An interview from the President of BEST for the BLUE-GREENWAY Project.
Tell us a few words about BEST Board of European Students of Technology
BEST AISBL, Board of European Students of Technology, is a constantly growing, apolitical, non-profit, non-representative and voluntary international association of European students of technology. BEST strives to help European students of technology to become more internationally minded, by reaching a better understanding of European cultures and developing capacities to work on an international basis. Since 1989, BEST provides communication, cooperation and exchange possibilities for students all over Europe. Aiming to empower diversity by developing students, BEST has 3 main pillars of activities: Complementary Education, Educational Involvement and Career Support.
What is your opinion about the connection of the EU with Youth. Which are your expectations from the EU?
The Youth has an important role towards the future and the initiation of the actions that will take place. If the Youth is included in the process and understands the importance of being a leader in the key initiations, then there is a higher probability of having a direction towards a better future. Therefore, the EU should be connected with the Youth and having strategies like with the EU Youth Goals is important.
This month is the EU Youth Month. Which of the 11 voted EU Youth Goals do you consider as your priority of your Institution?
All of the 11 voted EU Youth Goals are really great and BEST has its contribution to almost every one of them. For example, every student no matter the background, the country or the town (since there are 88 Local Groups in 31 Countries) has an equal chance of participation in every decision-making and opportunity that BEST offers (whether it would be to elevate within the organisation or quality career opportunities through our partners). Additionally, with the creation and establishment of the Code of Conduct, we aim to offer the BEST experience to every student that participates on our activities.
Long Term Strategic Plan and connection with Climate
Once every three years, BEST is creating a Long Term Strategic Plan in order to ensure the development of main objectives/themes. One of the main Focus Areas is connected with SDG 13 “Climate Action”. It is an indisputable fact that the climate change impacts are significant and changes should be done. BEST, as a STEM students organisation, can foster discussions, raise awareness among students of technology and provide them with opportunities to learn about climate change. Through our partnerships, activities and internal practices we are contributing to this area.
9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference
During October, BEST participated in the 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference -a conference where member States within the UNECE region, organizations of the United Nations system represented in the region, other intergovernmental organizations, regional environmental centres, non-governmental organizations etc meet to discuss, decide and join efforts in addressing environmental priorities across the 56 countries of the UNECE region, and is a regional pillar of sustainable development. As a student organisation, we participated in two panel discussions where we discussed regarding youth participation in national, regional and international processes in the region, and also regarding Higher Education towards Sustainable Development, where we promoted the importance of including the Youth in the process.
Educational Involvement in addition to the Environment
As mentioned before, one of our main core activities “educational involvement” is dedicated to STEM education. Moreover, we aim to increase the awareness of students on issues related to engineering education and improving engineering education through the input of those students. On this area, we have the Educational Involvement Programme which main concept is to have a general broad topic (Research Topic) that is tackled in a survey and developed in BEST Symposia on Education (events where the academia, educational expert and student meets in order to discuss about relevant educational topics). Afterwards, the combined results from the survey and the BEST Symposia on Education are disseminated to the relevant stakeholders (through scientific papers, position papers and other means). The topic for the next two years will be Education for Sustainable Development.