On 3rd November, UK Young Ambassadors Sylvia, William and I headed to Bern to attend the Swiss National Youth Session to be held on 3-8th of November. The session itself was a special one, marked by the 30th anniversary since the first Youth Session took place back in 1991. Focused on the issue of sustainability, the 2021 Youth Session was lively with debate, as delegates from Switzerland and all over Europe – from Romania to Malta, to Austria and the UK – came together in the spirit of European unity, and discussed how to chart a more youth-led and sustainable future.
Now for a breakdown of what happened:
Day 1: After a long day of travel, I made it to Bern and met with Sylvia and William for the first time in-person. After getting better acquainted, we proceeded to meet some of the other delegates who would be in our working group (Global Supply Chains).
Day 2: The next morning, we hit the ground running and made our way (by tram!) to the UN Postal Union building where we would be working on our group projects. There we spent most of the day brainstorming on ideas for our policy visions. As part of the activities, we also managed to hear from two industry experts (one NGO, one corporate) on the issues surrounding global supply chains. After a delicious dinner, I made my way to the evening workshop hosted by Amnesty International, on tackling discrimination. All in all, this was a great day and the perfect start to my first trip as a UK Young Ambassador!
Day 3: Following on from the previous day, the working group continued to plan its policy vision. We were also visited by two Swiss MPs from the Green Party, who provided valuable insights into how we could articulate our policy aims into a strong vision. After hours of working on the language, we finally submitted our working group’s vision. The rest of the day was spent touring Bern city centre, and socialising with the other delegates.
Day 4: Spent the morning crafting amendments to the other working groups’ motions. After lunch, the delegates headed to the Federal Palace (the site of the Swiss Parliament), for the opening plenary. After hearing the Swiss President give a powerful speech to kick-off the formal sitting, we then made our way to the Politics Festival at the old town hall. After enjoying a fine meal, the UK Young Ambassador team made its way around the festival, touring all the stands and hearing from everyone.
Day 5: Returned to the Parliament where we spent the whole day voting on motions and their amendments. Gave my third interview of the trip, addressed the Parliament on my amendment, and heard yet another powerful speech from the Swiss Speaker. To celebrate the end of the Youth Session, the international delegates went out for fondue!
Day 6: After 5 amazing days in Bern, the UK Young Ambassador team headed back to the UK.
Looking back on the trip, there are so many reasons to be proud of the work we did. From crafting a motion that was overwhelmingly passed, to forging valuable and lifelong connections with the many delegates, Bern proved to be a great success! To many more!