The European Commission announced today the 25 members of the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) Youth Network. The OCT Youth Network aims to increase the ties between young people living in OCTs and the European Union and enhance the knowledge and involvement of young people in the EU-OCT partnership.
“The launch of the EU’s Overseas Countries and Territories Youth Network shows again our commitment to putting young people at the centre of our international partnerships which will be at the heart of our upcoming first-ever Youth Action Plan. This new network will bring on board a diverse group of voices aiming specifically at strengthening the ties between youth living in the OCTs and the EU, as well as enhancing their knowledge and involvement in the EU-OCT Partnership”, says EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen.
The OCT Youth Network’s objectives are to connect young people from the 13 OCTs to each other and with the EU institutions and decision makers; project an OCT youth perspective to inform the EU-OCT partnership in a spirit of co-creation; deepen understanding about the EU in the OCTs and create links with other youth initiatives at regional and country level, including the EU and Member States.
During their one-year mandate, the members of the OCT Youth Network will take part in a week-long study visit to Brussels to learn more about how the EU Institutions function, enrol in four webinars to deepen knowledge and competences about EU International Partnerships and attend various dialogue sessions with high-level EU political leaders.
The network is composed by eighteen women, six men and one non-binary person aged between 20 and 28 years old. They come from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, French Polynesia, Greenland, New Caledonia, Saba, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Sint Maarten, and Wallis and Futuna. They are:
- Sherwin Wester, 27, Aruba
- Shantal Martis, 24, Aruba
- Tracy van der Biezen, 25, Aruba
- Leonardo Figaroa, 21, Aruba
- Terrence Jansen, 27, Bonaire
- Michélin Padmore, 28, Bonaire
- Savannah Schuurbiers, 23, Curaçao
- Chelsy Gomez Hernandez, 26, Curaçao
- Dayna-Marie Abdoelrahman, 25, Curaçao
- Richantely Anita, 23, Curaçao
- Kahalanie Haapa, 24, French Polynesia
- Naja Theresia Høegh, 22, Greenland
- Niini Malu Hansen, 28, Greenland
- Ihno Wathiepel, 27, New Caledonia
- Ilona Mayerau-Lonné, 20, New Caledonia
- Maïwenn Moreau, 21, New Caledonia
- Shirlie Tom, 22, New Caledonia
- Veronica Zaegers, 24, Saba
- Emma Poirier, 24, Saint Pierre et Miquelon
- Yasmine Essed, 22, Sint Maarten
- Rodman James, 25, Sint Maarten
- Keïsha Rousseau, 21, Sint Maarten
- Victoria Talalua, 25, Wallis and Futuna
- Annaëlle Falemaa, 23, Wallis and Futuna
- Nefa Lemo, 22, Wallis and Futuna
Over the past few years, engaging with youth has become one of the top priorities of the European Commission. It is a way to pro-actively seek the support of youth and partner with them to foster sustainable development and to acknowledge and enhance the key contributions of youth in pursuing positive social changes worldwide.
On 14 July 2021, the European Commission launched a Youth Sounding Board for International Partnerships composed by a group of 25 young people from all around the world. Playing an advisory role to both Commissioner Urpilainen and the Directorate-General for International Partnerships, the Board helps making EU action more relevant and effective for young people in EU partner countries, across all political priorities. The Youth Sounding Board is a key initiative to ensure that the EU’s external action is designed in a participatory way.
As part of its commitment to put youth front and centre its international partnerships' policy, the European Commission will launch the first-ever Youth Action Plan for EU’s external action in the last quarter of the year.
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