Today you have a chance to get to know Luca Arfini, an ambitious Italian guy who is embarking on a new journey. His project is called Young Leaders Voices and it aims to talk about today’s global challenges on key topics for young people. The purpose is to consider the two sides of the story, interviewing people with diverging perspectives in order to build a constructive debate.
YEE supports young people’s projects right from the beginning and with today’s interview, we want to bring you an example of what it means to start a new project for the very first time. Find out about the worries and the excitement together with loads of expectations and questions for the future. Ready?
Who is Luca Arfini? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a young communications professional from Italy with a strong passion for the EU project and its values. This passion comes mainly from my nine-month Erasmus program at Trinity College Dublin, which I did during my bachelor. Studying in Dublin in a truly international environment helped me to really feel like a European citizen and to understand the great importance of the free movements of people within the EU.
I have seen how much you can gain from challenging yourself in a discussion among people of different countries and cultures, learning to see with a more critical view the mentality of your home country. To cultivate even further my interest for EU history and politics, I moved first to Denmark to study a master’s degree in European Studies and then to Brussels to kick off my career in the EU bubble, working for causes close to my passions such as freedom of expression, sustainability, promotion of inclusiveness and diversity in sport and the wellbeing of people living with HIV.
How did you come up with the idea of Young Leaders Voices? And how does it work?
After receiving a lot of critics for the decision to interview Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as one of the youngest world’s leaders, because of his former coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), I started to reflect on the fact that we tend to listen mostly to the voices of leaders that share ideas in line with ours. However, as I personally very much believe in the right to freedom of opinion and expression, I think it is key to listen also to those who share opinions that are opposite to ours. This is how you build a constructive debate and how you can have a 360° view on a specific topic. I have thus decided to develop “Young Leaders Voices”, a project aiming to publish a series of interviews on key topics for young people, giving always two sides of the same story and trying to understand the complexity of today’s challenges from a great variety of perspectives. The first series of video interviews is called “Youth and Covid Talks” and it aims to share various ideas on how the current pandemic is affecting young people and how European and world’s leaders are protecting younger generations from its side effects.
In your opinion, which role does youth play in raising awareness about today’s global challenges?
Nowadays, young people are often unheard and underrepresented in the national and international arena. Nevertheless, they are those who fight the most to change what is going in the wrong direction to save the future of our planet. In the end, our generation is the one that will have to face the outcome of the mistakes that have been done in the past. As such, I feel that our voices should be at the center of the political debate, we are the present and the future and we want to live in a world that is suitable for our generation and the next ones.
Which advice would you give to young people like you who want to be more involved in youth leadership?
I think the best advice would be not to be afraid to fight for what you believe in and if you have a good idea on how to influence the political world, go for it! From my personal experience, I have seen that usually if you present well your project, you can find a lot of people willing to support you in its development and outreach, all you have to do is starting to shape your idea and then asking for help if needed!
Which are 3 goals you wish to accomplish in the next year with the implementation of Youth Leader Voices?
The first and main goal that I hope to achieve is trying to create constructive debates on key topics to our generation, always showing different angles of the same story. Secondly, I would like to reach as many interested people in these topics as possible, as the project could work out well only if the discussion has a good outreach. Finally, another important aim is being sure that myself and all the people involved in the project could learn something new and useful from this, becoming more aware of the challenges of our generation and on how to face them.
What are your expectations for the upcoming months? How do you think it will be to develop your project?
Well, I have just started my project. So, for now, I would like to test how the first series of video interviews go and analyze its outcome. After that, I hope to be able to involve not only young politicians but different kind of young leaders on crucial issues such as climate change, digitalization, healthcare and unemployment. Furthermore, it would be good if I could find other young people interested in supporting me in the development of the project, as well as other organizations to partner with.
Was it difficult for you as a young person to start your own project by yourself? Do you think that young people currently have enough opportunities and support to start their own initiatives?
I think the difficult part is not having a good idea, but more understanding of how to bring that idea to life. In my opinion, you have to really dig into the net to find good information on how to start your own project as a newcomer and it is quite hard to filter what is relevant from what isn’t. I feel it would be great to have a platform collecting all this information for you, giving you suggestion on how to begin your project, where to ask for help, where to find funding opportunities and to face the challenges you will encounter in the development of your idea.
Thanks a lot to Luca for sharing his feelings with us about starting a new project from scratch! Good luck with your interviews, we cannot wait to read more about Young Leaders Voices and its successful story. If anyone wants to get involved, you can reach out to Luca on social media or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don´t forget to check out Young Leaders Voices social media
YEE aims to unite environmental youth non-profit organisations in Europe in order to enhance international cooperation, increase knowledge about nature, raise awareness of environmental problems and to strengthen participation of youth in environmental decision-making.