The MEU Symposium, which took place between the 20th-23rd September 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic provided the unique opportunity to bring together the members of different BETA branches, partner organizations and all those individuals who were interested in learning more about how to organise educational programmes in a way that empowers and motivates people to cooperate together.
Through presentations and workshops held by experts, the participants had the chance to discuss different aspects of organising #ModelEU simulations and other educational events while being trained on how to achieve. Further discussions included future prospects and ideas on how to improve the #MEUniverse. Besides sharing their knowledge, the participants also had the chance to network with other European organisations, enabling to inspire each other and gather ideas on how to develop further.
The Symposium event was special in its sense of inclusiveness. Besides not setting a registration fee, the costs of accommodation, venue and meals were all covered by BETA Europe, thus making it possible for many more people to attend the event.
The 3-day long event started with a warm welcome and introduction to the structure of BETA. The presentation about different aspects of communication such as mailing lists, closed groups and wikis was followed by a detailed explanation of the functioning of liaising with the EP and Erasmus +. Furthermore, there was a greater focus on the presentation of sexual harassment too. The introductory day was closed with group photos and a wine social event in the evening, where the participants had the chance to get to know each other in an informal setting.
The second day consisted on presentations focused both on BETA branches management and MEU simulations organisation. On BETA branches management, the day started with a discussion on GDPR and other Legal Obligations, presented by Vincent Mica (BETA Europe DPO), followed by a presentation on how to start a BETA branch, led by Vasiliki Sogia (BETA Greece) and Cláudia Silva (BETA Portugal); also, Robert Riemann (BETA Europe Head of IT) held a workshop on Online content and web articles.
Regarding presentations focused on MEU organisation: Tomas Novák (BETA Czech Republic) presented the case study of MEU Strasbourg Organising Team 2017; Nick Madzarov (BETA CZ) conducted a presentation on Chairing simulations; Cláudio Teixeira (BETA Europe President) gave a presentation on Content. At the end, the biggest crowd was drawn by the workshop on Participants Coordination given by Cláudio Teixeira (MEU Strasbourg 2017 PC) and Miguel Guedes (MEU Lisbon 2018 PC).
A special focus was also given to other projects organised by our branches, especially the outreach experiences with High Schools led by BETA Bulgaria and BETA Italia. Two workshops were held on the experience of BETA in Schools: first, BETA Bulgaria had Imilian Genadiev, Alek Kosev and Nadia Traykova presenting their experience, consisting of smaller MEU simulations, adapted to high school students, held in Varna. Next, time for BETA Italia, with Marco Vento and Elisa Gazzo presenting their project “BETA in School”. The official programme ended with a traditional Czech dinner.
The final day of the Symposium was dedicated to the BETA Europe General Assembly, where all member organisation representatives met to elect the new Management Board for the business year 2018/2019. The outgoing President, Mr Cláudio Teixeira, issued a message to all attendees, congratulating all on a successful year of work, that finally delivered on a decade-long promise to refound BETA as a Federal association, establishing a new European Youth NGO, based in Brussels, Belgium, to become a common home to all our national branches and MEU conferences. Having finally achieved this goal, Mr Teixeira announced his intention not to run for reelection and expressed his full support for his Team members which will continue the job to build a new common future for BETA. Following this announcement, Nick Madzarov, current Treasurer, presented his candidacy for President, together with some of the team members that were widely recognised throughout the year for their tireless work: Mr Stefan Zivkovic and Ms Suzana Pecin (Vice Presidents), Ms Kristin Aldag (Secretary General) and Ms Lina Kalouti (Treasurer). The candidates were elected by qualified majority as the new Management Board 2018/2019.
Vincent Mica, BETA Data Protection Officer from the BETA Legal Affairs Team who also participated at the event shared his experience: „The Symposium was an excellent opportunity to learn from people with real experience and to share your knowledge. But above all, it was a great opportunity to meet likeminded people and develop friendships. The Symposium offers many real-world benefits. Professionally, learning about MEU design, combating sexual harassment, or even GDPR technicalities. But also, one developed long-lasting personal connections.”
Vincent was also asked what he learned from the event as a BETA Officer: „I learned how our BETA website works, the impact of direct outreach and how to design similar programmes, GDPR requirements and how to combat sexual harassment more effectively.”
Another participant had the following experience: „The various lectures covered a wide spectrum of topics, allowing to learn from the experience of proficient and inspirational MEU-organisers. All the different perspectives regarding the organisation around a BETA branch or a conference, from the ubiquitous GDPR regulations to the specificity of the Erasmus+ programme, provide another useful pair of eyes in this complex matter.”
When asked about the importance of such events she said: „It is of primordial importance to share the experience that different BETA branches have gained, because that is the best way of their ideas becoming an inspiration for others. Furthermore, the Symposium is a great place for discussion and lectures, gathering members from all around Europe and beyond, presenting a unique opportunity to have your voice heard.”
Events like a Symposium have crucial importance in terms of making people aware of the possibilities and functioning of educational events like Model EU. Bringing like-minded people together and connecting them to different organizations raises wide cooperation within Europe and contributes towards developing a sense of shared identity and belonging. Such events contribute to the shaping of the future of Europe too. For this reason, it is crucial to support the organisation of similar events as Symposium and Model EU simulations. Besides transferring knowledge and expertise in an interactive way, participants benefit from accessing a platform, where they have the chance to network with people not only from Europe but even from other parts of the world too.
The more detailed programme of MEU Symposium can be found under the following link!
Not present? No problem! Some of our workshops were recorded and are available in our Youtube channel!