WHAT WE DO

Event


Kann die Jugend Europa Retten?, Schwarzkopf-Stiftung, Berlin, December 7th, 2017.

On Thursday, we co-hosted an panel discussion and a book presentation of the Who, If Not Us? essay’s German version. The event’s other organizers and partners were Schwarzkopf Foundation, grassroots think-tank Polis 180, and JEF’s Berlin chapter, JEB. The panel was moderated my Wolf-Christian Ulrich, a moderator for the German ZDF. Martin read the opening pages of the text, the panel, which comprised of Suse Zels of Polis 180, Katja Sinko of JEB, and Vincent, then discussed youth’s role in shaping a shared European future, issues of renationalization and political participation. Afterwards there were fruitful discussions with our guests. Thank you to all who participated and came to support us.

Publication


PINKSTINKS Germany, November 24th, 2017 – “Ein Ende von Gewalt gegen Frauen beginnt bei Männern”

Our new blog column post for PINKSTINKS deals with an important and delicate topic. This article makes reference to the International Day to End Violence Against Women, held every year on November 25th. The scope of violence against women is hardly conceivable. For instance, a woman is killed by an (ex-) partner of hers every third day on average. Sexual assualt and other forms of direct violence are much too common in literally every single country. Violence against women is perpetrated almost exclusively by men. Hence it is necessary to address men directly and have them be part of the healing and solution finding processes. Our text closes with a checklist for men to implement for reducing violence. Read the full article in German here.

Seminar


Finde Deine Politische Stimme, TU Hamburg-Harburg, November 17th-19th, 2017

How can young people engage with politics? That’s the question we are tackling in our seminar “Find your political voice” at Hamburg’s technical university TUHH. For us this has been the third time to teach this course, yet we always learning something new. This time, we particularly talked about questions pertaining to gender equality, a basic income, refugees and integration, and nuclear weapons in a globalized world. Thank you so much to all the dedicated students! We’ll be back on campus next semester.

Mile Stone


Bayreuther Dialoge, University of Bayreuth, October 29th, 2017  – HERR & SPEER are the laureates of the 2017 Vorbildpreis

It is such an honor for us to have been chosen as this year‘s recipients of the Vorbildpreis der Bayreuther Dialoge – a prize that has in its 14 year history gone to outstanding role models and exceptional change-makers from around the world. We understand this award to be not merely a recognition, but, more importantly, an encouragement to keep going despite all challenges and odds. This weekend, filled with inspiring talks, fresh ideas, and wonderful new friends will most certainly reverberate for some time to come and has already proven a fertile ground for future endeavors.

We sincerely want to express our gratitude to the conference‘s main organizers at the Bayreuth University. They did a truly fantastic job in putting together an event not simply exceptionally well executed, but one that carried with it a spirit of thoughtfulness and a devotion to gain a deeper understanding of expressing a sense of social responsibility in daily life and coversation.

A heartfelt Thank You!

 

Publication


Spiegel Daily, October 27th, 2017 – “Schenkt Zukunft!”

We published an article with Spiegel Daily on our proposal to introduce a future package to all 18-year olds in Germany. The article highlights the benefits of such a measure in the fields of eduction, integration, and Europan cohesiveness and calls on the leaders of the conversative, liberal, and green party to consider implementing it as a program under the new German government. Read the full article in German here.

Discussion


CNN Turner Debate Club, Cord Club Munich, October 23rd, 2017 – “Ist Popfeminismus ein konstruktiver Weg zur Gleichberechtigung”,

Vincent was part of public debate in Munich’s Cord Club on the topic of pop feminism. Two teams of three debated whether pop feminism is a constructive part in helping to achieve gender equality. Vincent joined the YES team and argued alongside Prof. Dr. Martina Schuegraf und Tarik Tesfu. In the end, by vote from the audience, the NO team came out on top in what what was a fun and entertaining debate. Regardless, we still believe that pop feminism is improtant and helpful and provides much needed inclusion within the feminist movement.

Policy Proposal


October 21st, 2017 – Das #Zukunftspaket

Germany has a new parliament and is headed towards negotiations for a new government coalition as well. That’s an opportunity to try out something new and refocus attention on the country’s young generation. Based on feedback to our #FreeInterrail campaign, we are proposing for the new German government to provide all young Germans with a #Zukunftspaket or ‘future package” upon turning 18. It shall include a 500 Euro voucher to be used for language classes, newspaper subscriptions, or an Interrail pass. The detailed proposal can be found here.

