In the heart of the picturesque town of Aroneanu, Iași, Romania, from the 5th to the 9th of September 2023, a remarkable event unfolded, igniting the spirit of rural youth across Europe. The European Rural Youth Summit, a dynamic and purpose-driven gathering, brought together a diverse and passionate assembly of young individuals from remote areas, dedicated youth workers, innovative youth organizers, and influential decision-makers. This monumental symposium, forum, and conference were strategically designed to foster the growth and development of the rural youth ecosystem in Europe. Together, they embarked on a journey to create a thriving future for rural youth across the continent. The success story of the European Rural Youth Summit 2023 is a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and dedication in shaping a brighter tomorrow for the European countryside.

Our journey began with a simple yet profound goal: to understand how rural communities worldwide were addressing the challenges faced by our youth. The heart of this exchange program was set in the picturesque village of Iasi, Romania, where we had the privilege of experiencing the local culture and traditions.

What made this program truly exceptional was the diversity of participants. We came together from different corners of the world, each with our unique backgrounds and perspectives. I found myself in the funding group, an amazing team delving deep into the complexities of financial support. The real and perfect experience was that had a chance to include government representatives from Finland and Norway in my network, who generously shared their expertise, giving us a glimpse into how funding is managed in more advanced nations.

The program offered a refreshing approach. Workshops were specific, allowing us to choose topics that genuinely piqued our interest. These sessions were where we forged deep connections, exchanged ideas, and learned from one another. It wasn’t all business, though; we connected over drinks, shared meals, and embraced each other’s cultures.

The feedback sessions provided a space for reflection and growth, helping us fine-tune our strategies. And the intercultural night was a celebration of the rich tapestry of cultures within the program.

The most remarkable part of this journey was what we brought back home. We didn’t just gather knowledge; we returned with a newfound sense of purpose. We saw how these insights could be applied in our rural communities in Armenia. We identified the challenges and realized that, with determination and the talent of our own young people, these issues could be overcome.

In essence, this exchange program was not just about knowledge transfer; it was about people coming together, sharing their dreams, and working towards a brighter future for our youth in rural Romania. It reinforced our belief that positive change is not just a distant dream but a tangible reality, achievable through the dedication and passion of young hearts committed to making a difference.