Natolin students at the 4th ASEF Young Leaders Summit

The College of Europe in Natolin is glad to announce that the 4th ASEF Young Leaders Summit (ASEFYLS4) has officially started.

ASEFYLS is an annual platform that brings together on the one hand young professionals and student from Europe and Asia, interested in international affairs, and on the other hand, political leaders, intellectuals, business, and civil society representatives. This allows the young leaders to raise their voices, concerns, and hopes, and to discuss it with the senior leaders.

The College of Europe in Natolin is supporting the Young Leaders Summit this year by providing content as well as overseeing its delivery to the 200 participants from 52 member states of ASEF (30 European countries, 22 Asian countries), so when they take part in the different parts of the programme they are efficiently engaged. This year the focus is on the following SDGs:

  • SDG 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing)
  • SDG 4 (Quality Education)
  • SDG 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth)
  • SDG 13 (Climate Action)

We are proud to announce that four Natolin students have been selected and are currently involved in the ASEFYLS4:

  • Mr Eliott BOUMRAR,
  • Ms Martina CHIARALUCE,
  • Mr Pavlo STERGARD,

The first session took place on Tuesday, 23 February 2021 and was aimed at getting participants to know each other as well as briefing them on ASEF's upcoming projects.

We took the liberty to ask our students some questions related to their motivation and interest in participating in this ambitious programme.

Why did you choose to apply to the 4th ASEF Young Leaders Summit?

Nicolas VANDE KERCKHOVE - My studies at the College of Europe in Natolin offer me the possibility to participate in several conferences, simulation games, nests and workshops about good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean energy, decent work and economic growth, reducing inequalities, responsible consumption and production, climate action and particularly about peace, justice (rule of law) and strong institutions.

Martina CHIARALUCE - I am very interested in EU-Asia relations, and even though I am now specializing in European Affairs at the College of Europe, I was looking for alternative ways to cultivate this interest of mine. Thus, when I saw the open call, I did not think twice about applying. The fact that it is coordinated jointly by the College of Europe also reassured me, since I was already familiar with this reality, and sure that it would have given me an excellent opportunity. Finally, the idea of contributing concretely to sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs was very appealing to me. This is a great chance to put into practice in the real world part of the knowledge I have acquired during university studies.

Could you tell us more about your interest in EU-Asia relations? Is this an area of expertise you want to deepen via the ASEF programme?

Eliott BOUMRAR - Asia and Europe are closer than they think. These major regions share a common history, deep roots, and these ties will only grow larger and larger. Yet, leaders should anticipate most needed areas of relationships and intensify political, cultural, and business links. From my experience in business and government, the two regions share common goals and there is no definitive barrier. It is this potential that I want to turn into a concrete daily reality to achieve common prosperity, international security, and actively tackle challenges.

Pavlo STERGARD - I had the great chance to do an internship within the Cambodia Embassy in France. Working with all the ASEAN Embassies gave me an interest for EU-Asia relations. I worked on several issues including promoting multilateralism between EU and ASEAN countries.

Can you share a message that you would like to send to your colleagues at ASEFYLS4?

Martina CHIARALUCE - I already had the chance to meet some of them, and my team for Project 12: I literally cannot wait to work with them. What is extremely fascinating is the fact that we all come from different countries from all over the world, and we have different backgrounds (it reminds me of Natolin from this standpoint!). There are people who have more expertise in certain topics in comparison to the other participants, but the spirit is of sharing and collaboration, and I love this. We have 10 challenging and inspiring months ahead of us. I am also extremely grateful to have the chance to share this experience with other colleagues and friends of the College of Europe: even after the end of our studies in Warsaw, this project will continue bringing us together.

Nicolas VANDE KERCKHOVE - Participating in these projects allows us to improve the daily lives of future generations on our respective continents. So let's seize this opportunity, share our knowledge and get to work! The future is in our hands.