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International Youth Day 2018: Let’s create safe spaces

By Desireé van Langen

Today, on the 12th of August 2018, we celebrate International Youth Day. This year’s edition focuses on the importance of safe spaces. A safe space means an environment in which young people can be themselves. This includes for example feeling welcome to contribute to their community without feeling part of a minority or experiencing harassment or becoming a victim of hate speech. Discrimination and prejudice based on gender, cultural background, sexual orientation, disabilities and so on should not be accepted and we, young people, need to fight this.

Young people need a safe space in order to develop themselves on a personal and professional level. We need to be thankful for diversity within our communities, cities, countries, Europe and the rest of the world. Promoting inclusion can be done by everyone; talk to new people and get to know them, invite them to participate and give them support. Safe spaces can be civic, digital and public spaces; and all of them matter.

Within a safe space, young people can learn new things, participate actively in the society, take initiative and inspire other people. We need to make sure that every young person can develop themselves to their full potential in an inclusive, sustainable and inspiring environment. By doing this we can ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of thousands of young people!

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AEGEE-Europe is working on and promoting Equal Rights, Civic Education, European Citizenship and Youth Development. By doing this we want to inspire young people to take an active role in society and to strive for a borderless Europe based on the values of diversity and inclusion. We aim at achieving this through several projects such as DIVE, GENDERS and Everyone Matters.

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