International Conference for Youth in Agriculture

What happens when you bring bright minded and internationally active students together?

Read the follow-up report of ICYA- International Conference for Youth in Agriculture organised by IAAS World!

WHY?

ICYA was created in order to give space to young, bright and internationally active people to interact, discuss, learn and project their ideas into practical solutions that could inspire students all over the world to take action and adopt those ideas and projects in their local communities. We wanted everyone to see and experience the amazing potential of young people’s energy and passion once you give them the spark of creation.

HOW?

Our experience from various international events all over the planet showed us that when you gather in the same room people from different countries, with different mentalities and mindset, different cultural/social background and put a specific problem “on the table”, everyone has a unique perspective of the same issue. This structure leads to an incredibly productive and creative debate that quickly gets “on fire” while participants realize there is a big capacity for young people to contribute and solve those problems through simple, practical and achievable youth projects.

WHAT?

ICYA took place in Leuven, Belgium, from 27th until 30th of April with the support of Katholic University of Leuven, GFAR and Syngenta.

#Social_Media_Bootcamp
A pre-event took place in Ghent University where GFAR, represented by Peter Casier, hosted a Bootcamp for Social Media Reporters. For two days (25th & 26th April) 10 young students got trained to be a first-time journalist and obtained skills to report and cover ICYA on social media. The goal was to expand the participation and visibility of the conference outside of the walls of the auditorium, include more people and share the news with the rest of student community around the globe.

#Soft_Skill_Trainings
On “day-0”, Thursday 27th, participants of ICYA had the opportunity to build and improve their soft-skills in order to get all the necessary tools that they would use during the following days.
Specifically a team of experienced trainers worked intensively to deliver sessions on:
-Brainstorming
-Project initiation
-Visualisation of ideas
– Danger analysis

An extra motivating presentation that energized all the participants after those long and exhausting training sessions was made by Peter Casier of GFAR.
A “Presentation on Presentations” was a perfect fit for day-0 and got the best impressions by all the participants who got inspired to follow Peter’s guidelines during the next days of ICYA.

 

#Conference_&_Working_Groups

Friday 28th and Saturday 29th (day1 & day2)

The basic structure of those days was split into two individual sessions per day, a morning session including keynote speakers and an afternoon session based on working group. Each day combined three different topics:

Topics

Friday 28th:
-Refugee Crisis and Agriculture, how can the field of Agriculture help with the integration of Refugees
-The role of Women in Agriculture, is it still a “grey zone” for gender equality?
-Village Concept Project, how can young people help small local communities.

Saturday 29th:
-New Agri-Generation, teaching to kids and youth the importance of agriculture and food production
-Urban Farming, how can it improve the quality of life in big cities?
-No Food Waste, from overconsumption and food waste to hunger.

Morning Sessions
In the morning, participants had the opportunity to learn from keynote speakers and experts of the field about social and scientific aspects of every topic. Short but comprehensive Q&A session following the presentations gave to participants the opportunity to interact with speakers and clarify their knowledge. This insight was meant to be used during the afternoon session as a spark of the debate.

Afternoon Sessions

After an energizing lunch, participants were split into 3 different groups and each group occupied a separate room for the following round-table-discussions. Each room was connected to one of the 3 topics of the day while expert trainers, facilitators and the speakers from the morning session were present to ensure the good flow, creative interaction and productive debate.

First Part of the Evening Sessions was focused on encouraging participants and experts to express their opinion, experience and personal stories in order to understand the greater picture of each problem/topic and realise what is the role of young people in solving those issues. By the end of First Part participants had already sculptured innovative and achievable solutions that could be organised and executed by young people around the world.

Second Part was focused towards the creation of practical projects that sourced from the ideas that came up during the First Part. Those new Youth Projects were supposed to be built and explained step-by-step by each working group in order to be shared and presented with the rest of participants on the last day of ICYA.
20 new amazing individual projects came up during those productive moments of pure creation.

 

#Project_Presentations

Sunday morning was focused on the sharing of information and presentation of every group’s project. Twenty teams got on stage and shared their unique ideas with the rest of the participants.

“Presentation on Presentations” speech by Peter Casier did amazing job on participants’ skills on stage. None of the projects was boring, utopian or unrealistic. People engaged the auditorium with their bright ideas and passionate presentations.

After the end of the last session, everyone had a clear overview of what happened during those 4 intensive days of ICYA in every corner and every room of the venue. Everyone was able at that moment to join an international team and work on a global project to change the world.
In the end… Isn’t this what it’s all about?

#ICYA_Doesn’t_Stop_Here

The follow-up goal is to keep all those teams motivated and in-contact in order to actually make those projects a reality.
IAAS is a global network of thousands of students around the world that can provide the expertise, help, guidance and connection with professionals in order to evolve a project from its first form of creation to the final stage of making an actual contribution to society and making your own mark to change the world.