Publication


PINKSTINKS Germany, October 9th, 2017 – “Willkommen im Herrenhaus”

Our newest blog entry for PINKSTINKS Germany looks at the composition of the newly elected German parliament, specifically in regards to gender representation and division. With just over 30 percent female legislators, Germany is far from being fully representative of its female voices in society. We took that as an opportunity to dive quickly into the historical developlment of female politicians since 1918 and also dared a closer look at social media perspectives on women in politics – not always pretty. Read the full article in German here.

Event


MEET UP 2017 conference, Berlin, September 20th-22nd, 2017

Vincent co-moderated this three day conference of the EVZ Foundation in Berlin. The event focused on interconnecting German, Ukrainian, and Russian NGO workers, activists, and change-makers and featured a number of discussion groups, workshops, and a larger public panel discussion highlighting professionals from Germany and Ukraine. Ever since travelling to Ukraine twice over the last years, we have started to develop a strong sense of connection with that country and her people. This event enabled Vincent to learn from a number of activists and share his perspective in turn. Thank you to EVZ and MEET UP for this opportunity.

Publication


Tagespiegel, September 21st, 2017 – “Wahlpflicht- Vollendung der Demokratie”

Vincent published an article with Der Tagesspiegel, in which he makes a case for compulsory voting in Germany. Her looks at the pros and cons of such a measure and concludes that having to vote is in fact strengthening democratic principles and enables a fairer representation of demographic and interst groups. Both of us have repeadetly stood up for this proposal and we will continue to do so. Read the article in German here.

Discussion


ZEIT Online Facebook Live Debate, September 21st, 2017 – “Versagen die Jungen an der Demokratie?”

Vincent was invited to speak with ZEIT Online editor Hannes Schrader about the 2017 German elections, right-wing populism, and young and first-time voters. The talk also referenced the Die ZEIT article we published today as well. Watch the entire 25 minutes interview here (starts at 05:10) here.

Publication


Die ZEIT, September 21st, 2017 – “Wir Demokratieversager”

Three days before Germany’s general election, we published another article with Die ZEIT. This time, we are making a case for a strong youth voter turnout at the ballot boxes and highlight the negative results of young and first-time voters choosing to stay home on election day. In the text, we encourage our generation to make this year count and participate in, what we call, a voter flashmob. With the goal in mind to mobilize as many young voters as possible, we additionally started a Facebook event and got a number of youth organizations on board with it. Find the event here and the article in German here.

Event


International Congress for Democracy and Freedom, Berlin, September 9th & 10th, 2017 – “Lost generations – young, dynamic, unemployed” & “Some are more equal than others”

Vincent participated in the International Congress for Democracy and Freedom at the Berliner Haus der Festspiele in a dual function – as a moderator for a panel of questions pertaining to Generation Y, and as an expert on a panel regarding inequality in a globalized world. The whole event was held in English and featured a number of recognized experts in the fields of journalism, activism, policy, Europe, and digitalisation. Thank you to the organisers for a well-run and thought-provoking event! Find English summaries on Vincent’s panels here and here.

Event


Z2X 2017 Conference, Berlin, September 3rd, 2017 – “Wie geht es weiter mit #FreeInterrail?”

We were again part of this year’s ZEIT Online Z2X conference. After we secured 2nd place with our #FreeInterrail proposal last year, we held a workshop this year giving updates on the campaign and idea, and getting feedback on next steps to take. We also recruited a couple of new ambassadors for the ongoing campaign. Thanks to ZEIT Online and Z2X , who have supported us big time over the last 12 months. We are looking forward to continuing in this spirit of cooperation.

Publication


PINKSTINKS Germany, July 12th, 2017 – “Zeit für ein Sommermärchen”

This article for PinkStinks discusses women’s soccer and questions the reasons for a lack of national enthusiasm about the women’s world cup in the Netherlands. As big fans of women’s soccer, we make a case for a stronger focus of women playing soccer and less objectification and degradation of the players. During our research we came across some pretty horrenous example of sexism and misogyny – time to smash the patriarchy, in sports and elsewhere. Read the full article in German here.

