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PARIS – In early June, a Kazakh delegation facilitated a panel discussion on the European Union (EU)-Kazakh Global Youth Leadership: How To Bring Borders Closer as part of the European Youth Event (EYE2023) in Strasbourg.
This experience made me reflect on my own journey and see the potential for collaboration between Kazakhstan and the EU in education, cultural exchange, research, and digital connectivity.
My academic journey has taken me to six European universities, where I have been an Erasmus+ student and a recipient of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship. These experiences have shaped my academic and professional growth, leading me to an internship at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris. It helped me to gain insights into European practices and develop a passion for the exchange of knowledge and cultural understanding.
Building bridges and restoring cultural identity
During the panel discussion, I shared my journey of restoring my cultural identity as a young Kazakh woman in Europe. Building bridges between parallel cultures is important because cultural exchange can be transformative. We can bridge gaps and foster greater understanding by embracing our unique identities and sharing our vision.
Enhancing youth cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan is vital. As the driving force of change, youth collaboration is essential for creating a stronger and more prosperous future for both regions. Kazakhstan’s strategic location makes it a perfect getaway to connect with other Central Asian countries and expand youth networks. Recognizing Kazakhstan as a key player in regional cooperation and stability is vital, as we share common goals of regional stability, economic development, and promoting democratic values.
As a means for educational, cultural, and research exchanges between Kazakhstan and the EU, scholarships, academic partnerships, and joint research projects provide avenues for knowledge sharing and academic mobility, strengthening long-term cooperation. Creating virtual communities can also transcend geographical barriers, allowing young individuals from both regions to engage in dialogue, collaborate on projects, and nurture meaningful relationships.
Exploring Strasbourg: A Journey of Inspiration and Civic Activism
During our mission to Strasbourg, we had the opportunity to visit notable institutions such as the Council of Europe, the General Consulate of Kazakhstan in Strasbourg, and the European Youth Centre Strasbourg. Engaging with councilors and exchanging ideas on youth civic activism and cooperation further reinforced the importance of empowering young individuals to drive positive change.
This experience at EYE2023 highlighted the immense potential for collaboration between Kazakhstan and the EU. We can bridge borders and cultivate lasting partnerships by harnessing the creativity, cultural diversity, and shared aspirations of Kazakh and EU youth. Let us stay connected, inspired, and empowered as Eurasian youth, working together to build a brighter future for both regions.
The author is Ayaulym Sarybayeva, a 23-year-old scholarship holder of the Erasmus Mundus International Joint Master’s program in South European Studies. She is currently undertaking an internship at UNESCO in Paris. Sarybayeva is a Mentee of the UNESCO x Women@Dior program and a social media influencer.