European Humanist Youth Days 1

Last weekend I attended the first European Humanist Youth Days in Brussels, and it was a very interesting event which shook me out of my lethargy. I want to share this experience with you, my beloved reader, and for the first time I’ll do it in English since I want the people I met there to be able to comment and add their experience of it. Too many things happened and too many ideas were heard so there’ll be several articles – this is just the introduction:

First of all I would like to comment on the organization. It was really nice, everything went smoothly and the people who worked for that made everything very easy for us. I don’t know if they were getting crazy about it deep inside, but to us they were always smiling and friendly and everyone seemed quite cool. Also the music was surprisingly nice, I would like to thank someone for that :p

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It might be due to my own bias but I feel and instant difference when I enter a university campus. There is a different culture, an underground movement, “ghosts” of thoughts and positively troubled minds roaming around. This difference becomes a huge chasm when you come from the museum-and ridiculously protected yet of course very beautiful-city of Brugge. Here culture feels like something forced, something we have to do. But around universities this just happens, ideas and the need of expression through different mediums just explode and touch everyone – especially in countries where you have to pay for your education, so many of the people who go there actually care about their studies…

[Bachelor degrees are for free in Greece and many students tend to forget they should be grateful for having access to education]

As I said, this might be due to my own personal, romantic, biased ideas about universities and students, but I felt good from the moment I set my foot there.

The campus was great, green and welcoming. The endless free water, beer and soft drinks might have helped also :p At any moment we had access to drinks, decent toilets and usually food, which was a big success with so many people. There were many activities, interesting speeches and of course the chance to chat with everyone and I marvelled on how ideas that are similar on their basis can differ depending on the experiences of the individual and the social situation in each country.

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Everyone was more than eager to talk to everyone and even if you wanted to be blind and deaf to all around you it was impossible not to be drawn to the beauty of different cultures mingling and the variety of ideas “clashing”. Once more I felt that you are not better when you are with people from your own country, you are better around people you can communicate with – and if they happen to be from Germany, Holland, Italy, Greece or El Salvador who cares? The more the merrier… I felt a better connection with my lovely roommate from France in those 2 days than with many Greeks I’ve known for years…

So once again:

Europe should come together, people should forget about nations and differences. Our identities shouldn’t be defined by imaginary lines on maps nor should they be threatened by unification. Countries might be useful for practical reasons but it’s stupid to stick to them for definitions of who we are. Living together doesn’t mean we have to lose ourselves and become all the same, this is an irrational fear. Instinct might leads us in worshiping tribes but, for me, this is an instinct we should fight, alter, evolve.

Things always change, either we come in contact with others or not – and that’s good, being stale and unchangeable in a world that has so many new opportunities to offer is a waste of potential.

Following next:

Day 1 – Friday

European Union and Human Rights – how we treat religion and conservatism
Atheism and humanism – side thoughts after the speech
The values of renaissance – were they lost or misinterpreted?

 Day 2 – Saturday

Cold reading – when you trick yourself in believing

Anti-aging and who wants to live forever
Defining ourselves – side thoughts after the speech

 Day 3 – Sunday

I accuse – what are the issues for which we accuse our countries?

Chocolates!!! (well we are in Belgium after all :p)

Politicians and human rights

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