Last Friday, when I travelled to Aachen for the kick-off event “Stories for Europe” I had a lot of questions in my mind. Who will I meet there? What will be discussed and what impact will this event have?
The nicely atmosphere at the Akademie für Handwerksdesign Gut Rosenberg, where the event took place, the warm welcome of the facilitators and the participative formats like world café and open space created right away a constructive, fruitful and lively atmosphere for discussions and exchanges among us.
During the two days, the discussions were about questions such as: Is Europe an economical or a cultural community? Does something like a European identify exists? What does Europe means for generations? Is Europa at all attractive for the younger generations? Are there any shared values among Europe? If so, which are they?
In addition to the many positive thoughts that we shared, I was particularly alarmed about the questions younger participants brought up, when they asked why they should be committed to Europe and what Europe has to offer to them.
Besides discussions a lot of personal stories about “our” Europe were told. The world café for example offered a session called: “In which moments of my life did Europa became tangible / important to me?” Each of these personal “Europe-moments” were special and we all felt: here beats the heart of Europe and here lies the power of storytelling.
(By the way, we will present a selection of videos of such stories in our next harvesting-blogs. Please check it out!)
On my way back home I felt engulfed by the warm feeling of having gathered with wonderful people who shared their time, thoughts and skills for making Europe the place where we love to live in, even though we probably will never find clear answers to all of our questions and doubts on Europe.
My hope is, that this kick-off event is a starting point for many others occasions to think and debate about Europe and to work together with other initiatives like for example Pulse for Europe. I am curious where this road will lead us. Nevertheless, during these two days the world must have felt our good European vibrations.
P.S.: A special moment with symbolic character for me was when the car of the caterer who delivered food for us broke down and spontaneously Europeans helped each other.