In the fourth of our series on the young ambassadors who will be taking part in EUROCITIES 2018 Edinburgh we hear from Diego San Miguel Munoz from Valladolid, Jaqueline Jahn from Chemnitz and Collin Wagenmakers from Eindhoven about the conversations they want to have, the problems they want to see solved and their different visions for Europe's future.
Tell us about yourself
Diego: I like to say I’m an international student: I'm from Spain but I’ve studied in the US, Japan and I’m currently studying International Relations in Italy. If I had to talk about something that I definitely love I'd say it's meeting new people and getting to know them and learn about their cultures.
Jaqueline: Hi, I work for the culture department in Chemnitz in Germany and am chairwoman of the work council for youth and trainees for the city administration. In my free time I work for the the ver.di trade union.
Collin: I'm 23 years old and a data science student living in Eindhoven. In my free time I am very passionate about dancing, especially salsa and ballroom. Additionally, since last year, I have been a freelance video reporter for local news platforms.
Why did you want to be a young ambassador for your city?
D: I think this kind of activity really fits me. First, because I'm studying something related to political science, second because I love anything international and third because it's similar to what I want to do in the future. I wanted to become my city's representative to help with whatever I can and to learn from the people who shape the world. Until now all I've learned about 'changing the world' has come from books. It’s time for some action!
J: I´m interested in participating as a young ambassador because I want to learn about the situation and the work of political groups and committees in other European cities. I´m happy about the opportunity to meet young Europeans, to network and to find new partners. It is always exciting to meet new people and hear their views. This gathering offers the opportunity to do that beyond national borders, which fascinates me very much.
C: While living in Eindhoven, I have always been an active participant within my community. Connecting with people is one of my biggest passions and so I am thrilled to be able to fill the role of young ambassador for Eindhoven. I intend to record some parts of the conference with my video camera so I can share the ideas and visions of other cultures back home.
What message would you send to the president of EUROCITIES and mayor of Ghent, Daniel Termont?
D: Dear Daniel Termont, it's not usual for young people to have a voice and decide about the future and I'd like to thank you and EUROCITIES for giving us the chance to participate and add to the conversations. You won't regret it and I hope you'll even be surprised by what we are able to do, by our new and creative ideas and the passion we put into trying to make this world a better place.
J: Dear Mr. Termont, thank you very much for the invitation to come to Edinburgh. I´m really thankful for the chance to connect with other young ambassadors. I would be glad if EUROCITIES could create a way for young people to stay involved so the topics discussed in November will not be forgotten and the relationships will remain.
C: Dear Daniel, as you are a role model for citizens in all of Europe I would like to challenge you. I challenge you to live according to your own norms and values and inspire citizens to follow your lead. Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to shaking your hand!
What one thing do you really like about your city?
D: My city may not be the best, but there's something I love about it that I haven't experienced anywhere else. My city is big enough to have absolutely everything that you want in a really big city but small enough that you can walk everywhere. This special combination allows its citizens to have a very active and enjoyable social life. Added to that, it's Spain, so everyone is nice fun and friendly!
J: I really like the Tietz which encompasses many institutions, including a community college, library, museum of natural science, music school, a room for culture management, a petrified forest and some shops. It´s a very open, tolerant and cosmopolitan place and the building has its own charm and invites you to linger.
C: We have many great events in Eindhoven, but my favourite is without doubt Dutch Design Week. During this international event people from all over the world come together to showcase exquisite design, state-of-the-art technologies and innovative businesses. A recommendation for anyone planning to go to Eindhoven!
What three items would you take to a desert island?
D: First of all, I would take a big house full of food, water, electricity, internet, a swimming pool maybe… That would be nice. Also, a plane full of people, because otherwise it would be a bit lonely. And I’d take an airport too… why not. Where would the plane land if there’s no airport…
P.S: If anyone wants to join my cool island you’re all invited!
J: My best friend (I know, it´s not an item!) A new lighter. And a blanket, because I´m always cold.
C: A fishing rod so I can feed myself, a Leatherman multi-tool so I can take care of myself and my Ray-Ban Aviators so I can look awesome while doing it.
What three things would you do if you were mayor of your city for a day?
D: I would take action to solve the problems related to population ageing. Foster the circular economy. And promote the creation of a 'defender of future generations'.
J: I would focus on the wellbeing of citizens - it's important that they are healthy and feel secure and at home. I would also invest in infrastructure, not only mobility infrastructure but also digital infrastructure. This is important for young people nowadays.
C: My top priority would be to make people from every culture feel understood by listening. Second, a mayor needs to be decisive and once a decision has been made you need to continue listening for feedback. It’s OK to make mistakes, but it’s not OK to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. And lastly a mayor should lead by example - by doing that you can inspire others to do the same.
How would you complete this sentence: ‘My Europe in 2030 will…'?
D: ...have improved a lot and will continue getting better and better over time. By then, it will have successfully solved many of the problems we're facing today like the migration and refugee crisis, the ageing population, the spread of populism - and all separatism tensions. It will have improved its economy, fostered a more digital Europe and still be a peaceful, cohesive, balanced and ultimately exciting place to live.
J: ...be more equal and respect individual rights and every person will be supported in their special needs. I hope it will be more peaceful.
C: ...be a community that transcends national borders and has community leaders who inspire citizens to be the best versions of themselves.