Following a year full of successful discussions and debates on campus as well as a variety of opportunities for students created by JEF Malta through the Zero Hour campaign, the organisation drew the project to a close yesterday evening at the Verdala Palace. Present at the event were Dr Simon Busuttil, Professor Arnold Cassola, JEF Europe Secretary Valentin Dupouey Sterdyniak, Kurt Formosa from MEUSAC Malta and numerous workshop participants and debate panelists.
We believe that young people are the present and future of Europe. - Kayrin Gauci, JEF Malta President.
The closing ceremony was opened by JEF Malta President Kayrin Gauci who introduced Emma Grech, Vice President, to speak about what Zero Hour meant for JEF Malta throughout this year. Emma expressed that JEF wanted to take action against all the anti-EU hype that was arising. Grech described Zero Hour as a mission to bring people to Europe. It was a small step from students for students which meant to create interaction between decision-makers and young people.
Grech went on to say that throughout the project JEF Malta have collected proposals that came out from all the workshops and debates and were compiled into a policy paper which will be presented to policy-makers in the hopes that they will later on be adopted for the good of the population as a whole.
Participating in Zero Hour workshops made me feel like my voice and my opinion mattered. - Celine Cuschieri Debono, Law Student, participant.
Grech’s speech was then followed by speeches from participants of the workshops and debates organised by JEF. Thomas Cassar Ruggier and Celine Cuschieri Debono expressed gratitude towards JEF Malta for organising this project which gave them a voice.
The Zero Hour project has also proven to be one which contributed greatly to student activism and in fact, JEF Malta’s current Project Manager was recruited through this same project. Gabriella Mifsud expressed how she had always been interested in the EU and EU policies and therefore she was inclined to participate within the project and in turn join the organisation itself.
I hope that more fruitful initiatives are organised by JEF in the future. - Thomas Cassar Ruggier, participant.
After being a panelist in one of the debates, Nationalist Party Leader, Dr Simon Busuttil, was also invited to give a speech. Busuttil expressed how proud Malta should be after having hosted the Presidency of Europe. “We all seem to be pessimistic about the future of the European Union,” went on Busuttil as he pointed towards Brexit. However, he believes that we should be optimistic instead. “I believe that Brexit triggered an opposite reaction, as often happens, when you have one action, you have a counter opposite reaction. Brexit has helped us rediscover why Europe is important.” - Dr Simon Busuttil, Nationalist Party Leader.
Dr Roberta Metsola, who could not be present for the event sent over a video through which she thanked JEF Malta for bringing the European project closer to the people.
Populism is defeated with rationality. - Dr Roberta Metsola, MEP.
JEF Malta’s main aim was to launch a project that aims at encouraging knowledge on EU affairs within the student body. In fact throughout the past year, and through the project, the organisation lead a number of workshops such as on youth and mental health at the U.S. Embassy in Attard, as well as various debates tackling terrorism and radicalization, the social shift to green, the European Digital Agenda, as well as debates tackling the hot topics of the education system and euthanasia, to name a few.
Being a part of JEF has thought me the importance of persevering and dedication to your work, as well as the importance of teamwork. - Gabriella Mifsud, JEF Malta Project Manager.
Nicole Borg is a currently a 4th year student studying Communications and Theatre Studies. She joined Insite as a writer and editor in 2014/2015. Following she progressed to join the media team as Publications Officer in 2015/16. Currently she is the Executive Editor of Insite Malta for the term of 2016/17.