By the time this blog is up on the Academy website, most of us will already be at home (well, hopefully, if the team stuck at the airport eventually takes off), unpacking backpacks, suitcases, and experiences, reflecting, wondering, envisioning, and slowly returning to the real world. Our windows to the future are clean, we are equipped with a new pair of glasses, and it is our task now to continue using them and keeping the future-oriented mindset wherever we go. 


The morning started with the last set of parallel forums, for just another glimpse of inspiration and spark before we wrap up and evaluate this edition of the European Academy of Youth Work. 


For the first insight, our youth work students (as someone said: if the Academy is the future of youth work, the students are the future of the future of youth work) presented the key findings from their special assignment. We were reminded of our role to create relations and connections, listen and understand meaningfully the voices of young people. The students highlighted the importance of an eclectic approach, interdisciplinary knowledge, a critical thinking focus; the need to move forward on the path of recognition and professionalisation, with understanding of the importance of self-care in youth work and a lifelong learning approach to keep up with the changes in the lives and needs of young people. 


Maybe the most important preblisk from the Academy: Learning to say future with an S in the end. 


In the closing speech, Sonja Mitter, the heart of the Academy, spoke about the idea behind this Third edition: to put a future-oriented mindset  on the agenda, support the process and make room for conversations, think about what we can do to be future-ready. We emphasised once again the need for collectiveness, the shift from I to WE, the understanding that futures are different for different realities. 


As always, the day was very emotional, filled with “see you soon” hugs, “happy to have met you” moments, “let’s stay in touch” plans, and not surprisingly for an event with over 200 people, “can’t believe this is the last day and there are still some people I haven’t talked to” realisations. 



I opened this blog four days ago with a countdown, using the exact words Darko Marković used to launch this 3rd edition of the EAYW. I will wrap it up in the same manner, bringing you the closing words of our dear rapporteur Nik Paddison:

One of the things about the future is that it is often a new version of the past, hopefully new and improved, sadly sometimes just a second-rate copy. Let’s try and make our futures something better.

Author: Ana Pecarski, EAYW participant