European Youth Capital
Rotterdam was, at least for the last days, the true European Youth Capital, as the European Youth Forum's General Assembly took place in this famous Dutch city. 230 youth leaders, from all over the continent and representing young people from different cultural, economic and social backgrounds and diverse idelogical, political and religious beliefs, gathered to evaluate the work done in the last two years, plan the work for the next two, accept new members and elect new leaders. Tine Radinja was elected and will therefore become the first ever President of the European Youth Forum coming from South East Europe. I consider this to be a symbolical yet significant event, and besides being happy for the good friend, I am also glad for what it represents in terms of what the European Youth Forum stands for: an open and inclusive platform for the participation of young people in the shaping of Europe. Others will join Tine and make a new team which will take office on January 1st, 2009. Some were not elected, but deserve the same kindness and the same respect due to the winners. Lloyd, Tim and Zara, in spite of the choices made by the delegates, I am sure that we all appreciate your dedication and efforts, and I hope you can keep contributing in a different way. Especially for Lloyd, who due to his young age has still a long and prosperous future ahead of him, the example of Xenia might be useful to consider... In any case, the fact is that from the beginning of next year, I will have a new set of Bureau colleagues, and the time for me to move on will approach fast. Change is all around us, and we better be prepared for it. For now I will go back to holidays. Tomorrow I will fly first to Philadelphia and then to Houston. And will enjoy two weeks in Texas and Mexico. But, to be honest, I will miss my colleagues. This group of wonderful people who make my professional life substantially easier delivered once again a magnificent performance; and even though I would like to show them the true dimension of my appreciation, I am afraid that I will never fully succeed.