Mile Stone


German Chancellery, June 30, 2017  – Marriage equality law passes lower house in Germany

Marriage equality was effectively legalized in a historic vote on June 30, 2017. It was a great honor and wonderful experience for us to be outside the German Chancellery when the vote was official concluded. This issue has been a personal focus of our, particularly as we never understood why the two of us would be treated differently under now-past German law. That day truly felt like a conclusion to a long debate and fight, in which thousands of individuals had been involved over the years. It was great to revisit the thousands of signatures we had collected and to be able present them to the media on that day. A day of gratitude and joy.

Mile Stone


June 20th, 2017  – Book publication “Wer, Wenn Nicht Wir? Vier Dinge, die wir jetzt für Europa tun können.”

Our first big book publication was the result of many people working together. Our essay, originally appeared in English in 2015 (self-published through a crowdfunding campaign), is now available in book stores throughout Germany for purchase. We are very grateful to our publisher Droemer Knaur in Munich, who approached us with the idea for publication in German after having read a recent article of our group in Die ZEIT. This essay is all about youth empowerment and the importance for young Europeans to become change-makers. Check out the book on the publisher’s website here, on Amazon, or just drop by your local bookstore.

 

Publication


PINKSTINKS Germany, June 12th, 2017 – “Echt überflüssig: Das All-Male-Panel”

We are no fans of all-male-panels. In a world full of driven and insightful women, there can be no explanation for having only men discuss event, make decisions, and applaud themselves. Diversity and equal representation is not only fair and just, it is basic necessity for economic success, adaptability, and visionary power. In this guest blog for Germany’s PINKSTINKS we looked at the all-male-panel, why it sucks, and what is being done to change things up. Read the full German text here.

Event


University of bath, England, May 23rd, 2017 – “Where next for the EU? The hopes and fears of Europe’s younger generation”

Recently, Vincent spoke at the University of Bath as part of a larger event on the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The panel he was on focused on young Europeans, particularly in the UK, and how Brexit may affect their lives. #FreeInterrail was discussed at lengths, but the main focus remained on what role young people could play in fostering a sense of unity amidst the chaos of Brexit negotions and the resulting uncertainty for many youth on either side of the channel. Thank you to Dr. Nicolas Startin for the invitation, the wonderful event, and for new sparks of inspiration.

Mile Stone


OTH Regensburg, May 18th, 2017  – TEDx talk “#FreeInterrail: A Vision of a Europe for All”

It is a great honor and privilege that #FreeInterrail was featured for the first time at a TEDx event. Hosted by the students of the OTH Regensburg college, the event had six speakers from different fields and backgrounds. Vincent presented #FreeInterrail in a 16 minute talk that is now also available in the TEDx library on youtube. We are looking forward to seeing how our journey will keep unfolding and are tremendously grateful for the opportunities and possibilities that arise and enable us to do our work to the best of our abilities. Thank you! 

 

 

Discussion


SpiegelTV / Dbate, May 15th, 2017 – “Kann Mann Feminist sein?”

Can a man be a feminist? Of course he can! That’s our belief and our best understanding of what feminism is all about. In a skype interview, Vincent talked with Dbate and SpiegelTV about why men should be feminists and should support gender equality. The full clip (in German) can be found here.

Event


University of Maastricht, Brussels campus, April 19th, 2017 – “Do we need more or less European integration in the face of Brexit, Refugee Crisis and rising populism throughout Europe?”

Vincent was part of the opening panel of the 2017 Student Forum Maastricht’s conference. The debate with plenty of questions form the audience revolved around questions of European integration, the future of the European Union, and, naturally, #FreeInterrail. Vincent detailed the benefits of a universal application of our #FreeInterrail proposal and explained the long-term effects such a policy would and will have. The discussion also featured a strong focus on gender equality and the importance of women in leadership positions.

Mile Stone


April 19th-21st, 2017 – #FreeInterrail / networking Brussels Trip

Always a beauty: Brussels. This was our first trip this year to talk #FreeInterrail, Europe, and youth empowerment. This time, we focused on meeting members of different newspapers and outlets in Brussels and participated in the 2017 Maastricht University’s Student Forum conference. It is remarkable to witness just how much the #FreeInterrail idea continues to inspire young people from different backgrounds and countries that fundamental change in Europe is possible. Thank you, for everyone who made this journey a special one. 

