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Bastien consults his profile on a well-known social network and is intrigued by an ad he's received from one of his friends. It's an event organized by the EUforIA association, which attempts to motivate young people to get involved in projects that are close to their hearts. And in a few weeks' time, Geneva will be at the heart of Impact!, the organization's flagship conference. You can choose to attend for one, three or five days, and Bastien has picked for the second option, that of Get Involved!
So he met up with several dozen other people at the University of Geneva on 28 October 2011. He chose four workshops run by NGOs, including one organized by Mondopoly, which involves carrying out a project in one hour. The participants hold a brainstorming session, in turn suggesting a problem, a solution and a way of implementing it. This idea enables them to make a lot of progress in a very short time. Bastien's other activities first of all see him in the midst of a political and economic debate, then outlining his actions for the day. Each time, the aim is to exchange views and create something – a project, a goal or a dream.
He takes advantage of breaks to visit the stands set up by the NGOs that are attending the event, such to go Togo and Grains of Peace. They are seeking to free young people from the individualism that is so prevalent in our society. To this end, EUforIA has also set up discussion groups, each with a mission – to find the maximum number of ideas relating to a problem. The record is held by a group that came up with no less than 1,000 ideas in around 20 minutes!
But the MP3 experiment was still the most amusing, with a flash mob including Bastien following instructions for dance steps dictated through the earphones of their MP3 players. A true symbol of Generation Y! This choreography leads them straight into the evening programme, which includes music, relaxation and a little bit of alcohol, but not for young Bastien. At the tender age of 22, he has already set himself principles that he will not forgo under any circumstances – no alcohol, no smoking and no meat. His travels to Cameroon and Nepal have given him the taste for a healthy life, and he is able to share this with others during the event.
At the end of the day, the event is all about setting objectives – not just dreams, but projects that everyone has to realise as best they can. Bastien has discussed this at a meeting with several other young people. Everyone has their own desires. One wants to be a journalist so she can reveal the hidden secrets of major corporations, while others prefer to organize events. For his part, Bastien has promised himself he will get involved in the "Changemaker" network, which is where all the active young people get together. They organize events, sometimes just for the fun of it.
He's been a member of the network for a year now, and hasn't been slow in keeping his promise. As for the future, he seems quite laid back. When asked about it, he replies without hesitation that he wants to teach maths. He's still got two or three years of study ahead of him. During that time, thanks to his degree in IT, he is designing websites to earn himself a bit of money. A salary at the end of each month isn't something that's just round the corner, but he isn't worried – all in good time. His next milestone is the six months he's due to spend in Japan on a placement with a load of geeks. And the language? No problem, he says. He's learning Japanese every day via a programme... A useful experience he can add to his status as a "changemaker"...