First China, then Africa. It seems like we’ve been job-shadowing the leaders of the European Union in the last two weeks. First it was the EU-China summit, in Beijing, that we anticipated by meeting the All-China Youth Federation; and now it was the EU-Africa summit, in Lisbon, that we anticipated by organising the Africa-Europe Youth Summit. If in Beijing we were left alone, this time, in Lisbon, we were joined by the President of the European Council, José Socrates, by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and by many other political authorities from both Africa and Europe, and hundreds of journalists who spread the message. It is also true that in Beijing it was only a few of us, and now, in Lisbon, we were more than 200 young people from around 80 different countries. In spite of the differences, there are some common elements worth noting. The first, and maybe the most important, is the fact that young people and youth organisations are taking their responsibility of building a better world seriously, and are taking part in the important debates of today, being aware of the past but keeping their eyes in the future, which is the only way politics make sense. The second, equally important, is that it seems that the institutions and the politicians are finally starting to recognise not only the importance, but also the usefulness of listening to what young people have to say about matters hat concern them, on the traditional fields of youth policy, but also beyond them. These two aspects combined make me very happy, very proud and full of hope. They reward the efforts of many people who have worked hard over the years and give motivation for others to continue their work. The summit in Lisbon, in that sense, was somehow a mystical experience… Some of the people who were with me when I started this adventure more than ten years ago were still there; some others who played an important role in several of its crucial moments were also there; but, even more important, the ones who I hardly knew or never have met before, were also there: and they were so many and so full of enthusiasm and knowledge and will, that they didn’t leave me any doubts that the point of no return has been passed. I was born in Africa 33 years ago. I’ve been living in Europe ever since. Inside, these two continents have always been close to each other. Now, I know that they will become closer together also for everyone else. The world will be better. The future will be better than the present is and the past was. And I don’t think that a better reason to smile can be found!