Behind the scenes - #EYD2021

The 16th of April is right around the corner, participants are hyped, the year-long wait is finally approaching to its end. The European Youth Debate 2021 - Virtual Edition (#EYD2021) will take place the 16th - 18th of April weekend. The four macro areas of discussion are set, the guidelines delivered to all participants and the floor - digital - is ready for inspiring and fruitful debates. In the current afflicted moment one of the major sources of inspiration could not have been but ‘Research and Health’. The world has been shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic and much of this tremor has happened to the aforementioned sector. As a natural consequence to all the unprecedented events experienced, people have been talking, arguing, pointing the finger, but better of all, thinking. Vibrant young minds will attend the EYD, many fresh and innovative ideas are expected to come out from these three-days discussions. For this reason, the Bocconi student association European Generation, organizer of the event, has chosen the health-related topic as one among the four macro areas of discussion.

I had the pleasure to be part, with two other friends and EG members, of the research team for the ‘Research & Health’ macro area. Our duty was to assemble the backbone for the respective roundtable and final discussion-floor, providing both participants and chairs with some general guidelines to follow, in terms of sub-topics, qualitative and quantitative facts, additional sources for information and some hints for potential discussions. The fun part was definitely the planning stage, where ideas had to be brainstormed, data (both qualitative and quantitative) had to be gathered, possible structures and chronology of the final guidelines discussed. Then the writing comes natural, once the previous steps are all duly run and the research team well organized. However, like not all candies come out sweet, writing guidelines comes with a burden, its generality. You provide information, but you cannot give interpretations. You provide problems, but you must hold yourself from sharing too many possible solutions, otherwise what original thoughts will come out from the participants’ minds? Anyhow, notwithstanding these constraining features, preparing the guidelines helped me explore the topic, dive in its deep and mysterious shades as well as in its bright and uplifting potentials. Research is in fact exciting, discovering new things, exploring new territories of our endless knowledge, thinking. On top of this, sharing your insights with spark and bright minds, ready to take up the challenge of coming up with a variety of perspectives and their own unique solutions to the exposed situation, lights million candles in this moment of darkness.

Tout pour un, un pour tous

Keeping up with the pace at which things are evolving is quite challenging. A final version of the guidelines was delivered just two weeks ago, yet the world situation when the EYD takes place will be transformed. In terms of the Covid-19 situation more vaccines will be distributed to countries, hence jabs administered to even more people. On the one hand, this continuous and developing and enlarging distribution is helping us win the fight against Covid. On the other it seems the fast-spreading ‘Brazilian’ mutation is escaping the country’s borders at a quicker and devastating rate, passing 137 million world cases with 2.95 million deaths.

Café Korb during Covid-19 lockdown by Herzi Pinki is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Covid-19 has brought great harm to pretty much all countries in the EU, both in terms of human, physical and economic capital. However, it would not be rational for us to be living through such a troubling moment creating no learning for us and future generations. The moment should be taken, as much as respected, as an opportunity. The unprecedented quantity of d