 

 

Event


Humboldt University Berlin / StartUpCamp Berlin, April 7th, 2017 – “#FreeInterrail – an idea with far reaching impact” 

Vincent presented the #FreeInterrail idea at the 2017 Berlin StartUpCamp. The event brought together a number of entrepreneurs, start-up folks, and social innovators. Vincent talked about how a small idea can affect policy as well as social institutions in Europe. The audience reacted many ideas of their own and discussed how #FreeInterrail can be promoted more broadly and how to bring an implementation about. Thank you to Hilfswerft for the invitation and initiative.

Publication


treffpunkteuropa, March 26th, 2017 – “Letter to European Youth”

Both of us wrote a short but heartfelt letter to Europe’s young generation. The text (in English) was published with treffpunkteuropa and is a call to action for European youth to take the helm in Europe and secure a European future of peace and cooperation. The piece picks up elements of our ZEIT article “Jetzt ist es an uns” that was co-written by most members of the Young European Collective. Check out the text here.

Event


Italian Embassy Berlin, March 23rd, 2017 – “60 Years Treaties of Rome: A new generation taking the legacy?” 

Vincent was part of a panel discussion in the Italian Embassy. This event was co-hosted by Schwarzkopf Foundation and the Representation of the European Commission in Germany. The other panelists were Sophie Hall (board member of Schwarzkopf Foundation) and Simone Romano (visiting professor on macroeconomics), Maximilian Kall moderated. The discussion highlighted younger perspectives on Europe, how European identity may be built, and what next steps to take 60 years after the Treaties of Rome. #FreeInterrail was prominently discussed and received vocal support both from the audience and then panelists.

Event


Allianz Forum, Berlin, March 20th, 2017 – “EVS4ALL: Volunteering for Social Change”

Vincent spoke on a panel on European mobility and youth exchange. The event was the opening of a larger conference on the EVS4ALL initiative by the Allianz Kulturstiftung. The foundation aims to provide more young Europeans with the possibility to travel into other European countries. Hence, they advocate for an extension of the EU’s European Voluntary Service to all citizens. Naturally, we agree with that approach. Vincent represented our #FreeInterrail idea and discussed with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, former politician, activist, and author, Brando Benifei MEP (and #FreeInterrail supporter), Youth Forum’s Andrea Casamenti, and Helene Häußler, who has recently finished her EVS abroad. The panel and the audience largely agreed that European future needs programs than enable all EU (youth) to meet face to face and explore Europe first-hand.

Discussion


ZDF Morgenmagazin, March 17th, 2017 – “#WasTunEuropa”

The two of us went on the air with ZDF moma to talk about #FreeInterrail. The special two-hour episode focused on Europe and European integration and featured a number of initiatives, perspectives, and ideas. We got to explain our reasons as to why #FreeInterrail is needed for a more inclusive and solidary Europe. The full clip (in German) can be found here.

Event


Europäisches Parlament – Informationsbüro in Deutschland, March 10th, 2017 – “Gleichstellung: Alles geregelt in Europa”

Vincent moderated one of two panels at a public event on gender equality. The whole workshop was co-hosted by the Representation of the European Parliament in Germany and the Berlin based grassroots think tank Polis 180. Vincent panel featured Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann MEP and Gabriele Bischoff, head of the employees’ group within the European Economic and Social Committee. The panel used the fish-bowl format and allowed members of the audience to come in, ask questions, and participate in the debate. For the most part, the discussion focused on the positive effects of gender equality for businesses, countries, and societies, but also analyzed some reason as to why real equality is still lightyears away. A full report in German can be found here.

Event


Pulse of Europe Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt, March 5th, 2017 – Public Speech on #FreeInterrail

Vincent was invited as a featured speaker for the March 5th Pulse of Europe rally in Berlin, alongside Schwarzkopf-Foundation chairman André Schmitz-Schwarzkopf. Vincent spoke about his vision for Europe, in which all citizens, independent of their income, national or social background, can participate. This Europe for all, he said, would require a program like #FreeInterrail. A video of the speech in German can be watched on our Facebook site. Some more information on that day’s event may be found on the Schwarzkopf-Foundations website.

Third-Party Publication


enorm Magazin, Februar 23rd, 2016 – “#FreeInterrail”

The Hamburg based magazine enorm featured the two of us as part of their cover story with the title “Europe First.” They highlighted us and a few other activists, who work on making Europe a better place. The story focused particularly on #FreeInterrail, how the idea came about, what will happen next, and why it’s so important for European integration. You can find some info on this and the magazine in general by following this link. (German)

Publication


Die ZEIT, Februar 9th, 2017 – “Jetzt ist es an uns!”

