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image-home_3AEYLSI had the honor of participating in the 3rd Africa Europe Youth Leadership Summit, which took place in Brussels, Belgium from 31 March to 1 April 2014. I met some really awesome youth leaders from both continents to discuss how best to empower the youth within the Africa-EU Partnership. The immediate vision: to get African and European leaders to include a youth facility in the next phase of the Joint Africa EU Partnership, taking the following elements into consideration:

  • Youth leadership shall be built up and promoted
  • Youth Entrepreneurship/employment shall be underpinned and sustained
  • Youth’s tremendous contribution to civil and social peace in all its slightest aspects and details shall be recognized and strengthened.

Check out the flash report of the summit HERE!

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There is nothing simple about bringing together more than a hundred dynamic youth to discuss such serious issues. Add to that the complicated history of Africa and Europe, and you can easily find yourself in a precarious situation of disagreements and misunderstanding. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with the 3rd AEYLS. How so? Nothing sums up the spirit of the Africa Europe youth cooperation and partnership than the “I am Africa, I am Europe” poem written by Bilal Hassam who was one of the participants of the summit. Enjoy!

 

I am Africa, I am Europe

I am not African,
I am Africa.
I am not European,
I am Europe.

I am your means to cope.
The sun kissed my skin,
don’t need no soap.
I’ll help you fly brother,
don’t need no dope.

I am morning dew on the grassy Masai Mara.
I am a drop of sweat on the brow,
of the mother,
that picked your banana.

I am Belgian chocolate,
and Swiss cheese.
I am a south African bunny chow.
I’m a BBQ on the Pyrenees.

You see,
I leaned on the tower of Pisa,
I built the Pyramids of Giza,
I even painted the Mona Lisa.

I am the smile when you sip your morning tea.
I made your beautiful black Afro hair curly,
Yes, that too was me.

But when I look in the mirror I’m surprised at what I see,
Because when I look in the mirror I don’t see me.

I See…
You.

I see Christian, I see Bhuddist
I see Muslim, I see Jew.
I see patience, I see passion,
I see purpose.
I see you.

Now we have to realise,
this thinking ain’t new.

We had Malcolm, we had Nelson,
we had Martin Luther King too.
We have Moses, we have Jesus,
we Have Muhammad, and now,
we have you.

So remember my friends,
we are not Africans,
we are Africa.
We are not Europeans,
we are Europe.

We are the wings of hope.
We are our means to cope.
Let the sun kiss your skin,
You don’t need no soap.

Whatever life throws you,
just hold on to His rope

Don’t give up.
Hold on to His rope.
Be not disunited,
hold on to His Rope

By God you are beautiful,
hold on to His rope.

By God you are beautiful,
hold on to His rope.

By God we are beautiful.
Just hold on.

– Bilal Hassam
31/03/14
Africa-EU Youth Leadership Summit
Brussels

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