“From Athens to London: Shape Your Future”
A Greek initiative for Europe's youth
Greek culture shares a strong bond with the Olympic spirit, given Greece is the origin of the Ancient Olympic Games, while Athens was the host-city of the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896, and welcomed the Olympics once more in 2004. It is precisely this bond that "Mathitiada" - a Greek educational non-profit organization focusing on culture and sports (www.mathitiada.gr) - aims at highlighting, by organizing the program "From Athens to London: Shape Your Future".
The objective of this program is to empower young people across Europe, signaling a positive message inextricably linked to the values and principles of the Olympic Games. More specifically, the program "From Athens to London: Shape Your Future" aims at enabling the most promising group of people - young people - to express their thoughts about the future via the designated Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ShapeUrFuture), that will then be submitted in the form of a memorandum at the European Parliament in Brussels, by 15 selected young participants.
The program has been granted the support of important institutions across Europe such as the European Parliament Information Office and the European Committee Delegation in Greece, the City of Athens, the Association of European Journalists, European online media such as Euractiv, European Business Review and CaféBabel, as well as important ambassadors such as Gold Olympic Champion Pyrros Dimas, highly acclaimed journalist Alexis Costalas, soprano Anastasia Zanni, and many more.
Thanks to the invaluable support of the above institutions, media outlets and ambassadors, as well as dozens of volunteers who have embraced the program "From Athens to London: Shape Your Future", a series of events aiming at informing young people about the program took place throughout the summer in several cities across Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki and Serres) and abroad (Koln, London). The highlight of the program was without a doubt the appearance of program representatives at the Host City Reception organized by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, on the day of the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, whereby an olive tree was offered to the City of London, as the symbol of the Olympic Games and the City of Athens.
From now onwards, two more events are scheduled to take place before the program "From Athens to London: Shape Your Future" is completed:
(i) an open discussion among young people that will take place (via a teleconference) in October, with the participation of young European citizens, and
(ii) the final journey of program representatives and the 15 young participants to Brussels, whereby the selected messages of Europe's youth will be submitted to the European Parliament.
To this date, participants of the program "From Athens to London: Shape Your Future" have proven that some youngsters still retain their optimism, and in fact strongly believe that the young generation can make a difference through a mutual dialogue and cooperation. Expressing their concerns for the future, they emphasize on the issues that worry them the most - especially the impact the economic crisis will have on their professional development. Young people perceive unemployment and poverty as the greatest problems of today, without neglecting however the attention that should be paid to the protection of the environment. Nevertheless, the most important conclusion one derives when reading their messages, is that young people are mature enough to identify the lack of education as the problem of outmost significance, understanding that education is the only way people can fundamentally change the future.
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