Andrea Tittelová : Today, Europe seriously needs to consider federalisation and deeper integration

Andrea Tittelová proves that even a young person from a small country – such as Slovakia, can, through ambition, activity and ideas contribute to the creation of a high-quality society. Andrea  gave us details about her internship in Washington, D.C. and shed some light on the functioning of the educational organisation Youth-Politics-Education (YPE) – a platform dealing with political education, which currently prepares and introduces ethically oriented youths into the life of politics and public affairs.

From the responses you could get an insight into a young, active individual´s opinions on the EU and what a young, active student who has founded and is currently developing an organisation which introduces people into the public affairs and politics might gain. The interview also offers an approximation of YPE´s position and ambition in Slovakia, what its program Education in Politics brings and also, in what way are youths able to form politics and public affairs in Slovakia

Could you give us an alltogether description of what the Platform of education in politics – YPE is; its activity and  goals?

Youth-Politics-Education is an educational organisation which instructs young people in politics and public affairs. YPE began last year after my return from the European Parliament to Slovakia. The idea of YPE is to educate and prepare ethically based people for a career in politics and public affairs in Slovakia. YPE works in cooperation with Manageria – an organisation which supports and realises long-time activities with the potential to significantly contribute to the development of young, polite and competent people.

We arose in February, 2012. During our first year we had been developing pilot activities within the program called Education in politics, realising the first lectures and we began cooperating with the first institutions for our interns. We officially started the complete program in April, 2013. In the meantime we are also working on a range of friends of YPE – a community of people who are willing to support the program and its activities. The chief ambassadors of YPE are Stanislav Boledovič – founder and chairman of the Administrative board of Manageria, Pavol Demeš – a foreign policy analyst, civil activist and Senior Transatlantic Fellow in the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., and Peter Virsik – Managing Director in Adidas Group CEE. The program also gains significant support from many others, such as coach and psychologist Ľubica Šebestová who had been present during the establishment of YPE; or the sponsors of some moduls in the variety of programs, such as Patrik Zoltvány of FIPRA.

What are the most imporant activities of YPE today – after the initial year of your functioning ?

Today YPE creates 3 main products. Firstly – and most importantly – the Educational Program in Politics, which lasts a year and conists of a cycle of education in political topics such as ethical lobbism, how the legislative process functions, how political parties work, think-tanks in Slovakia, or a perspective on the creation of public policy in practice. The program consists of numerous columns. Up to this moment we have cooperated with experts from the particular areas, i.e. the president of the Institute for Public Affairs, Grigorij Mesežnikov, Andrej Králik from the Representative office of the European Commission in Slovakia, representants of lobby groups and other institutions.

The next program is the YPE´s Internship Program in Slovakia. It excells because it is conceived so that the participant spends 40% of his time in pursuit of practical experience in the field and the remaining 60% consist of theory and research. All interns also participate in the Educational Program in Politics. Up to this day we´ve had 5 interns. The organisations that have offered us internship collaborations are the Representative office of the European Commission, Bureau of Vice-Mayor of Bratislava, Bureau of the Government´s  Authorised Representative for dealing with the Roma minority or the Government´s Authorised Representative for a well-governed society. The program of YPE is currently in development and an important milestone is its shift towards Switzerland, where young people will have an opportunity to do internships in areas in local public policy. We are preparing this cooperation and it will begin this autumn. The idea emerged in February and after successful meetings at the Ambassy of Switzerland it moved forward. It is a fantastic feeling when you manage to work on new internship programs and you create such a unique collaboration for a further development in Slovakia. Even the Ambassador of Slovakia in the U.S. showed support and an interest in better networking.

The most immediate event people can join is the School of politics and business. The school is based on a program which will include a direct view into the public management system, business connections and politics in practice.

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It´s going to be a series of interviews, workshops, lectures and education in politics as such. A special part of the whole project are mainly activities which will connect the areas within public administration and disctricts with the representants of local the business and lobby sphere. Our goal is to create a space for young people for comprehending laws, lobbying, business but also understanding how they themselves can influence public policy – both directly and indirectly. The school of politics and diplomacy is being put together directly in collaboration with experts from the practical area. We want to support people who want to engage in public administration, but also those, who are interested in understanding politics, preparing for a political career or influencing politics. We are preliminarily setting the school up for October 2013, but it is already possible to sign up.

We are beginning our new year of the program nad preparing a variety of discussionsi n October. If any of you wants to experience a similar thrill, do not hesitate to contact us via social networks of YPE, via e-mail at info@ype.sk or personally. We´ll be more than glad to invite anyone who cares about politics or public administration in Slovakia to join the preparation of the school or the enrolment program. Also, people who would want to write articles or create our website are welcome!

I do not organise YPE on my own, therefore I would like to thank the team of YPE. The team currently works thanks to these reliable people : Ľubica Ragulová – responsible for the education program, Tamara Augustínyová is in charge of preparation for the summer school and web, or Ján Sališ – the one responsible for YPE´s internship program.

Miroslav Hajnoš

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