The Bureau International Jeunesse (BIJ) is showcasing close to 200 initiatives by over 3,000 young people aged 13 to 35 years at its virtual salon, Horizons, to be held from 20 to 22 April.
The salon, which will be free, can be accessed by registering via the salon-horizons.eventbrite.be link.,according to the BIJ, which is a service jointly managed by the Federation of Brussels-Wallonia (FWB) and its international policy agency, Wallonie-Bruxelles Internationale.
The virtual platform will include many discussion and meeting rooms that young people and other participants can visit after creating their avatars.
Programming will focus on themes such as “Volunteering and Languages,” “Professional Internships,” “Youth Encounters,” “European Programmes,” “Mobility Programmes,” and “Youth Work.” Over 240 activities will be proposed, including the exchange of testimonies and thematic debates.
About 50 public entities and associations will be on hand to interact with the youths, among them the Brussels region’s employment agency, actiris.brussel, the Dynamo youth service, Wallonia’s Forem employment service, and the Infor Jeunes federation, which focuses, inter alia, on information and communication in the service of the youth.
Participants will also be able to discover programmes enabling them to transform their civic commitment into action, whether in Belgium or abroad, receive support in their business ventures or upgrade their skills.
“The youths have mounted many grassroots and solidarity projects,” Bureau International Jeunesse Director Laurence Hermand stressed. “This salon will be the opportunity to show them to the public and inspire other young people.”
FWB Youth Minister Valérie Glatigny highlighted the fact that “despite the pandemic and a very difficult year 2000, the Bureau International Jeunesse has once again enabled thousands of French-speaking youths to have an unforgettable experience.”
She noted that these possibilities are being offered not only within Belgium, but also abroad, through the Erasmus programme and the European Solidarity Corps, for example.
“It has also enabled them to carry out many solidarity actions in the service of society as a whole (…), which is proof, if any is needed, that the youth are undeniably part of the solution to this crisis,” she said.
According to Liège University sociology professor Jean-François Guillaume, who has done a qualitative study on youth workers, some of whose associations are under threat, “the matrix of the intervention methodology is relatively complicated due to the uncertainty and unpredictablity into which these workers have been plunged.”
“There is also a need to move beyond the virtual because there has been a sort of saturation among the youth,” he explained. “Some young people have moved away from the services… We first lost the youths who had long-distance relationships with the youth services.”
One of the keys to helping young people overcome the pandemic is to enable them to feel useful by being involved in concrete actions, he said.
The Brussels Times