We published a co-authored essay with the German newspaper Die ZEIT. The text was written by a group of 13 Europeans (from nine different countries) in an October workshop in Berlin. The workshop was sponsored by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and hosted and organized by the two of us. The text is a call to action for European youth. The title translates to: ‘Now, it’s up to us!’ The original was written in English and we are in the process of distributing the text in other languages as well. The link to the ZEIT version can be found here. More information on the group behind the text, The Young European Collective, may be found at www.whoifnotus.eu 

Discussion


DW The Day, January 23rd, 2017 – “Trump’s First Days”

Vincent was on the air with Deutsche Welle (DW)’s Brent Goff to talk about the effects of Trumps’s first days in office on European civil society. The interview also touched upon the womens marches across the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world. Vincent explained why sexism and misogyny are topics for men as well and urged men to join the ranks of feminism. Finally, Brent and Vincent discussed whether Trump’s inauguration may in face have kick-started a more active civil-society both in the United States and in Europe.

Publication


TreffPunktEuropa, December 25th, 2016 – “Von Mann zu Frau: Ein Brief an Europas Frauen”

After having written to European men in a previous open letter, Vincent now addressed European women in this last “Letter to Europe” of treffpunkteuropa.de feature of 2016. In the text, Vincent encourages European women to realize their potential and help saving Europe. The text expresses the concern that Europe is currently struggling from being male-dominated. What the world and Europe need right now is more female input and power in order to bring about sustainable solutions. Read the full German letter here.

Event


Junge Europäische Bewegung, Abgeordneten Haus von Berlin. December 17th, 2016 – Key Note Address for the 2016 Model European Parliament

Vincent was one of the key note speakers for this year’s Model European Parliament organized by the Young European Movement (JEB/JEF) in Berlin’s state parliamentary hall. He spoke to the approximately 200 high school students from all over Germany on #FreeInterrail, #WhoIfNotUs, and importance for European youth to get involved for a better continent and become change-makers. The talk concluded with a productive and intruiging Q&A, during which the young participants wanted to hear more about our projects and European integration in general. Thank you to the JEB board for putting together such a stellar event with fantastic attendees. Well done!

Third-Party Publication


ZITTY, December 15th, 2016 – “Berlins Beste 2016”

The Berlin city magazine Zitty is known for its section “Berlins Beste”, in which it features Berliners or Berlin businesses worth noting. We are deeply honored to be included in the 2016 list of Berlin change-makers. The magazine contacted us for our work on #FreeInterrail and honored the idea and its potential for Europe in an article worth the read. You can find the German piece (including all selectees for the 2016 list) here.

Campaign


December 6th, 2016 – #FreeInterrail Website Launched

We launched the official #FreeInterrail website that includes extensive background information on the proposal, an FAQ section, a list of 5 steps everyone can take to support the idea and its implementation, and testimonies by our campaign’s public supporters. Additionally, we also started to extend the team behind the idea and are proud to have a growing number of top-notch young Europeans representing the proposal and campaign as #FreeInterrail Ambassadors. Find the website at freeinterrail.eu

Third-Party Publication


ZEIT Online, November 22nd, 2016 – “EU-Kommission: #FreeInterrail vor dem Durchbruch”

ZEIT Online published another major update on the #FreeInterrail initiative. The article documents the results of our Brussels trip a few days prior to publication and highlights the broad spectrum of support within both the European Parliament and the European Commission. The author, Till Schwarze, points out that the Commission now intends to fund a pilot project on this idea already in 2017. However, questions remain whether such a pilot project will stick true to the basic features of our proposal: univesal application and easy access. Read the full German article here.

Mile Stone


November 15th & 16th, 2016 – #FreeInterrail Brussels Trip

We just returned from our second major Brussels trip this year. While last time, in February, we were only beginning to form an alliance in support of our proposal, this trip was coined by overwhelming support for the proposal both in the European Parliament and the European Commission. During the two days, we met up with a range of parliamentarians or their offices from different parties, including Rebecca Harms and Michael Cramer (Greens), Manfred Weber (EPP), Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (Liberals), Istvan Ujhelyi (S&D), and others. We also had a longer conversation with a cabinet member of EU Commissioner Bulc’s and learned that the Commission intends to fund a pilot project on our proposal already in 2017. This was fantastic news and we were, quite honestly, surprised just how quickly this idea took off. We also know that the fight isn’t quite over yet, as we goal remains to achieve a full implementation of #FreeInterrail for EU youth, not just a select few. The next years will be exciting for sure.

