it."
Stefano Scagliarini, a 28 year old from Milan (Italy), won the jury's vote. His pictures were titled 'Our love was born in Erasmus' and 'Hope and Growth'.
"During my Erasmus exchange",
Mr Scagliarini explained, "I had the opportunity to meet new cultures and people, to live in a new country and enjoy its reality. This particular experience enabled me to spread feelings of hope, optimism and union in a virtuous way and by taking care of each other. The European Union's Erasmus programme definitely changed my life. I found love. Love in all its beautiful expressions".
On his picture 'Hope and Growth' he said: "The love and care that an elderly woman has in watering and growing her flowers represent a strong hope in the future of all of us and Europe. During the days before the European elections the balconies of Milan started to be coloured by EU flags. A blue wave of positive vibes that involved different generations from the youngest to the oldest in a unique vision of the future."
Rodrigo do Ó, a trainee in the CoR's IT department, who opened the ceremony, said: "We heard and saw it all, from participants thanking the EU for helping in disaster relief; for helping in keeping their traditions alive; for investing in startups, agriculture and infrastructure. People also told us what they expect from us, who work in these buildings. They want us to protect endangered species and our environment; they want us to protect the most vulnerable in our societies; they want us to have a more open and inclusive Europe, where the rhetoric of violence isn't welcomed and our children are educated in peace."
During the award ceremony CoR secretary general
Jiří Buriánek congratulated the winners and stressed that the CoR should keep listening to young people and take into account their desires and expectations of building a stronger Europe.
Each cohort of trainees at the CoR has the opportunity to develop a project by themselves during their traineeship, known as the [Y]Factor project. They choose the topic, the format and plan the necessary budget. The group thus has responsibility for the project from beginning to end, giving them a great learning experience.
This year, the trainees decided to gather and highlight the work of young artistic talents from all over Europe by organising a photo competition.
For more information about the project, please visit the Y-Factor Webpage and our social media profiles:
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