ESN is nominating Valentin Dupouey from ESN Nancy for a second mandate as member of the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe. The following is an open letter from our candidate.

Dear Member Organisations of the European Youth Forum,
Dear Friends,

I’m very excited to be supported by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) for the upcoming elections. I truly hope you will give me your trust for a second mandate as a member of the Advisory Council on Youth (AC) of the Council of Europe.

Being a member of the AC is a positively challenging experience thanks to the diversity of topics addressed by the AC, but also due to the structures of the Council of Europe and of the co-management system within the youth sector. Being part of this unique structure that allows meaningful participation of young people is a constant learning experience that requires dedication, a broad understanding of youth issues in Europe and the ability to work and cooperate with a wide diversity of stakeholders.

The experience I’ve lived during this first year as member of the AC provides the basis for what I want to help achieve during a second mandate. Steadily, with a small team of AC members, we have been actively working to make the work of the AC more accessible, better understood and more visible through renewed communication practices. This work should be carried on in order for the great work of the AC to be recognised outside our usual circles. This goal goes beyond a simple communication issue. Ensuring clarity and visibility is also a way to increase the impact of our work. A stronger understanding and knowledge of the results of our work and how it can be used by young people, their organisations, by local and regional authorities, and by governments will strengthen our position as an impactful actor in the youth field.

Internally, I want to actively take part in the knowledge transfer and training of the newly elected AC members. As new members, the input and knowledge we received from more experienced members were invaluable to help us navigate in the sometimes unsettling waters of the Council of Europe’s structure. I believe the transition process can still be improved to ensure the full and effective participation of new members from the very start of their mandate.

Content-wise, I want to keep focusing on youth participation. This question of active youth participation has been at the heart of all my voluntary and professional engagements for the last 8 years in the NGO sector. I am committed to keep working for a renewed cooperation between the Advisory Council and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities which, I am convinced, can lay the foundations for stronger youth participation at the local level. Besides, I believe that the current issue of shrinking civic space, which has been integrated in the Council of Europe Youth Sector’s priorities for the upcoming two years, is a fundamental threat to democracy affecting young people in particular. I am committed to support the actions the AC will lead under this orientation of the youth sector’s programme.

Finally, I would like to put both ESN’s experience with the European Youth Foundation (EYF) and my own project management experience at the service of the Programming Committee (PC). The EYF and the PC have been constantly improving the way the EYF is cooperating with its beneficiaries. This work needs continuous adjustments to the reality of the work and projects of youth NGOs. I believe my experience as project manager can be a strong added-value to the work of the PC.

My long-term engagement within the Erasmus Student Network, within the European Youth Forum (YFJ) as an active volunteer of the platform, and currently within the Young European Federalists, from whom I have also received the informal support, will undoubtedly help me represent the diversity of views and interests of YFJ’s Member Organisations within the Advisory Council.

I’ll be happy to exchange with you during COMEM about my experience in and aspirations for the AC, but feel free to already contact me at valentin.dupouey@esn.org!