YEL – Club
Young European Leaders
Luxembourg, 24th February 2016
To understand the origins of the YEL-Club, we have to go back to May 2014, one of the last trips of the Comenius-projects. It took place in Zaragoza, Spain. However, after this trip, where a few of us participated, the European Union decided to dissolve the Comenius Organization due to the lack of results. As an own project was impossible to finance, a new association had to be founded in order to allow students from all over Europe to participate cultural exchanges and similar projects. It was at then that Erasmus Plus was born, which is more and less the same as the Comenius Project, with the difference, that Erasmus Plus requires measurable outcomes. After several discussions with the participating schools, the organisers decided to create in each of those schools a YEL-Club (Young European Leaders).
What is YEL ?
The schools involved in this strategic partnership have identified a need to improve not only basic and transversal skills of their learners (e.g. communication, leadership and ICT skills) but also the need of young people to participate actively in a local community and society, also at a national and international level. This can be done through the complex of effective and highly motivating activities implemented in the schools in the course of the school year – directly in the subject content or in the youth/debate clubs organised after school leading/resulting to the participation in an international model UN conference organized by the students and supervised by the teachers. Model United Nations (MUN) as an educational simulation and academic competition in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, etc. involves and teaches research, public speaking, debating and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork and leadership skills.
The objectives of the project are to improve communication and argumentation skills (in mother tongue and in a foreign language – English, French and Spanish), increase social and intercultural skills (via the interaction and collaboration in the youth/debate clubs) and promote active citizenship. The use of ICT tools should provide them with the increased level of digital competence.
The project activities involve sharing information and best practice exchange during the transnational meetings, staff training in methodology and ICT tools, students and teachers virtual mobilities combined with physical mobilities and joint project work of groups participating in the model conference. The partnership will develop, test and implement the new learning and teaching materials based on a student centered approach and peer learning thus enriching a school curriculum. Long-term study mobilities of students are planned firstly to introduce the project ideas personally by the student-experts from the coordinating school to the partner schools, secondly to increase the language competence for debating in English, French and Spanish and to promote international aspect of the cooperation. The students participating in the long-term mobilities will be the members of the debating teams created at each school and will benefit from the international learning environment and collaboration.
During the model conferences, the target group, highly motivated advanced learners (of English mostly, but also of French and Spanish) with political interest and open-minded attitude towards other cultures, referred to as delegates are placed in committees and assigned countries to represent their standpoints backed up with detailed knowledge about international foreign affairs which they collected via a transnational exchange of information many months before. They are presented with their assignments in advance, along with a topic or topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in committee.
The actual aim of YEL is to promote public speaking skills, to build connections between European students and to generally widen each student’s general knowledge and curiosity. In order to do so, each YEL club is given one same topic every month which the members then need to discuss, evaluate and, if opportunity shows, create something useful out of the discussions.
There are six different schools from six different countries involved in the YEL project. Each school has its own YEL club.
As stated under “II. What is YEL”, we are given one topic each month. The topics that we have had so far are the following: “COP21” and “Refugees”. In January, as we had to analyse the problem of climate change, a few of us worked out an interview that we could make with our environment minister, Carole Dieschbourg. She explained the strategy that Luxembourg will follow to reduce the rising of the temperature and gave us new ideas how we could diminish our own carbon footprint. Other YEL-members planned to make a petition against Restopolis, the supplier of our daily food in school.
We have also participated in a school exchange with our partner school in Finland. From the 25th to the 30th January we had the opportunity to elaborate January’s topic with our friend from Finland. It is during that stay, that we created our video as a response to the events of COP21. Every participant was taken up by a host and slept in their house. During the day, we could participate in workshops, but we also had the possibility to do some winter activities like skiing or skating. Our sauna trip as well as our last day in Helsinki showed us other parts of Finnish culture and it was a great mixture of cultural and economic education and on the other hand a great social experiment. The Finnish students are supposed to come to Luxembourg in May this year.
Another upcoming project is ZAMUN, a simulated UN conferences. Five of our YEL club members have been selected to participate at that event, where debating skills are more required than in any of our previous activities. Every participant gets a country and a committee (often social, political and economic problems) and has than the job to find out about the opinion of the certain country about that issue. The conference is much stricter than some other projects and so free speaking in front of a crowd of people as well as a very serious dress code are required for this event.
Forth, for two months, we have been hosting three IPM (Individual Pupil Mobility) YEL students from Slovakia and Spain and are reciprocally sending three of our students to the same Spanish and Slovakian schools from April until June this year.
As a platform of communication with our YEL partner schools we use the Erasmus+ etwinning platform which serves also as a transparent information pool. Within our Luxembourgish group as well as YEL groups, in between our weekly club meetings we communicate via WhatsApp and Facebook.
List of our members
- Adela ÖZKAN, president
- Moriz RUHSTALLER, Vice-President
- Mika LORANG, IT-manager
- Adriana ADROVIC
- Tom BRINCKMANN
- Chiara CAMERLYNCK
- Drago DRAGOVIC
- Jenna FELLER
- Lisa KLEIN
- Leila ONDOBO
- Lisa REICHERT
- Antoine ROUSSET
- Jasmin SABRI
- Louis SIEBENALER
- Mart VAN DER ENT
- Sandra DROSTE
- Sandra GALLI
List of our partner schools
- Gymnasium bilingvalne, Zilina (Slovakia)
- Wittekind-Gymnasium, Lübbecke (Deutschland)
- Cygnaeus-lukio, Jyväskylä ( Finnland)
- Institution Saint-Jude, Armentières (France)
- Instituto de Educacion Secundaria Miguel Catalàn, Zaragoza (Spain)