Young people in Ganja are very excited nowadays… Why? Because they are the candidate city for being the European Youth Capital in 2016! A very active NGO, Bridge to the Future is just in the middle of this fascinating process. Aysun Zeynalova and Jeyhun Ashirov from Bridge to the Future… They both think that Ganja is ready to be recognized as European Youth Capital, what do you think?
Can you provide some information about the city and the role of the youth in Azerbaijan and specifically in Ganja. Why Ganja should be nominated as a youth capital?
Ganja is the second biggest city of Azerbaijan. There are 4 universities and 4 colleges in Ganja, that’s why we have lots of youth representatives here. There are 90 thousand young people in Ganja, so it represents the youth power of the city. Ganja has been chosen as the Azerbaijan Youth Capital of 2012, since there are lots of active NGOs and youth organizations located here. Now our city’s goal is to become the European Youth Capital of 2016. We believe we can achieve this goal, since Ganja has a great support from local NGOs, institutions, universities, colleges and youth centers. We consider our city as a good candidate for the European Youth Capital, since Ganja’s speed of development increases day by day.
What is going to be the contribution of “Bridge to the Future”?
Bridge to the Future Youth Public Union is the most active youth NGO in Ganja. It organizes lots of local and international projects. Bridge to the Future contributed a lot to support our city on the road to the European Youth Capital.
How will you promote the active participation of young people in the society?
The participation of young people in our society is very important for our city on the road to the European Youth Capital. We want to guarantee our youth participation by providing them with new projects where they can get involved and actively participate.
How will you promote multiculturalism or ethnic integration and international youth co-operation?
As we know, Azerbaijan is a multicultural country. As the second biggest city of the republic, Ganja city also contains different cultures in itself. The guests from other countries have a chance to see different cultures in one city. We consider it as an important cultural opportunity for them. It makes us believe that if Ganja becomes the European Youth Capital of 2016; it will provide our guests with that opportunity and will show the deepness of Azerbaijani culture. Ganja is already well-known for its amount of international projects. Different NGOs in the city organize different international projects where they convene the representatives of other countries. It provides our project participants and the citizens of the city with a chance to experience a cultural exchange. We know that if Ganja becomes the European Youth Capital of 2016, our city will host more foreign guests from all over the world and many more international projects will be organized.
How will you empower young people to engage?
The youth representatives of the city are already highly motivated to participate in the projects and contribute their skills. In order to motivate all the youth representatives, our committee will organize different movements, projects, workshops, events, campaigns and festivals for them. That will encourage them to be more active in the youth field.
Which other relevant stakeholders will you involve (i.e. municipalities, NGOs, public authorities etc.)?
Since our committee has a close partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, we have already involved the governmental institutions into our campaign. But in order to involve the NGOs and public authorities, the committee will build a partnership with local institutions. We believe in the power of the future partnerships, because the local institutions have already shown us their support and desire to be a part of the campaign for European Youth Capital 2016.
How will you promote volunteerism?
Volunteerism is the field that is highly appreciated by our youth representatives. Youth in Ganja gets more and more into volunteerism. There are lots of volunteers in many NGOs of the city. If Ganja gets chosen as the European Youth Capital of 2016, new NGOs and new centers will be opened, so it will provide our youth with new places and opportunities for volunteering.
What kind of easily accessible communication channel will you use to provide information about the activities e.g. websites, social networks etc.
The local support committee already has a website and a facebook page for providing people with some information about our activities. Since Bridge to the Future has cooperated with the local TV channel, they will help us to promote our activities on TV. We will also have adverts in the local newspapers and websites.
Do you want to support them? Here you go: https://www.facebook.com/SupportGanja?fref=ts
Interviewed by Maria Strati
Newsmail Journalist, YEU International.
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The interview was published in the February Newsmail of the YEU International.