Our Brussels trip was also documented by a number of media outlets, including ZEIT Online, ZDFheute, and TV5 Monde. With ZDF we did an interview that was put into a TV piece, as well as a Facebook Live chat with their audience online. The TV5 Monde has yet to air. ZEIT Online published a major update on #FreeInterrail and our work.

Event


Schwarzkopf-Stiftung Junges Europa, Berlin. November 3rd, 2016 – “Islam in Europa: Zwischen Zuschreibungen und Selbstbildern”

Vincent moderated a Schwarzkopf event with Prof. Dr. Riem Spielhaus, one of Germany’s leading experts on intergration and Islam. The event focussed on questions of identity and community in regards to Muslims in Europe and Germany. The audience included a large number of Berlin high school students, who engaged in an extended Q&A session during the event’s second half. Prof. Spielhaus’ call to all participants: “Overcome stereotypes by engaging with those of different backgrounds. Don’t just talk to them, but do something together, build the community and make things better.”

Publication


TreffPunktEuropa, October 30th, 2016 – “Von Mann zu Mann: Brief an die Männer Europas”

Vincent published an open letter to the men of Europe with the online platform treffpunkteuropa. The text calls upon men in Europe to take the matter of gender inequality in Europe seriously and to become active agents of change. It particularly encourages men to ask females in their families and circles about how sexism plays out in their day-to-day experiences. Finally, the letter makes the argument that men engaging in gender equality are not doing it for women, but with them. Read the full German letter here.

Discussion


Deutschland Radio Wissen, October 30th, 2016 – “Interrail-Ticket zum 18. Geburtstag für jeden”

Vincent had a detailed interview with Germany’s DRadio Wissen on our #FreeInterrail. The piece lasted for 11 minutes and addressed several important questions regarding our proposal to provide all EU youth with access to a free Interail ticket when they turn 18. Vincent also addressed several frequently raised counter-arguments such as feasibility, costs, and the overall effectiveness of our proposal. Listen to the interview in German here.

Event


UN Women Germany, Berlin. October 20th, 2016 – “International Perspectives Panel”

Vincent moderated an UN Women Germany panel discussion held on October 20th in Berlin. The panel was part of a UN Women symposium on women’s rights both in Germany and internationally. The list of speakers on Vincent’s panel included Joelle Tanguy (UN Women), Ellen Kallinowsky (GIZ), Felizitas Lichtenberg (Vodafone Deutschland), and Beatrace Oola (Fashion Africa Now). As a passionate #HeForShe, Vincent was particularly honored to interact with these active change-makers on the topics of gender equality around the globe, the status of international campaigns, and the role of individual to build a fair society.

Copyright of the photos: UN Women Nationales Komitee Deutschland e.V.

Publication


Libertine Magazine, October 2016 – “Männliche Feministen”

This article by both of us for the start-up Libertine Magazine argues that male feminism is real and is needed in order to achieve gender equality that will in turn benefit women and men. We make a case for more men to join women in their efforts to truly equal the playing field and overcome discriminination and sexism as it hurts the fiber of our societies. We are convinced that a world of true justice and equality will be a better place for everyone and are actively engaged in doing our part to get there.

Mile Stone


October 4th, 2016 – European Parliamentary Debate on #FreeInterrail, Strasbourg

The #FreeInterrail idea was discussed for one hour by members of the European Parliament and the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc. We are incredibly humbled to witness this as a result of a simple idea that had its origin on an Interrail trip over two years ago. Most parlamentarians welcomed the idea and agreed that it would indeed help to foster a European identity and overcome tendencies of renationalization. Chair of the Greens, Rebecca Harms, and S&D MEP Istvan Ujhelyi, who have been working with us for almost a year now, pointed to our shared efforts and underlined the idea’s origin and support within the civil society. At the end of the debate, Commissioner Bulc declared that the European Commission will explore this idea further. Read her full statement here.

