In the vibrant city of Vilnius, Lithuania, the Young Leaders’ Meeting with LYMEC in September 2023 unfolded with a determined commitment and focus on shaping the future of liberal Europe from a youth perspective.  

With a strong emphasis on organisational growth and expanding outreach, this event united young leaders with a shared vision for a more liberal Europe. It proved a pivotal milestone for liberal values – and acted as a follow-up to the European Year of the Youth in 2022. 

The first day of the event began with a bang, immersing us in a weekend of dynamic learning and idea-sharing.  

We (the participants) were warmly welcomed by inspiring figures, including Goran Neralic, Head of Projects at the European Liberal Forum, Aušrinė Armonaitė, Chairperson of Laisvės Partija and Minister of Economy and Innovation, Dan-Aria Sucuri, President of LYMEC, and Daniel Ilkevic, Head of the Institute of Liberal Democracy. An icebreaker session, skillfully conducted by LYMEC Bureau member Alexandre Servais, fostered a vibrant atmosphere and initiated connections among the 21 young leaders from diverse corners of Europe. 

We then delved into the intriguing session on “Different Shades of Liberalism” with Sal Brinton, Vice-President of the ALDE Party, and Andrew Burgess, Senior Policy Advisor of the ALDE Party. The discussion revolved around the renewal of the Stuttgart Declaration towards the creation of the Charter of Values, shedding light on the need for compromise and shared values that denote us as liberals.  

Concluding the day, Tuuli Helind left us with profound insights, paving the way for a delightful dinner where participants networked, relaxed, and continued their discussions. 

The second day took the event to new heights with rich discussions, sharing of best practices, and interactive workshops.  

We began by reflecting on the “European Year of Youth 2022” and what lies ahead. Led by Ines Holzegger, LYMEC Vice-President, this session delved into the outcomes and events organised by our organisations, highlighting the significance of the LYMEC Manifesto. We then embarked on a workshop on “broadening our outreach”, led by Thomas Vytautas Raskevičius, Vice-President of Laisvės Partija and Chairman of the Human Rights Committee in the Lithuanian Parliament. This interactive session emphasised the power of storytelling and the importance of delivering a clear, emotionally resonant message that drives action. Thomas set a compelling example by openly embracing his identity as a gay individual and advocating for equal rights within the LGBT community. His message centred on the normalcy of being gay and the triumph of love. Through dedicated effort and unwavering determination, he contributed to the passage of the law on partnership in Lithuania. 

The best practice sharing session, led by LYMEC Bureau member Tanzer Yuseinov, explored strategies for organisational growth and expanding youth outreach. We tackled common challenges and discovered the strength of collaborative efforts. Following this, a networking lunch provided an opportunity to continue meaningful discussions on collaboration and organisational growth. 

In the afternoon, we engaged in a session on “Framing Policies towards Impactful Proposals for Youth in 2024” led by Ieva Pakarklytė, Vice-President of Laisvės Partija and a member of the Lithuanian Parliament, along with Ellinor Juth, LYMEC Communications Officer. This session offered 8 practical tips on influencing politicians and politics, exemplified through the case study of the successful Fur farming ban in Lithuania. The message was clear: have a compelling topic, advocate passionately, maintain consistency, and issue a call to action. 

The day culminated with a roundtable discussion on “the youth vision for 2024 and beyond”. Led by Vytautas Mitalas, Vice-President of Laisvės Partija and Deputy Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament, and Dan-Aria Sucuri, LYMEC President, we explored ideas vital to the youth. We laid the groundwork for one of the most crucial sessions—”Youth Vision for a Liberal Future”, a policy-focused discussion led by LYMEC Bureau member Laia Comerma, with support from LYMEC Project Officer Chiara Olga Liguori. 

This process was akin to the creation of the ALDE Charter of Values, where we collaboratively crafted tangible policy proposals and a statement on “A Youth Vision for a Liberal Future.” Although consensus wasn’t always immediate, we managed to find common ground and create something truly exciting.  

This event was a dynamic hub for insightful discussions, practical lessons, and outcomes that will undeniably propel our youth liberal organisations forward.  

As one of the leaders fortunate enough to partake in and witness the seamless organisation, I want to extend our appreciation and gratitude to the LYMEC Bureau, the European Liberal Forum, the ALDE Party, Laisvės Partija and the Institute of Liberal Democracy for their exceptional hosting, insightful sessions, and invaluable outcomes. I also want to thank Laia and Chiara for the oversight and follow-up activities after the weekend. 

Plaudits to the speakers who not only elevated themselves and their organisations but also managed to reach and resonate deeply with our aspirations and passions as youth political organisation leaders. 

With the event now behind us, we’re more confident than ever in the liberal movement and cross-organisational collaboration. We eagerly anticipate the prospect of many more meetings, events, and meaningful conversations that will lead to a more liberal and youth-friendly Europe. Stay engaged, stay inspired, and stay united!

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