On October 23-30, 24 young people from three border towns – Valga (Estonia), Daugavapils (Latvia) and Šalčininkai (Lithuania) – were on a road trip to visit each other’s cities and discuss the opportunities and challenges of living in border zones.
As these three cities are characterized by their multicultural and multilingual community, relative distance from the capital and other cultural and business centers, as well as by similar social challenges. The project aimed to deepen dialogue and cooperation between the youngsters of these cities. Asking the overall question „What is our dream for the future?“, the EUNIC Baltic road trip set out to create a greater awareness of togetherness in these areas and across nations by enhancing people-to-people contacts. The road trip was organized by, and the idea of the road trip was based on three thematic work areas – integration, social inclusion and European cultural heritage.
Each city or so-called „station” of the road trip hosted youth debates and workshops conducted by local and international experts. In every city some particular topics were focused on. In Valga the focus was on involving young people in urban planning and city development.
The special guest of the Estonian program was Jim Koskinen, the 18-year-old former chairman of the Helsinki Youth Council, who spoke about the activities and the influence of the Youth Council on 28th of October at Valga Gymnasium. He shared how young people can make their voice heard as well as about how they contributed to the Finnish EU Presidency programme!
On October 29, a popular Estonian-Spanish artist couple Varvara & Mar created an art project together with volunteer participants while mapping the cityscape through the internet (WiFi). Another type of city map was created together with the School of Architecture, who encouraged youth to draw up their own map of Valga, incl. places and facilities that are most important and meaningful to them.
The final event of the tour took place on October 30, 2019 in Riga where participants summarized what they learned in discussions and workshops and presented their own mini-projects and visions for the future.
The project was organized by the cultural institutes and embassies of the network of EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) clusters in the Baltic states.
Supporters of the roadtrip: Danish Cultural Institute, British Council, Goethe Institute, French Institute, Finnish Institute in Estonia, Hungarian Institute in Estonia, Embassy of Spain in Estonia, Polish Institute in Vilnius, Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia, Estonian Institute, Lithuanian Cultural Institute, Latvian Institute, European Commission.
The partners of the programme in Valga were the Municipality of Valga County, Valga Youth Center and the Vacational Training Centre of Valga County.