Publication


Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 4th, 2016 – “Generation Interrail”

This article by Vincent was published in the print version of the Süddeutsche Zeitung on October 4th. Coincidentally, that is the same day that #FreeInterrail will also be discussed in the European Parliament in Brussels. More on that later. Vincent particularly emphasizes the important impact of free access to Interrail passes in regard to healing a generational divide and reestablishing trust in the EU. Read the full German article on page 2 of the Süddeutsche Zeitung or online here.

Third-Party Publication


ZEIT Campus, September 27th, 2016 – “Interrail: Reisen gegen den Europa-Frust”

This article by ZEIT Online’s Till Schwarze traces the #FreeInterrail idea back to its roots and shows why and how this idea developed: from our research trip through Europe in 2014 and our important meeting with Robert Menasse in Vienna to our first publications on this idea and its most current status, this article is a good summary of #FreeInterrail’s background. Read the full German article here.

Discussion


BBC World Service, September 25th, 2016 – “Interrail for free?”

Vincent was interviewed on BBC World Service’s Newshour on our #FreeInterrail proposal. He talked about how we came up with this idea and made an argument why such an investment would be highly beneficial not just for European youth, but for a shared European future. Listen to the interview here. (Starts at 40:38)

Publication


EUobserver, September 20th, 2016 – “#FreeInterrail – saving Europe by travelling”

This article by both of us sketches out the development of the #FreeInterrail idea. It shows its very beginnings during our 2014 European research trip, and continues to lay out why our proposal to provide EU youth with free access to Interrail passes is Europe’s best option to tackle a variety of current problems, including renationalization, the loss of trust in the EU, and a divided and disconnected your generation. Read the full article here.

Publication


IPG Journal, September 19th, 2016 – “Reisend Europa retten”

This article by Vincent sketches out how our #FreeInterrail idea could by made a reality by the EU and what advantages and benefits would come along. The article also shows what road the idea has taken ever since being first published on in the summer of 2015. Since then, #FreeInterrail’s support network has been growing steadigly and quickly. Read the full German article here.

Campaign


September 14th, 2016 onward – #FreeInterrail, Europe

Our #FreeInterrail initiative has taken off after several European politicians voiced their support for such an idea. It stared with EPP chair Manfred Weber, who considere this idea on the floor during the EU State of the Union address. Italian PM Matteo Renzi followed soon after, saying he’d like such a program. Many news outlets, particularly in Germany, picked up on those statements of support and wrote pieces on the idea. It is great to see that this idea to increase youth mobility and strengthen European integration has found such a growing group of supporters. Ever since we started advocating for this idea in Brussels in February, we are working hard to broaden the field. It clearly worked. Follow the official #FreeInterail Twitter account: http://twitter.com/freeinterrail

Mile Stone


September 4th, 2016 – #FreeInterrail at #Z2X “Festival of the New Visionaries,” Berlin

Our #FreeInterrail campaign received a major boost in support and reach at ZEIT Online festival Z2X in Berlin. The event aimed to produce and kick-start meaningful projects for a better future and featured some 500 young thinkers and doers under the age of 30. At the two day event’s conclusion, #FreeInterrail stood as one of three projects that the participants voted on in order to receiver further support on this way to implementation. We are honored by and grateful for all the support, votes, and ideas that will help this idea to reach more Europeans and enact positive change for Europe and its youth. Thank you to ZEIT Online, Z2X, and many others who made this all possible.

Campaign


June 23rd, 2016 – #EuropeLovesUK – UK Embassay in Berlin

On June 23rd, 2016 – the day of the UK referendum on EU membership – we headed for the UK Embassy in Berlin with a message of love for our neighbors and friends in the UK. With us we brought 55,000 signatures of Europeans who shared our message of love on change.org and a bunch of heart-shaped balloons. Unfortunately, police would not let us right in front of the embassy. We thus let the balloons fly into the Berlin sky right outside the security perimeter. We were happy to have three different news agency teams present to document the moment. The petition may be found here.

Photos were taken by Sebastian Glowinski

Event


Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Europe Calling, Düsseldorf. June 16th, 2016 – “Democratic Europe – held back by the right? ”

Vincent participated at a panel discussion in this high-profile FES conference that took place in several European cities. The Düsseldorf panel also featured Birgit Sippel (MEP), Prof. Frank Decker (Bonn University), and Prof. Michael Rosenecker (Karl Renner Institute) and discussed ways to address surges in right wing populism. Vincent presented our ideas on youth quotas, free interrail passes (#FreeInterrail), and more efforts to support women and girls as practicable ideas to combat anti-democratic movements. You can find more information on the event here.

