Wageningen Debating and IDEA NL organised a meeting about the Inclusion of African youth in Europe. Members of the debating society, students in Development Studies and a number of youth with African backgrounds attended the training, keynote speech and discussion. It was the third preview debate for the IDEA NL project on this topic.
The evening started with Lara Minnaard from Wageningen Debating who provided an introduction to debate and argumentation. She explained the power of the classic concepts of ethos (credibility), logos (logic) and pathos (emotional connection) in speeches and how best to organise a speech. Keynote speaker Robin Bukenya of Africa in Motion started his part of the evenign by asking the audience for their associations with African and African. That exercise showed how people's associations are determined by their own background and he concluded that communication can only get started once you understand some of what the other person sees.
Mr Bukenya then discussed his own experiences of exclusion and discrimination in the Netherlands, for example at being turned away at club doors with random excuses. He noted that the exclusion happens in the social and economic domain, but also culturally. This, however, can be a positive side as well, as the expertise on African cultures can be an asset for African youth when doing business in Africa or with other Africans.
The discussion that followed looked at the ways in which inclusion can be promoted. The participants naturally saw the receiving society and government as a major actor, but also noted the ways in which African youth can promote their own inclusion. They can show initiative and value their own background and expertise and make use of it rather than waiting to be included. Language may be a barrier, but personal effort can overcome that barrier by joing social activities. Inclusion happens through dialogue and interaction between different people, so seeking opportunities to find these people is key.
The activity was a preview for the larger November project Inclusion of African Youth in Europe. If you are interested in the discussion of racism, inclusion and exclusion, join us for this project and register now! For more information and questions, contact Roeland Hemsteede.
The Inclusion of African Youth in Europe project is made possible with funding from Youth in Action, a European Commission youth fund.