Event


Global Media Forum, Bonn. June 15th, 2016 – “Can media help to prevent violence against women?”

Vincent was one of four guests of a panel at the 2016 DW’s Global Media Forum in Bonn. The panel discussed the question of media’s role in supporting women’s empowerment around the globe. The panel was co-organized by UN Women National Commitee Germany, the GIZ, the chancelory of North Rhine-Westphalia, and DW. Vincent particularly stressed the responsibility of men to support gender equality and combat all forms of objectification and sexualization of women and girls as that leads to continued violence and oppression. The audience featured women and men from various countries and ensured a lively debate, moderated by DW’s Jaafar Abdul Karim. Read the joint press release here.

Campaign


June 7th, 2016 – #EuropeLovesUK – Stay with us

We started a petition with change.org expressing our love for the UK and our wish for the country to remain part of the EU after the upcoming referendum on June 23rd. We are honored to cooperate with other oustanding pro-EU campaigns in the field and are working together to finding more ways to spread the word and love to our friends in the UK. Sign the petition here.

Event


100. Katholikentag, Leipzig. May 28th, 2016 – “Sind wir schon oder noch Europäer?”

Both of us presented on European youth and young perspectives on European identity at a panel discussion of the 100th bi-annual Katholikentag (Catholics Day) in Leipzig. The panel featured among others current European MEPs and a former Europeans Commissioner. We also happily got to present our FreeInterrail initiative that drew some attention and helped us to grow our network of supporters.

Publication


PolisBlog, May 24th, 2016 – “First Bridges: Improved Labor Market Participation for Refugees”

This article, that we co-authored with Polis180’s Kevin Müller presents the Frist Bridges programme. Designed to incorporate refugees arriving in Europe into the labor market, this proposal could effectively strengthen integration and business practices. The First Bridges ideas was developed during the 2016 Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s The Lab. Read the full article here.

Discussion


NDR Redezeit, May 24th, 2016 – “Die Folgen der Wahl in Österreich”

Martin took part in a lengthy debate and public discussion on Germany’s public radio NDR on the consequences of the Austrian Presidential elections. The talk revolved around the tropics of right wing populism, the power of democracy, the role of youth, and visions for Europe’s future. The guests at the talk included experts on Europe, democracy, and election cycles. You may listen to the whole show (in German) here.

Publication


ZDFheute, May 5th, 2016 – “Europas Jugend: Auf der Suche nach Zukunft”

Generation Europe – the first generation of true Europeans, who grew up in a Europe without bordern and many international experiences – has much potential to change the continent for the better, but is currently still holding back. We argue that this generation deserves more attention, since it is Europe’s youth that can provide important and helpful answers to solve the countless issues and problems facing us today. Read the full article here in German.

Event


Schwarzkopf-Stiftung, Berlin. May 4th, 2016 – “Stimmungslage UK: In or Out?”

Vincent moderated a public discussion with German Ambassador to the UK Dr. Peter Ammon. The event drew a good crowd, including many young attendees. The Ambassador urged European civil society to do their part in talking with Britons about the beauty of a united continent. A good reminder for all of us to think about own ways of engagement.

Publication


Die ZEIT, No. 20, 2016. (May 4th, 2016) – “Echt schön hier” (p. 13)

Our article discusses the importance of European civil society in solving current and future problems facing our continent. In fact, much creative energy originates beyond the parliamentary political realm, hence, this is where we need to look to find innovative and forward-looking visions and ideas. Read the full article (in German) here.

Workshop


Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Berlin. May 1st & 2nd, 2016 – “Building bridges: Overcoming distances in the age of refugee and migration flows in Europe”

Together with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, we organized, moderated, and ran a new innovative event format: The LAB. The workshop aims to bring together young, creative minds from all over Europe and established representatives from politics, media, and civil society. We were happy to have 12 outstanding young talents participate in the LAB with MEPs Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann and Brando Benifei, Prof. Gesine Schwan, SPIEGEL editor Ann-Katrin Müller, and German Foreign Ministry representative Yvonne Nasshoven providing input from their experiences and perspectives. The focus this year was integration. At the end of the two days, we had drafted two project proposal papers and presented them to the public at a panel discussion on May 2nd.